Jocelyne Grivaud reinvents Barbie as famous works of art and cultural icons throughout the ages.
“This design needed time to take root, as often. The whole story began one day, in November 1967, with a present, all tenderness.
It was pink, vaporous and extremely delicate. With the patience of an angel, my mother had secretly knitted a dressing gown and tiny bootees for my Barbie. It seems to me there were more clothes, but these bootees, with their little pink knots on top totally fascinated me. Then I grew up. The doll vanished, but I kept in mind the elegance and grace of my Barbie as well as a little bootee deep down my secret box. One day, the idea of extending the happy part of my childhood through pictures I love took shape. Barbie is often criticized for being too blonde, too superficial, too skinny, too “ideal marketing”, too “this” and too “that”…. My aim was to adjust this so famous profile to different emblematic representations.
Here’s my personal contribution as a birthday present to my mascot, Barbie, superimposed on the vision of artists whose work I greatly appreciate. Let me thank them all for creating such intense pictures. Many thanks to Ruth Handler for creating this dolly model that enraptured me throughout my childhood.”
South African Photographer Anelia Loubser is forcing us to look twice. Her project “Alienation” is a light-hearted approach to the complicated question of what exactly is conventional beauty? By flipping quite normal, traditional portraits upside down, she points out how easy it is for all of us to look instantly strange. There is a great quote that sums up Loubser’s project:
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” – Wayne Dyer.
This couldn’t be any truer – such a simple act has a great effect. What usually are forehead wrinkles, now act as grimaces, lips puckered in pain; long eyebrows are now odd whiskers sprouting from cheeks or strange furry circles under the eyes. Noses are flipped to replace foreheads and are disconcertingly bulbous – large alien lumps appear where they shouldn’t be.
These photographs are a view into a weird and wonderful world; one full of alien-like humans, but a world where each new face is as beautiful and as intriguing as the next.
These are the new versions of “potato head” – where features are interchangeable and we are able to play around with our ideas of accepted beauty and identity.
During his graduate studies in microbiology, artist Zachary Copfer invented a new type of photography, one grown entirely of living bacteria. By exposing sections of microscopic organisms to radiation, he accelerates their growth, allowing them to multiply and compose vivid photographic portraits. Copfer’s subjects include both artists and scientists who inspire him; famous images Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso are replicated in Serratia marcescens, a human pathogen often associated with infections of the urinary tract and respiratory systems. The portrait of Stephen Fry is made of bacteria found in the actor’s own body.
Copfer’s portraits closely resemble the art of Roy Lichtenstein; his faces bear the same comic book-style polka dots made famous by the legendary pop artist. Also like Lichtenstein’s paintings and prints, they are duplicates of mass-produced, iconic public domain images. But quite unlike the work of Lichenstein and his colleagues, Copfer’s images are imbued with an undeniably unique and human tenor. These bacterial cells, some drawn from the bodies of the subjects they portray, are corporeal and therefore inevitably personal. In contrast the ink used by the pop artists, these cells will someday die. Though iconic, these portraits are ultimately of mortal men, and the fact that they are rendered here in disease-causing bacteria only underscores that fact.
In addition to portraiture, Copfer experiments with photographs of celestial bodies. Here, in glowing green E. coli genetically modified with GFP, the vast cosmos are paradoxically formed from the microscopic, reminding us that in the end, all matter great and small is profoundly interconnected. Take a look. (via Jezebel)
Maxime Ballesteros is Berlin-based photographer who captures the strange, incidental, and oft-intense encounters that punctuate our late-night sojourns into debauchery, pleasure, and excess. The openness and playfulness of his subjects (many of whom are his friends) denotes a party that has reached a fevered, dissociative pitch. Not unlike the fragmentary memories flickering through the brain after a night of indulgence, his photos always suggest there is a much greater narrative going on: from cars abandoned along a dark roadside, to entangled legs, to people kissing and groping in the company of others, we are privy to only one piece from such nighttime revelry, making us curious voyeurs into a fleeting moment from a stranger’s erotic and/or emotional life.
Something happens to us human creatures after nightfall – our energy changes, an “edge” develops that wasn’t there while the sun was still shining. We become desiring, sensate, and slightly odd night-dwellers. Given the recurring images of heels and garter belts and glimpses into the world of BDSM, it is not surprising that Ballesteros’ repertoire is commonly identified as “provocative” and “sexual.” However, it is important not to reduce his photography to such; Ballesteros expresses that his “work is [only] as provocative and sexual as the world is,” and that we interpret sex in everything because — of course — it’s what “driv[es] us most” (Source). What he also explores is the humor, beauty, pain, and gracelessness that motivate and underwrite these late-night experiences.
The way Ballesteros manages to capture the honesty and frankness of these experiences lies in his photographic techniques. His core tactic, in his own words? To “get lost” (Source), to become invisible in his surroundings while remaining receptive to the energy of the people around him, so that he can decipher people’s facades and understand the true dynamics of an encounter. With his camera, he tries to get in close; he avoids re-cropping so that the image is a true representation of that moment; and he uses a high flash, centering the object or body of interest. The result is raw, stark images that confront you with their candor and intensity. And even when his work dips into the surreal — the latex-clad woman screaming while being pushed down a hallway in a wheelchair, for example — the photos still bear a realist, honest aesthetic, as if they truly could be moments from a strange, semi-lucid night.
Following Ballesteros’ wisdom, I encourage all readers to “get lost” in his website, where he has organized his collections under such intriguing titles as “entre chien et loup” and “love me – i’m trying.” You can read an interview with Sang Blue here. The Corner Berlin also features a fascinating video of Ballesteros comparing the nightlife in Paris to that in Berlin. More of Ballesteros’ work after the jump.
Street artist Roa keeps things large and in charge with his massive animals. Whether it’s dead gators, or skinned rabbits Roa brings the carnage of the wild into the urban streets for all of us to enjoy.
Since my last post about Street Art Utopia’s “Best List” took off and caused a decent amount of response, I think it is important to involve the Cult’s own selection. Here you will find a carefully curated and crafted list of every imaginable kind of public form of expression and their respected historical contexts. More after the jump.
Scott Hazard ( featured here previously) is a North Carolina-based artist whose torn-paper landscapes engulf an entire gallery space. Titled Silent Geography, it’s currently site-specific installation at Mixed Greens gallery (in collaboration with Projective City) in New York that covers the floor with paper structures and punctuated with masses of text. These areas of words are meant to turn the space into a garden, meaning that it’s a cultivated and enclosed area that’s set apart (but close to) the wilderness.
From a distance, it’s not clear what Hazard’s soft, inviting installation is made from. It’s only upon closer inspection that you see incredible, carefully-torn sheets of paper and small details like block-printed letters. Silent Geography is meant to evoke the feel of nature but speak to those that live in cities. Mixed Greens writes:
Yet here the wilderness is not exactly that of nature but rather the din of flowing information, language, and symbol that surrounds most urban-dwellers on a daily basis. Into this flow Hazard creates a momentary pause, an immersive space of rest in which language is once again ordered and reduced to its simplest designative function.
Silent Georgraphy is on view until January 10, 2015.