In 2010 Fionna Banner installed Harrier And Jaguar at the Tate Britain. The massive installation juxtaposed real fighter planes inside the neo-classical gallery spaces. Weapons of mass destruction have never looked so good.
“According to Fiona Banner, Harrier and Jaguar are “ambiguous objects implying both captured beast and fallen trophy”. While the Sea Harrier was transformed into a “captive bird”, with feathered markings on its surface similar to the Harrier Hawk, the Jaguar lay belly-up on the floor with posture suggestive of a submissive animal”- Urban Ghosts
“We all hate war but these objects inspire a strange enthusiasm in us. When you reflect on their beauty it’s a strange thing, people say surely they are designed with an aesthetic in mind and, of course, they’re not. They are absolutely designed to function and that function is to kill, and that says something questionable about our aesthetic judgement and makes us ask questions about our moral position.” – Fionna Banner as told to The Guardian
Cornelia Hediger‘s series of “Doppelgänger” portraits portray contrasting aspects of her self, creating suspenseful and awkward narratives. For this series, Hediger shoots single images in the same environment and composes them in a grid. Her style of composition allows for the distortion of sizes in both space and body; the grids she uses to configure these distortions also break up her images, further reflecting the presented fractured sense of self. Hediger prefers to work alone as an artist because of the time and patience it takes to design her set and capture all of the images in just the right positions.
Of her series, Hediger says, “I was interested in exploring the concept of the Doppelgänger in a broader way. Doppelgänger in German means ‘double walker’, it is a ghostly double of a living person, an omen of death and a harbinger of bad luck. The idea of the Doppelgänger also allows me look the alter ego, the conscious mind vs the unconscious mind, inner conflicts, the duality between good and evil and split personalities – the concept gives me plenty of material to think about and work with.” (via this isn’t happiness and feature shoot)
Because it’s still the beginning of the week, and because who doesn’t love animals, here are five artists who cleverly create creatures as part of their work.
David Mach uses everyday items to create large-scale sculptures and installations. His cheetah and tiger, for instance, are created solely out of coat hangers. Laying hundreds of them together Mach created two rather ferocious creatures.
Polish artist Marta Klonowska assembles carefully broken shards of colored glass to create translucent animals of life-like proportion and size. Influenced by the animals seen in baroque and romantic paintings, Klonowska sought to re-make an old idea in a new way.
Kristi Malakoff is a Canadian artist interested in using animals in her art because of “swarm theory,” or “swarm intelligence,” which suggests that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In other words, the theory posits that the limits of the individual are overcome by collective intelligence. This installation consists of 6000 color copies of butterflies on transparency material.
An unconventional use of the medium, Seattle artist Diem Chau works with graphite pencil leads to create intricate and delicate sculptures of animals. Using a rather common medium to create an uncommon result, Chau’s work touches on the value of storytelling and myth and their ability to connect us to one another.
Industrial designer Irving Harper creates beautiful paper sculptures. Humble materials for such intricate results, Harper is interested in using brilliant design and craftsmanship to integrate the natural world.
“Gay Men Draw Vaginas” is exactly the project it sounds like. Three years ago, Keith Wilson and Shannon O’Malley were eating at a restaurant with a group of homosexuals when the topic of vaginas came up. This led to O’Malley asking Wilson to draw a vagina on the table with a crayon. This inspired more conversation and more drawings from the gay men at the table. A few months later, the duo decided to explore this idea even further, setting up a “vagina collection booth” at gay establishments across San Francisco. While they were given a few sneers here and there, most of the gay men who participated were excited to dive in and contribute to the project.
O’Malley observes, “In casual conversation, at surface level, I knew asking gay guys to draw vaginas was funny because it zeroed in on what some people might have perceived as ‘opposites.’ What I kept to myself were my navel-gazing meditations on ‘queer identity’ and ideas people (and the culture) hold about women and bodies.”
The duo recognize that the drawings range anywhere from misogynistic to celebratory to puzzling and enigmatic. They hope to eventually get people like Dan Savage, Neil Patrick Harris, Perez Hilton, John Waters, and/or George Takei to participate. “Ultimately, though, we hope people do a lot of things; we hope they’ll laugh, we hope they’ll think about what it means to identify as a ‘gay man,’ we hope they’ll think about ideas our culture has about bodies and body parts. Their responses are part of the study, part of the art,” they explain.
When first seeing Brendan Cass’s paintings, you’ll know you are looking at the work of someone who is very free. Color swoops across huge surfaces, tenuously resolving itself into luminous landscapes. When I dropped by his studio he was freshly back from a trip to Spain. Brendan was laughing in this pic because Bebe, his cat, kept running in front of the camera.