You may remember when we first featured French artist Miguel Chevalier’s work back in September for his Paris construction tunnel light installation and musical collaboration with Michel Redolfi. Revisiting traditions of Islamic art, namely mosaics and carpets, Chevalier and Redolfi have joined forces again to create a similarly interactive digital/sound project earlier this month at the Sacré Coeur church in Casablanca, Morocco. From April 3-6, “Magic Carpets” transformed the church’s floor into an interactive user interface featuring graphics evolving along with the movements of visitors. The digital light display features generative graphics that multiply, divide, grow, and transform, reminiscent of cellular and organic systems. Visitors’ shadows become a part of the light and graphics display, allowing users to become a part of the installation. The effect of combining organic and digital technologies renders the installation almost psychedelic, enhanced by the accompanying ambient music by Redolfi. To view the installation in action, be sure to check out Claude Mossessian’s video. (via design boom and inhale mag)
NAWLZ is an online interactive comic book by Australian artist Stu Campbell (Sutu). What I liked about this project is that it combines the concept of new media art and storytelling. He uses text, illustration, music, animation and interactive juxtaposed imagery and animation to unfold the story. It’s quite an interactive comic book and in a way requires the reader to be attentive as in order to move forward in the story you need to move around the page and find the next tab. It creates an environment that in itself becomes part of a new genre in stroytelling when we are seeing more often the crossover between art, technology and interactivity.
Hassan Rahim lives and works in Los Angeles. He has just concluded a solo exhibition at HVW8 in L.A. entitled The Air Above This Ground. Rahim has a knack for transforming childhood memories into conceptual work that pays tribute to the past while relaying thoughts on the present and future. His photography, collage and mixed media pieces are heavily rooted in 90’s NBA nostalgia. Themes of fame, struggle, life and death are all explored with re-appropriated and combined imagery. From the press release: “…Conversant with pre-existing works–Rahim’s “The Big Three” owes as much to Wallace Berman’s “Untitled” (hand holding a cassette) as it does to Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, and Scottie Pippen—his pieces build a bridge from art-historical zones to realms of culture that are usually entirely claimed by advertising. There is a reclamation of imagery happening, the sports Hero comes back home to art. One is reminded of classical sculptures of discuss throwers, or of the fact that Nike was originally the Greek Goddess of Victory.”
Lynn Palewicz has taken doodling on her hands to a whole new level. Her drawings, that fuse black pen body drawings with up-close photography, teeter on the edge between illusion and reality, abstraction and figuration. These dizzying images will definitely make you do a double-take.
Catherine Chalmers manages to make captivating and beautiful those creatures that cause most of us to feel squeamish. Chalmers travels the world to capture images and video of rodents and insects in their habitats. Being one part scientist and one part artist, Chalmers is interested in bringing focus to nature using art as her vehicle.
For her most recent project, Leafcutters, which was partially funded by a Guggenheim Fellowship, Chalmers captured the activities of ants. She was intrigued by the many similarities they have with humans. She noted that like us, they inhabit almost every ecosystem on Earth, are one of the dominant species in their habitats and they impact the grand structure of other biological systems. Beyond that they also wage war, take slaves, raise and keep other animals for food, and are also capable of making their own antibiotics. They’re also, as Chalmers demonstrates, highly photogenic.
Chalmers American Cockroach series, equally beautiful and tough, captured arguably the world’s most dreaded insect. Forcing us to confront our discomfort with cockroaches Chalmers wondered if she could seduce people into liking them because, as with the ants, they’re a lot like us.
Pierre Commoy and Gilles Blanchard – Pierre and Gilles – have made portraits of Madonna, Jean Paul Gaultier, Andy Warhol, and Iggy Pop, just to name a few. The portraits are sexually charged and totally fantastical. Their subjects are placed under water, surrounded by flowers, or in what looks like a McDonalds ball pen (a not so subtle reference, in the tradition of most of their portraiture). Their kitschy and outlandish aesthetic has had them attain international recognition; they’re included in collections like the MoMA’s and have had a major retrospective at the New Museum in 2000.
Not only do they work together professionally, they have also been together as a couple for the duration of their shared career. Pierre is the photographer, and Gilles does the painting afterward. According to a VMagazine interview, the entire process of one portrait takes them about three weeks:
“We do everything from creating the décor to taking the picture to constructing the frame. We are always inspired by the person’s personality.”
Although their sexual orientation is a large part of their public persona, they say they are cautious not to pigeonhole themselves into what they call the “gay ghetto” and for this reason take portraits of a variety of celebrities they admire, while maintaining their own distinct style.
Their aesthetic is whimsical and edgy. Certainly setting a man up fully nude peeing into a garden of flowers is not an image you will see every day. It’s provocative, but not aggressive, probably because of the teasing, over-the-top nature of the accompanying imagery. They find a way to playfully bring the mainstream out of its comfort zone so it seems like every day should be filled with sexy nuns riding bedazzled horses!
Dan Colen’s trash-to-treasure mixed media installations remind us of the potential of beauty in the discarded. In his exhibition, Blowin’ In the Wind, Colen repurposes the painting tools which he uses to create his Trash series. These objects are placed or hung in the gallery, absent of the painted canvases that resulted from their use. Painting tools include objects such as a flip-flop, a paint can, rags, string, bottles, a tire, a yellow mop bucket, a McDonald’s food bag, and an umbrella handle. In Out of the Blue and Into the Black, Colen tars and feathers an entire gallery wall with one small and bright painted canvas among this image of morbidity. Also part of this installation is a cluster of suspended beat-up and forgotten blue bicycles. Representing the more literal approach of trash-to-treasure are canvases onto which Colen has pasted painted trash or gum and gum wrappers. Colen’s background is in painting and a series of his oil paintings, entitled The Spirits That I Called, will be on view at Oko Gallery in New York from May 15 – June 15.