Physical Trauma Survivors Reenact Scenes From Missoni Fashion Catalog

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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)

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Disturbing Aftereffects Of Vietnam War Depicted In The Sexually Charged Paintings Of Nguyen Xuan Huy

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Vietnamese painter Nguyen Xuan Huy introduces us to the disruptive effects and ongoing legacy of the Vietnam War. His works carry a rooted sense of grotesque which makes it impossible to stay intact. Huy outlines Vietnam’s grim reality by confronting pop art aesthetics with hints of Socialist iconography and heartbreaking results of Agent Orange warfare.

Huy, who is currently based in Berlin, aggregates many aspects of art history by mimicking famous painter’s artworks. Motifs from Matisse’s Dance, Bosch’s Garden Of Earthly Delights, and even Michelangelo’s Creation Of Adam are taken and distorted to outline the traumatic consequences country’s post-war experiences. Twisted naked bodies, guns and dead animals join in a feast of spite and sorrow.

Agent Orange, a poisonous defoliant, was used by the US military and its counterparts to spray on the Vietnamese countryside hoping it will destroy the food sources and thus, end resistance. Only later it was titled the Chernobyl of Vietnam because of it’s irreversible effects, specifically the crippling birth defects. Chemicals used in Agent Orange caused genotype mutations which are present even three generations later.

“It’s insensitive to imagine that because I was born healthy that I am untouched by this issue. <…> So many people are potential carriers of the altered genotype, this is a problem which could affect each and every citizen of Vietnam.”

(via Hi-Fructose)

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Collection Of Haunting Vintage Halloween Photos From 1875–1955 Will Give You The Chills

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Ossian Brown is an English artist and musician whose book “Haunted Air” gives us a rare glimpse at the vintage celebration of Halloween in America, c. 1875-1955. Anonymous photographs collected from family albums depict the traditional macabre costumes from ages past.

“I find their haunting melancholy completely absorbing; all of these photographs <…> now torn out, disembodied and forgotten <…> they’ve now become fully and utterly the masks and phantoms they dragged up as, all those years ago.”

Compared to today’s flashy, pop-culture inspired Halloween costumes, these get ups of are capable of giving viewer the chills. Black and white photographs feature children and adults dressed with strange DIY masks and robes. Popular motifs contain disguising as devils, witches or animals.

According to Brown, he was fascinated by the wild imagination of these people who at the time were living in great poverty but still managed to create “these incredible and phantasmagorical apparitions”. From whatever inanimate objects, they would construct truly haunting costumes and kept with the essence of tradition which is overlooked nowadays.

To give the book even more mystery, the foreword was written by David Lynch. A short excerpt presented here:

“All the clocks had stopped. A void out of time. And here they are – looking out and holding themselves still – holding still at that point where two worlds join – the familiar – ant the other.”

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The Gruesome Artwork Of Sarah Best Will Give You Goosebumps

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The artist Sarah Best creates astounding replicas of the female body, using it as a symbol that tracks the human desire for connection and intimacy; severed from the rest of the body, her sculpted hands and a cut-out collaged breasts take on a life of their own, worming their way up walls and pages and sometimes tracking blood in the process. The work, though sometimes gruesome, maintains a pulsating beauty; as if with clear intentions, her vital sculptures navigate space, dangling from hooks and exploring piles of cloth.

From both a feminist and an aesthetic standpoint, Best’s work operates in a miraculous, subversive manner; the feminist philosopher Susan Bordo, for example, writes that the body, coded female, is often seen as passive and lacking in intellect, explaining that therefore the body alone has the power to challenge those sexist ideas. Positioning parts of the body within cubistic collages and arresting installations, Best allows it to transcend societal definitions. Rather than figuring as part of a whole to be admired and objectified, limbs actively seek out understanding of the outside world, touching and feeling everything in their paths.

Wonderfully vulnerable yet undeniably powerful, female arm bears Christ-like stigmata, and the physical body searches for spiritual meaning. The oppressive boundaries between the corporeal self— too often considered to be unintelligent, immoral, and “feminine—” and the elevated metaphysical self are effectively shattered, and a new kind of humanity begins to emerge, one to which we can all relate, one that is beautifully desirous, yearning, and sometimes lonesome.

I got the amazing chance to speak with Best, and when I asked what advice she’d give to aspiring artists, she simply said, “Keep your integrity. You will only count, for yourself and in your art, to the extend that you keep your integrity.” Take a look.
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The Erotic Distortions Of Gabriel Gruns’ Classicly Inspired Paintings (NSFW)

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Argentinean artist Gabriel Grun paints in a style similar to the Renaissance and Baroque masters, but his work is charged with a subdued eroticism that produces a surreal effect. Grun paints the human body, often foregrounding them in natural landscapes, combining mythological and contemporary elements. Many of his human figures are contorted or shaped into grotesque or bestial shapes and poses – these distortions and manipulations could appear disturbing, but because Grun is so technically skilled at composing these eccentricities, they are merely curious and offer a contemporary and sexually-charged spin on a classical style. (via hi fructose)

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Nicola Constantino’s Fashion Line Covered With Human Nipples

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In 1998, Argentinian artist Nicola Constantino created ‘Peletería Humana’ (Human fur Boutique), a window display with twenty mannequins showing off Nicola’s heeled shoes, dresses and handbags. These elegant designs were fashion forward in a peculiar way: all pieces were made out of real human hair and colored latex cloth which patterns and textures imitated human nipples. The material, reminiscent of real human skin. was a definite erotic but also sickeningly monstrous and abnormal characteristic that made many recoil in disgust.

The attractive yet repulsive pieces delineate the artist’s ideas about two highly addictive societal desires: expensive consumer goods and sex. By creating these garments out of human hair and cloth that reproduced the human skin, she entices the viewer to see, simultaneously, both desires in the same object. We can also say that her ‘elegant’, high end creations (all which are wearable pieces of art) play with notions of the natural and the artificial, ideas of identity in a consumer society, and the materiality of the human body in contemporary times.

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Jessica Stoller’s Porcelain Sculptures Exaggerate Feminine Objectification (NSFW)

Jessica Stoller

Jessica Stoller

Jessica Stoller

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Jessica Stoller

Jessica Stoller‘s porcelain sculptures exaggerate the objectification of female bodies using 18th century French aesthetics. Through the medium of clay, Stoller sculpts fluid and grotesque shapes, emphasizing the lack of boundaries between bodies and other materialist images related to consumption. She embellishes this unsettling bodily abundance with a soft, feminine, candy and ice-cream color palette and opulent adornments. These figures are often erotically or mythically charged.This creates an experience of surreal bodily and material abjection for the viewer, while addressing cultural concerns about the control of the feminine body. Stoller’s work, “Spoil,” is currently on view at PPOW Gallery in New York until February 8. (via hi fructose)

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Francesco Albano’s Melting And Grotesque Body Sculptures

Francesco Albano

Francesco Albano

Francesco Albano

Francesco Albano

Francesco Albano‘s human body sculptures drip, melt, hang, and often appear to be boneless – even the work primarily featuring bones is distorted and lumpy. Working with wax, polyester, latex, iron, and other materials, Albano sculpts shapes and contortions that render the erect and boundaried body flaccid and grotesque.

Albano is “interested in and influenced by a wide range of subjects from philosophical, mystical and spiritual arguments to scientific theories, from psychological studies to real life stories. Albano uses skin and bone as a critical and personal tool of expression to focus on the effect of societal pressures and psychological violence on the human body and collective conscience. More than an inner envelope the artist defines the human skin as a limit and an identity, that interacts with outer world.” He’s lived in Istanbul since 2010. (via my amp goes to 11 and galerist)

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