Often treading between reverence and ridicule, the mystifying allure of art that reiterates sexual transgression remains suspended within a deviating purgatory of the sacred and the obscene. Buoyantly drifting within the underbelly of normative culture, the erotic and transgressive create a synergetic relationship in a strike against societal conventions. Through a crude presentation of social perversions, the atmosphere created through sexually transgressive art permits an insight that challenges not only sexual precepts, but invites a critique of human behavior irrevocably influenced by social structures. In an explosive resurgence of suppressed sexual impulses, the following artists create frantic, tense and exquisitely obscene renderings of deviations and sexualized social distortions.
adidas collaborated with a renowned performance artist Marina Abramovic to create a short film for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Video takes inspiration from Abramovic’s 1978 performance Work Relation and explores the notion of teamwork and parallels between sport and performance.
Same as the original piece, the reenactment features a group of 11 people (a reference to the number of soccer/football players on the field) transporting stones from one side of the court to the other. They are all arranged into three contrasting models: a couple, two individuals and a human chain. By doing so, Abramovic explores the contrast of cooperation and efficiency.
Work Relation was a perfect piece for adidas to pay tribute to its partnership with the 2014 FIFA World Cup. According to Abramovic who appears in the video herself, she sees a broad affinity between sport and performance.
“One similarity that I wanted to highlight in this video is the importance of group collaboration. <…> I believe that it is important to learn from other disciplines in order to bring new life to whatever it is that you do.”
The black and white video was shot by SHOWstudio in the manner of early motion cinematic experiments. All participants are dressed in their personal clothes, however they all wear a white lab coat from Marina Abramovic Institute and adidas’ Samba sneakers. As the performance author explained, the apparel was meant to create a sense of collective experimentation and mute external distractions.
“Entoptic Phenomena” is an ongoing photo series by Texas-based multi-media artist William Hundley. The project features people jumping under colorful pieces of fabric and creating mysterious floating sculptures. The final photographs are then edited to remove the subject and leave the viewer with nothing but the ephemeral cloud-like figure hanging in the air.
“My work started with the influence of Erwin Wurm and Maurizio Cattelan, these absurdists. I love the practical-joke nature of it; if I can make humor and beautiful aesthetics come together, that’s the biggest powerhouse I can imagine.”
The name of the project comes from the term entoptic phenomena, meaning “visual effects whose source is within the eye itself”. In simpler words, it’s those dots and wrinkles that sometimes appear in our sight due to bright light or pressure applied to closed eyes. Entoptic images have a physical basis and are not considered to be illusions. However, they share one common feature: the observer can’t share a specific view of such phenomena with the others.
By merging real and unreal – the scientific explanation of entoptic phenomena and his own visual representation of it – Hundley introduces disguised absurdity to his project and proves our knowledge of the world is only a matter of perspective.
French art director and photographer Patrice Letarnec combines his two talents when he devised this cleverly simplistic photoseries. Having his subjects switch their top and bottom clothes, Letarnec then has them stand on their hands, walking about upside down on their daily routes. Thus the title of the series, Head Over Heels, which is taken quite literally.
The results are subjects which look familiar at first, until a general unease sets in to the missing head, arms which are too long, and legs that are far too short. The orangutan-like subjects are more comedic than disconcerting, another win for Letarnec’s eye (who also deserves a bit of credit for finding subjects who can balance on their hands so well while blindfolded).
Ludovic Florent‘s new photoseries Poussières d’étoiles (which translating as Stardust) features the natural beauty of the human body in motion, capturing dancer’s poses in moments of ecstasy, distress and grace. Each photograph is highlighted by the staging, a chalk and sand floor which enhances each movement, with dust clouds mirroring the appendage’s motions to create a dramatic physical presence of their own. Florent says, “In our changing society, my photographic work is guided by a humanistic look, willingness to foreground the natural beauty of the body, free to express his grace and personality.”
The Metz, France-based Florent created Poussières d’étoiles for Gallery HEGOA, and in anticipation for the European Festival of Nude Photography in Arles, France in May, 2014. The photographer further explains his work, “‘Behind every carnal envelope hides a soul that is both sensitive and flamboyant as I try to capture in each of my photographs.’ We certainly enjoy his work guided by a humanistic look, finding expression in a series that is both, sensitive and vivid.” (via ignant)
Professional illustrator and graphic designer Marcello Barenghi has a long and successful career rendering visual narratives and designs. But recently his drawing demonstrations have given the Milan-based draftsman a new following, as his Youtube video series routinely tops over a million hits per video.
With stop-motion demonstrations showing how Barenghi renders commonly found objects ranging from crumpled snack chip bags, Euro coins and more challenging objects like mirrored silver teapots, viewers can watch how a master draftsman achieves his trademark photorealistic results. Although few students of pencil, graphite and airbrush will ever achieve the results Barenghi does, they can at least see the unlimited potential of the blank page when the artist demonstrates each step by step video. (via gizmodo)
Cambodian-based artist Anida Yoeu Ali conceptualized The Buddhist Bug Project, which sprouted from her fascination of other religions. She was raised in the Muslim faith but is drawn towards the Buddhist religion. Her project attempts to reconcile these two interests. Ali explains:
The Buddhist Bug Project seeks to map a new spiritual and social landscape through its surreal existence amongst ordinary people and everyday environments. The Buddhist Bug (BBug) is a fantastic saffron-colored creature that can span the length of a 30-metre bridge or coil into a small orange ball. Rooted in an autobiographical exploration of identity, the Bug comes from the artist’s own spiritual turmoil between Islam and Buddhism. Set amongst everyday people in ordinary moments, the Bug provokes obvious questions of belonging and displacement.
The Bug’s colorful exterior references robes worn by the Buddhist Monks, while the style of its head piece is modeled after the Islamic Hijab. The travelling project has made its way to Cambodia, where Ali and photographer Masahiro Sugano stage site-specific performances. We see the Bug wrapped around tables, in a boat, up a flight of stairs, and more. Its presence allows for others to interact with it and take part in the project, which is part of Ali’s intent. “…meters and meters of textile act as skin, as a way for the surface of my body to extend into public spaces, and as a metaphoric device for stories to spread across an expanse.” She says. “For me, performance and storytelling become ways of bridging the interior and exterior space of self as well as initiate critical dialogues between communities and institutions. (Via design boom and The Philanthropic Museum)
Personal space, something that’s cherished in the United States, is put to the test in Brooklyn-based artist George Ferrandi’s series, I Felt Like I Knew You. This site-specific performance features Ferrandi on the crowded New York City subway. In her words, she transforms the space between two people from being stiff and guarded to something that resembles a space friends would share. Essentially, she sits in a packed subway car, rests her head on a stranger’s shoulders, and documents what happens through iPhone videos shot by Angela Gilland.
Not surprisingly, not everyone is receptive to Ferrandi’s invasion of their “personal bubble.” Some people wake her up or passive aggressively move their shoulder. Some, however, just let her rest. In an interview with Katherine Brooks of the Huffington Post, Ferrandi was asked if she learned anything from the project. Her response:
For me, this piece taps into the mystery and fragility of how we relate and communicate to each other as human animals, full of signs secret even to ourselves. It’s given me a deeper understanding of the way New Yorkers evolve to maintain their privacy in public spaces. We carry our energy so closely. We’re often pressed up against each other on the train with a kind of “I wish I wasn’t touching you” energy that is invisible but respected. This is part of why so many people are touched by a photo of one man resting his head on the shoulder of another; it challenges a preconception about tenderness between strangers, especially in New York. And it offers a tiny counterpoint to the Culture of Fear being cultivated in America.
All images are stills from iPhone videos. They make you ponder how you would act if Ferrandi put her head on your shoulder. Would you engage her or move your shoulder? (Via Huffington Post)