Photographs by Canan Çengel.
Photographs by Canan Çengel.
The work of Stéphane Vigny is often humorous in its subversiveness. Vigny often undermines the purpose of objects to create amusing but thought provoking new ‘purposes’ (like a BMW turned into playground equipment). Other times Vigny alters objects in a way that make them profoundly useless (such as a chair on wheels the size of the room it sits in). Commodities and inanimate objects are typically entirely defined by their purpose, what they do. Vigny’s installations, though, force viewers to set aside their expectations and approach the familiar in a new way.
Manal Al Dowayan is a Saudi Arabian contemporary art photographer based in London, Dubai and her native land of Saudi. The basis of her work is black-and-white photography, however she recently introduced more layers to her work by working on sculpture and installations .
Suspended Together, first displayed on the 54th Venice Biennale’s The Future of Promise exhibition is comprised of 200 fiberglass doves that hang from the ceiling by transparent nylon thread. Each of these doves are imprinted with images of written postcards and stamps.
The piece is visually striking and it evokes an interesting set of complex emotions and ideas that challenge the spectator’s view on Saudi women and their initiatives and downfalls to find freedom. At first glance, Suspended Together gives the impression of movement and freedom, however, a closer look, leaves the spectator looking at doves that are static in movement, suspended in flight. Manal tells Nafas Magazine that the written text and images imprinted in the doves are real “permission documents issued by an appointed guardian when they [women, in this case successful professionals] have to travel [get surgery, or any type of important procedure]” ; women in Saudi are not able to conduct themselves freely, and although reforms to improve the visibility and freedom of women look promising, they don’t seem to pass through King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia’s leader. This struggle is visually present in Manal’s work, as she successfully implements imagery that illustrates the contradiction of many important women that found success in their profession [the dove], yet find themselves suspended in flight, as they try to find their way to do the small tasks of everyday life with volition and freedom from their ‘guardians’.
British illustrator Kristian Jones’ delicately drawn ghostly silhouettes prey on the innocence of childhood imagination, surreal worlds and fictional creatures.
Ben Foster‘s sculptures almost appear to be comptuterized digital renderings at first glance. An industrial and natural artist, Foster creates these life-sized animal sculptures out of enamel-coated aluminum, often placing them in the natural environments that surround his New Zealand home. The sculptural form juxtaposed against the natural landscape has a stunning effect, appearing to be at once disparate and cohesive.
From his website, “Foster’s geometrical rendering is suggestive of the animal’s inherent connection to, and place within, the natural environment. Characteristically, it relies on the interplay of light and shadow and while the subject matter is ostensibly pastoral, the result is dramatic with the sculpture’s silhouette as commanding as the mountainous landscape it resembles.” (via colossal)
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Noell Oszvald, a Hungarian photographer with a penchant for dark, elegant, self portraits, is becoming a master of the surrealist photographic image. The 23-year-old photographer found wide acclaim after releasing a series of 22 photos to her flicker page early this year. The images are remarkable, but she’s only been shooting photos for a little less than two years. It makes you wonder what the motivations are of this emerging prodigy.
“I don’t want to tell people what to see in my images,” said Oszvald. “This is the reason why I never really write any descriptions other than titles. It shows what I wish to express but everyone is free to figure out what the picture says to them. It’s very interesting to read so many different thoughts about the same piece of work.”
Oszvald’s soft, black and white palette is a touch grainy and filled with contrast. And her images posses a striking amount of warmth in a dark frame. These compositions are solid—and the artist’s own physical beauty, and her affinity for a minimal frame add to the overall conceptual depth. (my modern met)
Saul Bass (1920-1996) was a legendary American graphic designer and filmmaker. In 1980, twenty years after collaborating with Stanley Kubrick on storyboards for Spartacus, the two artists came together again to produce posters for The Shining. However, many drafts were needed before the recognizable, yellow one-sheet depicting a crazed, stippled face emerged into existence. Here, you will see four designs from Design Buddy and TOH, all of which Kubrick rejected, his reasons for each scrawled (somewhat harshly) in the margins. Bass’ cover letter and Kubrick’s response are also included.
Among the rejected designs are images of the maze and the hotel, which Kubrick deemed respectively as “too abstract” and “looks peculiar.” Bass also tried more interpretive approaches, such as a toppled tricycle lying eerily inside a hand, or the family of three crumbling into terrifying abstraction. Kubrick’s response was likewise as blunt: “too irrelevant,” “looks like science fiction film.” While Bass’ designs are skillfully done and represent genuine efforts to capture the essence of the groundbreaking psychological horror, most of us would probably agree that the final product — the face disintegrating into madness — suits the film best. (Via The Film Stage).