Yuichi Hirako is a Japanese artist whose paintings and sculptures blend humans, the city, and the forest together into in alternate, animistic realities. The works feel like they’re made by someone who feels life around them as one unified force and doesn’t envision a cataclysmic end to humanity, but just a change in how our form of life is expressed biologically. In Hirako’s work, it’s as though a nuclear catastrophe had dissolved the boundaries between all life forms on earth, leaving behind husks of cars, trees that grow houses, varicolored trees and rivers, and people who have very literally become one with nature. It’s interesting to think about alternate possibilities for life on earth, and if humanity does decide to use all our nuclear weapons, I hope we end up in Hirako’s paintings.
Italian-based artist Noubeda Carbone is known typically for her award-winning illustrations. Her sculptures, however, are similarly colorful and meticulous. The Disease Sculptures and Wearable Pills series each include pieces painstakingly crafted from pill capsules. While her 3D work may exude a technicolor lightheartedness, the medium itself is disquieting. Particularly in the Wearable Pills series, the modern shift from pharmaceuticals as medical items to vanity products is especially striking. Carbone may be highlighting the visually pleasant nature of the pills as it’s connected to the dream of personal transformation.
The work of art collective Ghost of a Dream uses lottery tickets and romance novel covers to mezmerizing effect. Often employing thousands of dollars worth of scratch-off tickets ($70,000 worth of tickets in the last installation alone), the work conjures a culture of hyper-materialism. The gaudy coloring of the tickets and cheap imagery of romance novels reflect the nature of the object they cover. Like the dream of striking it rich, the art of the collective is hypnotic and absorbing.
If you want to see more work from Ghost of a Dream be sure to check out their exclusive feature interview in Beautiful/Decay Book 9. The collective explores Greed in this Seven Deadly Sins themed edition.
The art duo of Yarisal and Kublitz create smartly charming sculptures and installations. The pieces, often created from household materials, are each emboided with a subtle subversiveness. From a vending machine filled with glassware to self filling and popping balloons, the duo’s pieces transform familiar objects into characters of ironic scenes. Through their work, Ronnie Yarisal and Katja Kublitz encourage a fresh perspective of the banal through sculptures that look like the punchline to existential jokes.
At times called ‘performative sculpture’ Swiss artist Victorine Müller combines sculpture and performance art to intriguing effect. Her large but airy PVC sculptures stand ghost-like, glowing in the light and disappearing in the shadows. Müller herself sits or stands peacefully inside the sculpture. The title of her most recent exhibit “Wild at Heart” sheds some light onto her work. Müller temporarily inhabits the inside of an animal – the guts, the heart, the womb, the soul. Though simple, each performance connects easily with the viewers communicating, as Müller says “something that is not said and cannot be said, but that is.”
The 9 Worthies is a series of sculptures produced by art project Salão Coboi. Each sculpture highlights pieces from the autumn/winter 2012 fashion collections…as worn by polymer resin monsters. The creatures model clothing from brands and designers such as Maison Martin Margiela, Jil Sander, Raf Simons, ACNE and Paul Smith. Sculpted, hand painted and signed by Salão Coboi, each piece is part of an edition of twenty.
Salão Coboi (Portuguese for Cowboy Salon) is the personal project of artist Apolinário Pereira. Originally, the project began as a “collective that was born in 2009 two days after Michael Jackson’s death in the European Wild West (Portugal)”. Pereira now operates Salão Coboi as a solo project.
Chinese artist Qie Zhijie is known for working in mediums as diverse as calligraphy to performance art. Much of his work, though, is tied together by a subtle mischievousness. These two sculptures constructed by Qie, Oil Can Dragon and Cash Cow, are no exception. Both sculptures are entirely built from skillfully cut oil barrels. Considering the dragon and the tree are both symbols strongly tied to the natural world it’s clear Qie’s choice of using oil barrels wasn’t a trivial one. In Cash Cow, an imposing tree of six stacked oil barrels, Qie contrasts birds perching on boughs and cut from metal lids with an airplane high its branches.
Sculptor Loren Schwerd documents the wreckage hurricane Katrina left behind by building artwork from it in her series Mourning Portrait. While in New Orleans shortly after the storm Schwerd came upon the flooded St. Claude Beauty Supply shop, much of its inventory spilling out on to the sidewalk. She uses the human hair extension she picked up off the curb to build what she calls “commemorative objects”. Each piece is a “portrait” of a building in various stages of deterioration. The images of dilapidated homes give an indication of the massive amounts of damage from the storm while the hair alludes to the human loss. Schwerd explains her use of the human hair extensions in her work this way:
“The portraits draw on the nineteenth-century tradition of hairwork, in which family members or artisans would fashion the hair of the deceased into intricate jewelry and other objects as symbols of death and rebirth and remembrance.”