Olivier Valsecchi is a photographer with an eye for transforming bodies into emotional landscapes of strength and despair. We featured his powerful I Am Dust project last February. The series featured here, entitled Drifting, takes a different approach to human architecture; instead of majestic, stately nudes, we see men and women reclining alone and in pairs, arching their backs against bare tables and chairs with a baroque-style melancholia. The darkness surrounding the figures highlights their pale expressions of death and defeat, lending the illuminated flesh a cadaverous-yet-living quality. The series statement elaborates further on this bodily ambiguity:
“Straying the audience from their grounds of certainty, Valsecchi induces an unsettling doubt on whether his subjects are falling apart or withstanding paralysis. He investigates this tenuous and brooding space between inertia and the urge to go somewhere. His bodies appear to have been submitted to an exorcism, an epileptic trance, or a mutilation akin to a reptile being cut in two pieces — and yet still crawling.”
Drifting also channels the art tradition of still life. Posed to capture the wordless throes of pain and despair, the figures’ perfect configurations make them portraits of emotion. Speaking to the use of the genre, Valsecchi writes: “Still-life was the perfect fit for a post-war atmosphere. Beyond symbolizing the ephemeral nature of life, it relates to the notion of transitioning. I wanted to set bodies into an unfamiliar environment and infuse them with a feeling of disorientation, as if recovering from trauma or stuck in a vertigo.” Despite their static postures of grief and submission, Valsecchi’s tragic nudes tremble on the verge of healing, embodying and enduring the darkness so that they can overcome it.
“Not Valid” is an ongoing experiment concerning the interpretation of invalid html. The work itself seems to be a series of words in a variety of random colors, though each word has been assigned the color value of itself. The browser interprets what color the word should be. Different browsers will interpret “Not Valid” in a different manner.
Stumble onto Matija Erceg’s Instagram account — inconspicuously named @seriousdesign — and find yourself immersed in a gallery of delight and disgust. Erceg, a Vancouver-based web and graphic designer, combines images of food — usually raw meat — with everyday objects. Among his hilariously gross “inventions” are shrimp earbuds, pizza irons, ground pork trolls, and sausage vibrators (the latter design taking the “food porn” trend to an entirely new level). The idea emerged when Erceg came across a photoshopped image of sandals with cooked beef as soles; while contemplating the absurd experience of putting them on, Erceg decided he wanted to try and evoke similar reactions among people, discovering as he went that food “lends itself nicely to being a part of an inanimate object” — hence how easily a chicken breast can be made to look like an oven mitt.
In addition to making people laugh and cringe, Erceg’s designs are experiments in context. If food is presented neatly — and properly cooked — on a plate, it is seen as acceptable and appealing; but, as Erceg observes, when the same food makes contact with “your skin (hands, feet, ears, face, etc.), [it] becomes gross or weird” — shrimp, while often considered a delicacy, does not belong inside the ear canal. There are several possible reasons for this discomfort, whether it’s in regards to phobias surrounding the (potential) toxicity of raw meat, or just the idea of dead, cold flesh lying around the house as a useable object. Erceg, however, pushes it further, commenting on how his designs confront us with the unglamorous realities of modern food production: “We admire food, but typically only when we don’t need to get too close to it — [the] raw texture, pre-cooked form, farming, and slaughtering.” His designs remind us of how alienated we are from the foods we eat; food — like sunglasses, housewares, and sex toys — has become grossly commodified.
When I asked Erceg where he aims to take his project next, he said he would like to collaborate with a fake food artist and create real-life versions of his designs. Follow Erceg on Instagram and see what edible objects he dreams up next. But be warned — you may not look at packaged chicken breasts or slabs of beef the same way again.
Korean artist Chun Kwang Young began sculpting when he came to New York as a means to processing what he witnessed as a materialistic society ceaselessly searching for “more.” Using newspapers, which he folds into small prisms, these sculptures form as a compilation of our verbal recording of history, opinion, and discovery. Figuratively, the sculptures emerge like topographical maps of rocky landscapes, or planetary surfaces. Points and crags describing a rocky terrain that is nearly unnavigable. Metaphorically, this work is a culmination of the floating lexicon of our time; the ongoing conversation of man compiled in a three dimensional format, echoing the voices that pass each day through our print media. Each figure is a time capsule of pieced data and voice. Although the sculptures themselves are mute, each has a strong story to tell. As Young describes his work:
“Every piece of information is the end product of a struggle for hegemony, as well as an accumulation of human experience. One hypothesis ceaselessly conflicts with another, and finally becomes a new knowledge. While these kinds of processes are sometimes made in a peaceful way through debates and publications, they sometimes happen in the shape of physical conflicts like wars led by the governing class.”
His work is a symbolic expression of how words form into actions and become words again- a speech becomes a call to action, which becomes a war, which is then recounted through story. Everything seamless weaves into itself, a cyclical timeline we hardly noticed as we are so permanently bound to it. (Excerpt from Source)
Finnish illustrator Konsta Ojala‘s new drawings are large and frightening. Seriously, nearly measuring at five feet on each side, Ojala works the aesthetic of disturbed (and perhaps drug induced) doodles expanded to obsessive sizes. His drawings often feature familiar cartoon characters taken to their logical misanthropic conclusion. From a syringe-clutching Mickey Mouse to a bleary-eyed and violent Bart Simpson the characters seem to be reappearing after spending a few years on the streets. Rendered in harsh black and white and imposing sizes, the drawings are unsettling while still strangely nostalgic.
Global Rainbow is a large scale, spectacular outdoor laser projection created by the artist, Yvette Mattern. It consists of seven parallel beams of high specification laser light, representing the spectrum of the traditional seven colors of the rainbow, and is designed to be projected across large open sites, particularly densely populated areas. With the projection, the artist intends to encompass geographical and social diversity in its reach and symbolize hope. (via)
I found Mary Ann Heagerty on our friend Graham’s blog (Future Shipwreck): she is a sensational sculptor, chic craftswoman, radical rock collector, and also his roommate. Here are some of her work, which includes dentures made out of lollipops and wood chips, hand castings, a giant three-dimensional mirror diamond, hair trapped in wax hexagon, and a series of carefully hollowed-out eggs incubating invitations to a MOCA opening. She also does these awesome video shorts that are uploaded on her Youtube channel about crafts with unlikely materials.