In 1951, surrealist artist Salvador Dali teamed up with photographer Philippe Halsman to create In Voluptas Mors or Voluptuous Death. A black and white photograph, this image is simultaneously strange, complex, and alluring. It features a giant “skull,” a living picture that is made up of seven nude female models that took three hours to arrange and photograph. The final product has the artist standing next to the skull, looking like the ring leader of a circus. And, in many ways, he is.
Additional photos have recently surfaced that reveal some behind-the-scenes moments of In Voluptas Mors. Not only do we see the apparatuses needed to hold the models, but we see how the skull was constructed with bodies. From the looks of it, there was a process of getting one section of the skull situated and balanced. This would repeat until the structure was stable enough to be captured on film.
In Voluptas Mors was not the first time that Dali and Halsman collaborated, nor was it the last. They originally met in 1941 and worked together over the course of 30 years. All of their efforts were eventually published in a 1954 compendium titled Dali’s Mustache, an homage to the artist’s facial hair. Check out the upcoming exhibition at The Musée de l’Elysée, which runs from January 29 until May 11, 2014 to see these images in person.
In a way, endlessness is a fundamental characteristic of gifs. However, the work of Turkish artist Erdal Inci, highlights this aspect of a medium in a style that is especially hypnotic and creepy. Inci has worked in video for nearly ten years. He’s since translated work into gifs using his same clone and light effects. In them, he seems to produce an endless hoodied army of himself marching, sliding down handrails, hopping up and down stairs. Though the action is brief, its repetitive nature makes it difficult to pull away your eyes. All of the Erdal Inci clones in lockstep trudge on together until we manage to close the window. [via]
Zhe Chen‘s confessional photographic series “The Bearable” has spanned a few years (2007 – 2010) and is a deeply personal journey of her own experiences with self harm. Her frank photos are very confrontational as she forces us to examine our own comfortability with such a terse subject. The close ups of bruised and battered skin, weeping nipples, bloodied and soiled sheets are not easily digestible images. In fact they are so hard to ignore, and are so powerful, that they immediately break down the taboos of any open discussion surrounding this subject. She says this about her work:
‘I hope my photographs inquire upon society’s prejudice and preconception towards this community, and not become illustrations or pictorial evidence for the topic at hand: every subject is an individual, not just ‘one of them’ – his or her life cannot be predicted or dictated by any constructed social code or notion. Depression plants the seed of introspection. I hope a first glance of my work conveys the idea of secrecy and sentiments, under which lies information awaiting exposure and recognition: like an index page pointing towards all the unanswered questions.’ (Source)
The L.A. based, Chinese artist teamed “The Bearable” series of her own self-mutilation with another, titled “The Bees“. Approaching the same subject from a different angle, she features a marginalized group of people in China who are so downtrodden and alienated that they feel the need to express their emotional oppression outwardly on their own bodies. Understanding the need for self-harm is such a complex story that most people tiptoe around, Chen wants to put it directly in front of us and see how we react.(Via Feature Shoot)
Often working within the realm of fairy-tales and folk-lore, artist Su Blackwell cuts out images from books to create three-dimensional dioramas. Her material is important to her. Interested in both the fragility and the strength of paper, as well as the conceptual depth of old books, Blackwell finds something both accessible and precarious in her method. Believing in the power of imagination (an avid reader herself) Blackwell transforms description into a version of enchanted reality—the story becomes another translation of the story.
She says of her works, “I tend to lean towards young-girl characters, placing them in haunting, fragile settings, expressing the vulnerability of childhood, while also conveying a sense of childhood anxiety and wonder. There is a quiet melancholy in the work, depicted in the material used, and the choice of subtle colour.”
A scene caught in time, presented as if it grew out of the book itself, Blackwell’s sculptures are fantasy turned reality, which still manage to feel like fantasy. There is precision, attention to detail and a feeling of diligence present in Blackwell’s pieces each functioning to further both the illusion and the veracity. Inciting wonder, curiosity and imagination all at once, Blackwell’s sculptures are like fantastic little worlds all unto themselves that a viewer feels lucky enough to catch a glimpse of.
Okay Master Debators – we have a hot debate for you to weigh in on. We received a submission from John Malta. We think his work is really cool… but we can’t help but notice a similarity to Matt Leines. This illustration style seems to be popular nowadays. Is it just the current style or is John influenced by Leines? You can see some comparisons after the jump. We have no intention to bash John’s work, but we are interested to hear your opinions on the matter. What do you think?
Taking images from auction catalogs, artist Kour Pour translates intricately-patterned carpets onto paneled surfaces. The multi-step process is labor intensive, not to mention large – his work is 8 feet tall. First, Pour scans in the image of a rug and burns it on a silk screen. Then, he uses a broom to begin his underpainting (the texture gives it an appearance of a textile). Afterwards, he silkscreens the design to the panel and begins the work of painting every painstaking detail. The final step is to use an electrical sander to erase the painted surface and expose the layers of the under-painting. What results is work that looks like an faded, well-worn rug.
Pour is both British and Persian, and when he was younger, his father owned a rug shop in England. His work is tied to this past, as he explains in his artist statement:
Carpets were a part of my childhood growing up in England. I remember my Father’s rug shop, and how he would hand-dye sections of carpets that had faded away, in order to bring them back to their original colours. I felt that in doing this, my Father was making an effort to maintain all their history and meaning, as if he was bringing the carpets back to life. When I first moved to Los Angeles I had feelings of displacement and much like the faded carpets, I too felt a part of my history disappear. I started the carpet painting series and noticed how art and objects could play an increasingly important role in our diverse society. Through making these paintings I am constantly learning more about my background and the rich mix of culture that surrounds me and the carpets.
By recreating carpets, Pour highlights their meaning as object, as well as the implications of their surface design. They signify an object of privilege (as their originals come from an auction catalog), and our commodity-based consumer culture. Beyond that, the patterns of animals and men on horses is representational of globalization, a culture’s history, and more. (Via Bmore Art and Flat Surface)
Business cards exist as a tangible resource and advertisment for offering one’s trade. Benedetto Papi and Edoardo Satamato of Italian creative agency Invasiona Creativa began to wonder: what jobs would pop culture characters have, and how would their cards look?
Beginning with the idea that these characters (ranging from science fiction to comedy to horror and action films) lost their jobs, how would they rebrand? Although most of the results involve wordplay over any serious retelling of the character’s myth, the results are playful and fun, which seems to be the duo’s motivation.
On their website, the group declares, “A different approach compared to canonical style of advertising agencies: a NERD APPROACH…We will do everything to…give new life to mundane communications, to re-invent social campaigns completely useless, to regain lost contact with the consumer, to open new horizons in the world of apps…” (via mymodernmet)