Once again, the prestigious palace of Versailles has been invaded. After Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami and Joana Vasconcelos it’s Anish Kapoor’s turn to impress the crowd. And he did.
The artist designed six spectacular installations all meant to impact the history and architecture left by Le Notre, the official Sun King’s gardener.
Anish Kapoor wants to create an opposition: the perfect and rigid site of Versailles versus the idea of chaos and death.
The first two pieces are reflecting the sky and deforming the crowd onto gigantic mirrors. What follows is a little more outstanding: an orifice, like a giant vagina comes out from the ground and faces the palace. A metaphor highly suggesting the cause of the downfall of Marie Antoinette, the King’s guillotined wife. As the viewers randomly walk down onto the next pieces they cannot ignore the phallus shaped organ and the red stones exploding from the grass. Red is Anish Kapoor’s color of choice, it’s the color of the flesh and he is using it repeatedly; he says by using this color he makes the body celestial.
The next two pieces are a dramatic liquid vortex and an informal gelatinous bood-red colored shape. Both installations play with the viewers and their nerves. The whirlpool is intimidating as the sound of the blackened swirl is frightening, the ground shakes under the feet and the strange red organ absorbs the viewer’s bodies as they can penetrate inside.
The provocation goes on with the last piece built inside the Jeu de Paume (at a 5 min walk from the castle). Clearly Anish Kapoor criticizes the French revolution, and condemns the violence of the state against its own citizens. A cannon projects against a white wall red wax and the sexual interpretation which the artist approaches is inevitable: “I am conscious of the controversy this piece could imply. The phallic shape of the cannon and the sexual tension coming from it. Remember that this room was filled with males representing a male dominant State”.
Alex Lukas‘ Recent Works show at Steven Zevitas Gallery (April 19th-June 2nd 2012) in Boston consists of five new large-scale paintings on paper (the largest measures at twelve feet in length) and a group of work utilizing appropriated book pages. This body of work continues the Lukas’ exploration of our current cultural condition through the lens of the landscape. Executed primarily in ink, acrylic, watercolor and gouache, the artist also uses the process of silk-screening for certain elements of each work. Thomas Cole’s well-known painting “River in the Catskills,” which depicts a pastoral landscape with a small train slicing through the scene in the middle ground, is a harbinger of things to come in the story of man’s attempt to gain control of nature. In many ways, Lukas’ landscapes, which combine sites real and imagined – with a healthy nod towards Hollywood and art history – tell the end of the story, as man-made structures yield back to nature. The works pivot on series of dichotomies: violence and quietude; the man made and the natural; hope and a profound sense of despair. They also grapple with ideas about national morality and societal fragility.
Secret Cavern, a.k.a. Aphte (who’s secret real name is Daniel Abensour, a Frenchmanguy), has a unique illustrative style. Whimsical and sometimes deceivingly morbid, Secret Cavern applies wonderful details to each work of art.
Nebraska based artist Cindy Chinn carves unbelievable miniaturized objects within the lead of carpenter pencils. Chinn’s starting material is less than an inch wide, yet using an X-Acto knife and a magnifying glass, the artist is able to achieve intricate details with a charming folk art-like character. Her most involved piece of the series features a tiny locomotive train that scales the whole pencil. This work even includes a cut out carved portion that acts like a bridge crossing, exposing the train to be the full length of the pencil. The work was created through a process of collage; she carved the 3/16 inch train from the lead of one pencil and then fashioned it within the center of another pencil, adding two other small pieces of lead as rails. Due to the unique size of her work, Chinn incorporates a tiny magnifying glass as a part of her pieces, glorifying the work’s preciousness and inviting the viewer to have a personalized and intimate experience of the minuscule details. Her work tends to portray every day and perhaps even nostalgia provoking objects. For example, a tiny Chuck Taylor shoe, a darling fall leaf, and a hockey stick with a puck. This pencil carving project is just a side project; she is also a multimedia artist with many focuses such as larger scale wood carvings, murals, and paintings. (via My Modern Met)
Jon Hopkins released his fourth full length solo album earlier this year, Immunity on Domino Records. “The first sound on Immunity is that of a key turning, unlocking the door into Jon Hopkins’ East London studio. It’s followed by the noise of the door slamming, then footsteps, and then finally the crisp, clipping rhythms and pulsating bass of ‘We Disappear’ emerge, signposting the most club-friendly music Hopkins’ has made to date.”
I was able to catch Jon open up for Purity Ring the other night at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood and while it took the crowd a few songs to warm up to him, by the end of his set everyone was dancing along to his hypnotic beats. Jon recently remixed Purity Ring’s “Amenamy” and Megan from Purity Ring added vocals to his track, “Breathe This Air”, it would have been a great opportunity for them to perform together on stage, but that never materialized. They did however give out a very limited 12″ vinyl that had both tracks on it if you were one of the first 150 in the door.
Jon will be performing this coming Saturday, August 31st at MOMA PS1’s Warm Up in New York and will also be appearing later that night at the Cameo Gallery in Brooklyn. He’ll then head back to Europe for a string of festival shows. Check out the beautiful new version of, “Breathe This Air”, featuring Megan of Purity Ring and be sure to catch him at one of his upcoming shows.
El Famoso is the moniker for collaborative duo (and brothers) Rich and Chris Fairhead. Their humorous and playful illustrations have a clunky and quick feel to them that’s always a nice treat. Your probably wondering what influences them. Here is a list in no particular order “warriors, monsters, gods, witchcraft, animals,hand painted signs, mr kipling, toys, party food (nibbles), Jonny Cash, Russian Criminal tattoos, tribes, comics, heroes, screen prints, killer robots,
bad films, graffiti, posters, black & white, fantasy, folk and some other bits and bobs. “
After soaking them for thirty minutes in freezing liquid nitrogen, the New York based photographer Jon Shireman hurls flowers onto a hard, white surface, causing them to shatter into hundreds of pieces. The series, titled Broken Flowers, plays on our assumption that flowers are soft and supple; as an integral part of much still life photography, the blossoms normally symbolize youth and delicate feminine beauty. Under Shireman’s lens, however, the flora is transformed into something cold and hard. Against a sterile white backdrop, they appear sterile and brittle, a far cry from the spring buds that blow in the wind.
Throughout his career, Shireman has maintained a connection with flowers in decay; in other still lifes, he has cataloged the wilting of tulips and mums. This series, unlike those previous, is brutal and instantaneous. Where his other flowers underwent a slow, gradual death, these broken flowers are quickly frozen and violently ruptured. The process captured here is not a natural one but one that necessitates the use of a manmade element.
With almost surgical precision, Shireman’s lens focusses on the fallen flower, and he abandons the moody, romantic lighting he uses elsewhere in favor of high resolution and vivid color. Though flattened, the shattered blossoms maintain their basic structure; the bud, the stem, and the leaf can still be made out. The very veins of the plant are preserved by the liquid nitrogen. In this way, the flowers look like dead bodies in some unusual crime scene, outlined yet robbed of their living essence. Take a look. (via iGNANT, Feature Shoot, and Agonistica)