Bjorn Veno is exhibiting new work at Nettie Horn in London from February 13-March 15th, opening tomorrow evening. I love the idyllic, pastoral scenes in the Romantic tradition, though recontextualized through Bjorn’s bizarre insertion of himself acting out fictive and autobiographical memories, or as he calls it, “automated performance.” He seems trapped in a kind of existential, physical awkward angst that disarms the seeming perfect setting for a sweeping and grand romantic gesture in the tradition of Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte.
Artist Ryan Salge’s monochromatic drawings are of surreal scenes that feel like dreamscapes. The tightly-rendered compositions feature expansive outdoor worlds and figures that traverse through them. Often times, the men and women in them are as curious as we are. Their backs are turned towards us, and it’s as if we’re on the journey right along with them.
There’s always something a little strange or alluring in each of Salge’s drawings. A woman looks up to dark, swirling sky as a small patch of light shines through. Another work features bodies rising upwards into the atmosphere. And, in an especially eerie piece, a barefooted man peers down as a spotlight shines onto a desolate field. (Via Lustik)
Philippe Ramette is an artist who uses two major media to express himself: with installation and sculpture, creating impossibly surreal objects and situations often using nonsense humor, and with the turning of his own body clothed in a black suit into a surreal situation, just one component of a landscape so extravagant and visually stunning.
Istvan Sandorfi (1948-2007) was a Hungarian painter known for his hyperrealistic oil paintings of cloth-draped and vanishing figures. In his works, pale skin melds with the surrounding atmosphere, and bodies embrace and pull apart from one another, twisting in silent expressions of pain. Engrossed amidst states of transfiguration, Sandorfi’s “incomplete” characters exhibit both profound vulnerability and strength.
From detailed facial expressions to the minute details of wrinkles and bones beneath flesh, the paintings bear a photorealistic effect that is troubled by a fragmentary surrealism suggestive of digital manipulation. Such meticulousness came from Sandorfi’s never-ending dedication to the craft of painting, which he did mostly alone and at night. As he himself humbly claimed, “I never had the impression that I really knew how to paint, not in the past, not now. If you paint, you are simply never satisfied” (Source).
Sandorfi’s ghostly images have been shown on display around Europe for the last three decades. His works remain in several private collections and museums around the world, including the Centre Georges Pompidou, Musee de la Ville de Paris, and the Taiwan Museum of Art (Source). As a master of his medium who could replicate and expressively unmake the human body, Sandorfi’s oeuvre is one that deserves ongoing appreciation. His work can be followed on Facebook. (Via Art Fucks Me)
Mike Harvey was a taxi driver in Swansea who began ferrying passengers around on the night shift to fund his trips overseas. Since beginning the job in 2010 he shared his car with so many strangers, each one with a story as varied as the distance they were traveling, he decided he would document them with his DSL camera. Harvey would take a snapshot of his customers at their final destination in return for waiving their payment for their trip. He said out of around 130 journeys, only 9 people refused their photograph being taken.
During this type of job, Harvey would have many different types of adventures and experiences. He would find out a lot about his passengers in a very short time, and would discover things they wouldn’t divulge to their friends. He found himself in a very sticky situation one time:
I was driving out of Swansea at about 3AM, and this girl who was full-term pregnant – you know, ready to go – was sat at the side of the road, barefoot, flagging me down. So she got in and… it’s a bit of an impromptu counseling service sometimes, driving a taxi. I said that maybe getting hammered when you’re pregnant isn’t such a good idea, but, you know, we had a nice chat. Then, when I dropped her off, she legged it. I’d usually chase after someone, but she was fully pregnant, you know? She was the one that got away, but I let her get away. (Source)
Harvey has without a doubt managed to capture all walks of life in Swansea, and his images portray all types of people essentially existing in the same way – whether it is getting a ride to or back from a hard day’s work, or on their way to celebrate or commiserate something. Harvey’s photographs are on exhibit now at Monkey Cafe in Swansea. (Via Cultured Vultures)
Roland Topor (1938–1997) was a French illustrator, painter, writer, filmmaker, actor and whatnot mostly known for his macabre and surreal cartoons. His illustrated book “Les Masochistes” was first published in 1960 and features a number of absurdly humorous masochistic actions that people perform on themselves.
The grotesque situations depicted in “Les Masochistes” perfectly convey Topor’s artistic style and approach towards the world. He infuses the grim reality of Nazi dictatorship (Topor and his family were Polish refugees of Jewish origin) with humor which was probably the best coping mechanism at that time. As described by Bernard Vehmeyer, a quote from Topor’s novel “The Tenant” perfectly sums up his world view:
He was perfectly conscious of the absurdity of his behavior, but he was incapable of changing it. This absurdity was an essential part of him. It was probably the most basic element of his personality.
Most often, Topor’s illustrations were based on surreal scenarios with deeper allusions to sex, erotica, rotting mankind and such. According to closer friends, artist had repetitive periods of extreme depression where he would balance on the verge of death and it reflects in his work.
Check out Michelle Muzyka’s Memories In Decay installation consisting of ultra detailed cut paper sculptures.