In their book Waska Tatay, French photographer Thomas Rousset and graphic designer Raphael Verona document the cryptic reality of Bolivian witchcraft. During their trip to the Altiplano region of Bolivia, Rousset and Verona encountered the magical world of shamanism, spiritual healers and ancient mythology. Their book exposes the collision between old and new, mystical and mundane, spiritual and physical.
The ambivalence of Waska Tatay begins from a first glance. Book’s abstract cover of fading yellows and blues is contrasting with the actual matter. The clash continues throughout Rousset and Verona’s style of photography, which is tossing between reportage and staged portraiture. Finally, the grotesque ambiguity reaches its top when the subjects in all their ritual garments are photographed in their mundane surroundings. This incoherence between content and form exposes the viewer to the grim reality of tradition in today’s world.
“We decided to mix two languages: one very staged and those that are very snapshot. We mixed a lot to create ambiguity for the reader, in knowing what’s real and what’s fiction.”
Rousset and Verona claims to have tried to zoom the old fashioned world into today’s reality. The picture of a Bolivian girl standing in a tree is an iconic example of their idea: “You could see that the girl is a witch, trying to talk with divinities or evils but her voice to God is replaced by a cell phone,” says Verona. According to the photographers, what they witnessed in Bolivia was a sense of magical realism which they wanted to broadcast to the viewer. The book Waska Tatay is available on IDPURE. (via Wired)
Using recycled objects like board game pieces, party straws, and paper fans, Swiss artist Marie Rime created a fantastic set of masks and armor. The separate-yet-similar series are composed of multi-faceted objects that cover the subjects’ entire face and part of their body, forming silhouettes made from the likes of chess pawns and popsicle sticks. It recontextualizes kitsch and transforms the use of these tiny individual elements into a cohesive veil that obscures its model’s face. In both bodies of work, the emphasis is on power and competition. Rime explains her mask project and writes:
In this series, the notion of game is being questioned. I tried to express my fascination with the relationship between the players. I asked myself what the participants are looking for and whether they are trying to disturb, seduce or intimidate opponents. These reflections led to a series of pictures of a female model wearing masks inspired by primitive tribal art, yet created from elements of the games being played in the championships.
Likewise, with the armor, she states, “These costumes, realised with everyday objects, are the starting point of a reflexion of the relationship between power, war and ornament. These women lose their identity and become the support of their clothing.” (Via La Monda)
Joel Cooper crafts paper masks and geometric shapes using the technique of origami. Cooper’s intricate three dimensional masks are created with a large number of folds out of one sheet of paper. He alternates between bright and muted colors and matte and shiny sheets of paper that all appear earthy in tone. On some of his pieces, his wife has collaborated with him by using painting techniques to enrich color and texture. You can check out more of Cooper’s work on Flickr and purchase available designs via his Etsy shop. He lives in Kansas. (via design taxi)
Raymond Lemstra is an artist whose work reflects a deep appreciation for both primitive art and the subconscious workings of the inner mind. He has a very distorted and humorous output of big-headed people with over-emphasized features, full of wonder and turmoil. We recently got a chance to catch up with Raymond to ask him what he is up to.