This unusual carnival certainly isn’t the kind you find at a kid’s party. For “Funland: Pleasures & Perils of the Erotic Fairground,” artistic duo Bompas & Parr show off a series of bold and whimsical installations at New York City’s Museum of Sex. Immersive artworks include “Jump for Joy,” a giant bouncy house composed of blow-up breasts and “Grope Mountain,” a rock wall featuring phalluses and vulvas. As visitors munch on tasty treats, they are invited into “The Tunnel of Love,” a maze that ultimately ends at the G-Spot, an erogenous zone in the vaginal canal discovered by Ernst Gräfenberg.
While this all may seem like fun and games, the exhibition also illustrates earnest cultural ideas. Here, the artists worked closely with Professor Vanessa Toulmin, the Director if the UK National Fairground Archive, to illustrate the historical associations between traveling fairgrounds and sexuality. Toulmin proposes that at the apex of the industrial revolution of the mid-19th century, carnivals began to emerge as sites for “immoral” behavior.
The St. Bartholomew fair, she notes, was singled out for its sensuous—and overtly erotic— atmosphere. In this uncanny universe of play and mischief, the puritan ideals of the upper classes were tossed to the wayside. The fast-paced amusement rides were quite the novelty at that time, and dark tunnels and cars allowed for discreet caresses to pass between lovers. Some fairgrounds even charged admittance for burlesque and strip-tease shows. Bompas & Parr’s “Funland” certainly captures both the thrilling and the farcical aspects of the carnival scene. Simultaneously amusing and disturbing, the exhibit engages both the mind and the body. The show is currently on view and will run through Spring 2015. (via Design Boom)
As part of our ongoing partnership with Feature Shoot, Beautiful/Decay is sharing Jennifer Kaye’s article on John Mdgley.
Cosmetic giant MAC put their in-store makeup artists to the test this Halloween to create the most compelling looks. Artists from stores in Miami, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York will be judged by MAC’s facebook followers for their annual “Halloween Face-Off.” The portraits, which range from glamorous to macabre, were shot by photographer John Midgley. “The passion of each of the artists was a lot of fun, and it was infectious,” says John. They lived for it—they lived for the look. They lived to have their picture taken. It took it back to the simplest form of photography, which is flattery and escapism.”
Maiko Takeda is a student of jewelry design and fashion, a fact that is apparent in these stunning photographs. Takeda’s portraits feature figures adorned or ornamented, creating interesting juxtapositions of light and shadow, geometry, space, and logic. Out of a simple and seemingly ordered concept emerges something intricate, chaotic, and mysterious. Takeda’s work is both elegant and bizarre, a world where beauty is revealed through obfuscation and composition. Takeda is currently pursuing a Masters in Millinery at the Royal College of Art.
Sam Green’s illustrations are a collage of the best of traditional skill and digital embellishments. Though he does often combine two different worlds together (traditional vs. digital, realistic vs. contorted, and serene vs. avant garde,) they are all held together by his consistently fluid style.
For his breathtaking project “Atypical,” the Warsaw, Poland-based illustrator and graphic designer Pawel Nolbert creates a typeface unlike any other. Composed of globular, thick brushstrokes saturated with dense color, his letters take on a tangible and material form, becoming what he calls “half-realistic, half-illustrative figurative sculptures.” For the series, the artist, who is also an art director, photographed paint splatters, and he later enhanced them and added depth through digital manipulation.
What emerges from Nolbert’s compelling work is a refreshing and visceral take on the written word, which in our contemporary culture can seem stale and lifeless. Here, language becomes physical as the body, writhing and twisting with vivid pleasure. The two dimensions of the page become the three, with thick, textured lines overlapping and creating an unexpected depth of field. Displaying an impressive grasp on color theory, the artist uses cognitive and perceptual tricks to extend the letters and numbers into three dimensionality. Complimentary colors are layered atop one another, creating an engaging visual dynamic: orange is paired with blue, purple with yellow, and green with red.
In a cultural landscape in which we are constantly bombarded with images, language moves to the wayside, and yet Nolbert finds a way to reclaim our attentions and bring us back to the fundamentals of words, letters, and numerals. Dancing about and leaping from the page, spewing paint in unexpected directions, his “Atypical” posters remind us of the vitality and creative potential inherent in verbal expression. Take a look. (via Colossal)
This week, The Shooting Gallery in San Francisco debuted “Ritual,” a solo exhibit by painter Charmaine Olivia. For “Ritual,” Olivia shrouds her signature female portraits with a veil of mysticism and magic, citing astrology, druidism, and the goddesses of ancient Greek mythology as inspirations. The beautifully haunting, almost spectral quality of Olivia’s female subjects is a result of her signature blend of realism and fantasy. While maintaining intensely realistic elements, many of the women are stripped down to their innermost layers, and further, into the paintings themselves, as translucent skin drips into bare bones, and tousled tresses fade into abstracted lines, revealing the grain of the wood surface beneath. “Ritual” presents these portraits as altars, flanked with offerings of flowers, candles, bones, and bottles, transforming the gallery into a place of worship, inviting us all to partake in a sacred ceremony to Olivia’s dreamy deities. View the show at The Shooting Gallery until February 4.