The subject of Miljohn Ruperto‘s work in the recent 2014 Whitney Biennial is taken from the mysterious Voynich manuscript. Dating back to the 15th century, the book contains indecipherable text, whose authorship, has been credited throughout history to aliens, ancient Mayans, and long forgotten tribes. It repeatedly stumps the brightest scholars and laymen making it one of the greatest and most misunderstood academic mysteries of all time. The only clues to its origins lie in 126 unidentified botanical studies accompanying the text. The illustrations of plants and figures, drawn in a weirdly fantastical style, tell a story which seem to mirror life’s age old mysteries. The project involving Ruperto and his collaborator, Ulrik Heltoft began by making 3D models of the plants, which were then photographed and transferred onto black and white analog film.
The end result, is a series of creepy snap shots recalling old hollywood publicity stills. Creakily formed branches and stems appear as strange appendages, as the plants take on otherworldly shapes illuminated by sinister shadows. The staging of Voynich’s botany not only becomes haunting and striking but everlasting, offering the viewer a mostly cinematic experience. An ongoing project, it will continue with the duo creating new photos of the specimens accompanied by large paintings of an enigmatic planet known as 55 canri e. 55 cancri e is part of the cancri planetary system which revolves around our sun. Astrophysicists have suggested it might be composed entirely out of diamonds. This came to light after studies found when the planet passed in front of the sun, it absorbed an enormous amount of energy. However, much like the Voynich and due to its enormous distance from earth shall probably only remain escapist fodder for our intellectual pursuits.
Designer Ross Lovegrove teamed up with glass manufacturer Lasvit to create the new architectural glass panel. The panels take inspiration from natural forms. Using a high precision heat transfer process the crystal glass flows and optically shifts that which is behind it. People and objects look as if they are standing behind a waterfall. Colors warp and fracture throughout the surface. Organic shapes created by nature are processed into dynamic architecture.
Artist Aki Inomata asks “Why not hand over a “shelter” to hermit crabs?” and this is exactly what she does. Inomata carefully scanned the structure of shells used by hermit crabs and took note of their specific needs. Then using 3D modeling software she created new “homes” for these crabs. Drawing a connection between humans and the hermit crabs, Inomata decorated the shells with human structures and dwellings. Somewhat similar to humans, the crabs out grow their shells and must look for new shelter. The project underscores the basic need of a place to live, regardless of the seeming complexity behind the issue.
Sydney based photographer Petrina Hicks produces large scale, hyper-real, glossy images reminiscent of advertising catalogs or billboards. Simple, graphic and highly stylized, her work is sensual and glamorous. Her latest series called The Hippy And The Snake explores the relationship between women and snakes throughout literature and art, but with a decidedly Australian twist. She has placed women either smoking behind a wall of unnaturally bright foliage, lying in a tropical rainforest, hiding behind dripping wet leaves, or floating on a background of unbelievably bright blue, and scattered snakes throughout. The whole atmosphere of the series is one of a sweet teenager meandering through a sugary dreamworld, but one where there is always danger lurking behind the next leaf. It is a seductive setting and Hicks uses this unease purposefully.
There is a tension between the organic and synthetic. Ambiguity and duality is something I often aim for. On the surface, I use images that have an advertising aesthetic to explore its own language and codes, but it is the subtext in the content that works in opposition. (Source)
Hicks uses her background as a commercial photographer to her advantage. The models have blemish-free perfect skin, not a hair out of place and clean silhouettes. Using simple compositions, minimal props, and no unfussy details, Hicks’ aesthetic is as seductive as the snake is in her narrative.
There is an undeniable sense of morbidity that pervades Czech artist Monika Horčicová’s meticulous replicas of skeletal parts, but to call them simply morbid is to take away from their staggering beauty. Fused together and crafted through cutting edge 3D-printing technology and polyester resin casts, Horčicová merges bones into everything from running wheel-like statues to kaleidoscopic patchworks, each piece rooted in a mesmerizingly acute understanding of our complex skeletal system. Originally from Prague, Horčicová now lives in Brno where she attends the Faculty of Fine Arts at Brno University of Technology. The mathematical arrangements in Horčicová’s pieces, where hip bones can merge perfectly into an open fan of legs and ribcages fit snugly within one another, serve as surreal reminders of the deeply complicated framework that makes up each of our bodies.
Some of Horčicová’s pieces also stand as signifiers of mortality, such as Relikviář, in which 3D-printed pelvises, skulls and more are packed into neat boxes within a black metal display case. Here, they assume a more medical, typified presence, as most bones do when under examination and study, as Horčicová makes clear in her exquisite reproduction. The mutated forms Horčicová’s skeletal constructions take on are mesmerizing and vivid reminders of our own mortality, presented brilliantly within a cycle of infinite possibility.
Photographer Denise Prince challenges our perception of beauty and aesthetics by interchanging professional models with physical trauma survivors in her latest photography and video project Tractatus 7. Using a catalog by a high-end Italian fashion house Missoni, Prince replicates the superimposed glamour with a pinch of cruel, muted reality.
The provocative project, originally titled Replication and Breakdown of the Missoni Estate Line Catalog, is a juxtaposition between our approach towards reality and the events that take place beyond that fantasy. Prince raises a question of what happens to our designed reality when a traumatic event occurs? To her belief, people who have undergone severe traumas have an improved capacity to face the human condition.
“My sense is that when we see people with evidence of physical trauma we initially see them as people who were “not safe” and are reminded, ultimately, of our own mortality. I deeply believe that engaging with what we think we fear and yet gives all meaning to life (death – to the extent that this work is a reminder) brings with it a sense of greater peace.”
Prince uses her uncomfortable and grotesque way of storytelling to share the subject’s experiences (accidents, birth defects or assault) in an attempt to surpass standards of representation with the public, which is often deaf and blind to such events. Photographer is committed not to position her models as victims: “I work with people who have sufficiently recovered, established a new relationship to fantasy <…> At this stage <…> they are open to play, <…> to serve as an object of desire, to social risk taking.”
Tractatus 7 opens to public September 7 and will be running until September 27 at University Park in Austin, Texas. (via feature shoot)
A fairy tale, the garden of Eden and Hell. Hieronymus Bosch was a painter (ca. 1450 to 1516) from the Medieval era representing fantasy landscapes with imaginary and bizarre characters. In one of his most famous painting, ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’ he depicts in a triptych, a multitude of religious symbols blended with amusing dark isolated little scenes.
Hieronymus Bosch’s style is childlike and at the same time stern and serious. On the left side of the triptych, a religious scene. G.od is presenting Eve to Adam in the quiet and peaceful garden of Eden. What is looking like a traditional scene seems in fact to represent the beginning of life and its debauchery. The following part of the painting shows the consequences of a story we know too well nowadays. That is, the story of Adam eating the forbidden fruit and sent with Eve to another land. A land where nothing is in order. Birds and fruits are bigger than humans and seem to have dominated. The animals are feeding the humans. Which, from the look on their faces, are acting like zombies. We are looking at submissive and obedient individuals satisfying their primal needs, mating and eating. The last part of the triptych depicts macabre and violent scenes. The decline of corruption through the representation of hell. People are being tortured and murdered by the animals and other hybrid creatures. Knives, swords and arrows are completing the disastrous landscape.
The set of paintings is ultra-detailed and furthermore for an artist living in the Medieval era. This looks from afar like a tale for children. The naive colors and the rounded shapes makes the art piece easy to watch. That was probably the first intent. The second was to maybe address a message indirectly to the viewers. The story of Adam and Eve disobeying from their original paths and its inevitable deadly consequences is shown to the public. The context of the paintings are unsure but what is unquestionable is the talent, vision and beautiful imagination of Hieronymus Bosch.
The triptych, 20 paintings and 19 drawings, will be displayed at Noordbrabants Museum in the Netherlands as part of the ‘Hieronymus Bosch: Visions of a Genius’ exhibition from February 13th to May 8th 2016. (via Juxtapoz)
Merging art, fashion, and feminism, Heather Marie Scholl uses hand-embroidered textiles and knit works of art to make social statements. In her latest project, “Sometimes It’s Hard to Be a Woman,” Scholl combines her own “personal narrative with larger conversations about the body, women, feminism, identity, and sexuality” to address male-on-female domestic violence and empower its victims.
Ironically alluding to Tammy Wynette’s song, “Stand by Your Man,” and imagined as a means of visual storytelling, the fashion installation project will present several of Scholl’s creations, spanning embroidery, clothing, and sculpture. The subjects of the garments and textiles featured in “Sometimes It’s Hard to Be a Woman”—which Scholl playfully refers to as her “second coming out”—range from portraits of women to quotations both empowering and unsettling. Given its highly potent and deeply personal content, it is no wonder that Scholl describes the sentiment behind the project as “an amazing ‘fuck you’ attitude.”
Be sure to check out Scholl’s intricate and empowering pieces at FiveMyles Gallery in Brooklyn, New York. “Sometimes It’s Hard to Be a Woman” will be on view through November 7.