Packed within the four walls of a tiny 6 by 10 centimeter sardine can, the miniature characters created by sculptor Nathalie Alony for her project Home Sweet Home are both humorous and poignant. Arranged in a massive grid, the artist’s sardine can dioramas serve as a metaphor for the confined apartments in which we nest. These intricate figurines—men, women, children, beloved pets—each exist within the limits of their aluminum enclosure, building complex family and personal universes that seem to operate independently of the outside world. Despite the isolation of each piece, together Alony’s cans form a complex network that wakes and rests as a unified community, separated only by thin, delicate metal.
Like strange dollhouses, these precious sardine can apartments allow us to navigate and to find meaning in the rituals of domestic life. Much of the action portrayed here is banal: the routine laundering of children’s clothes, the checking off of days on a calendar, the painting of walls. When seen in miniature, intricately rendered by the artist’s masterful hands, mundane home improvement tasks become endlessly enthralling. Here, we can be voyeurs in the most innocent sense, entering the intimate confines of the homes of others with tender curiosity.
Alony’s brilliant little worlds capture the lonesomeness of modern living; seeing the fourth aluminum wall pulled back to reveal precious, private lives, we yearn for a similar intimacy in real life. A home, carved out lovingly from a tiny industrial box, contains all the secrets and wonders of families that are not our own. What goes on in the cherished homes of others? (via Junk Culture and Lost at E Minor)
Photographer Julie Blackmon is the eldest of nine and current mother of three. Drawing inspiration from her own life experiences and also the paintings of Jan Steen, a 17th centure Dutch genre painter, she creates rich tableaux of family life.
Bypassing the idea of parenthood as a prison sentence, trapping the adult away from his or her “real” life, Blackmon, instead, reminds us of how valuable domestic life is to our own sense of dreaming– examining the home as a magical place where fantasy and reality merge together to empower community, creativity, and inner exploration. It is a place that we can remember fondly, lovingly, and longingly. Even if our childhood was less than perfect, there are still flashes of brilliance in the everyday quiet interludes that Blackmon seems to address with ease and specificity.
The new work from Australian photographer Jana Maré in a way presents different relationships. Maré’s nude body is found throughout a deteriorating house, interacting with various rooms and structures. The physical relationship expressed in the photos at once recalls the structure’s past incarnation as a home and emphasizes its current dilapidation. At the same time, though, Maré, in using her own body and refusing to use digital manipulation seems to have a nearly uneasy relationship with the camera and viewer – her posing a kind of performance that has been frozen.
Ladies & Gentlemen Studio is a two person team with a love for vintage items. Looking at their serving utensils from their Superior Servers collection, their sensibilities are immediately apparent- use classic silhouettes in a new modern way. Their other projects share this clever and endearing quality.
The work of Johan Björkegren feels like a fairy tale, with twists and turns. It’s what I pictured when I was 5 and holding the covers hearing stories. It is decrepid and pronounced, and can, at times, feel like a house that won’t stop squeaking. It feels loved and nurtured, but it doesn’t believe in purity or the idea of white.