The artwork Andrea Hasler if nothing else is a critique of consumerism. Her Burdens of Excess series resemble the strange blend of designer fashion and a slaughterhouse. Fleshy blobs bulge between straps and buttons nearly turning the high fashion accessories into bizarre creatures. Zippers and stitching even begin to seem like biological features. Still, our “natural” biological sides as human is a jarring contrast to ideas as contrived as fashion, luxury, even money.
The press release from her recent show at Gusford Gallery in Los Angeles states:
“Hasler’s work focuses on constructions of identity and collective desires, and is characterized by a tension between attraction and repulsion. The works in the Desire series, in particular, focus on the obsession of projections of affluence and glamor. Reworking designer bags, shoes, and accessories into organ-resemblant sculptures, Hasler’s works engage with the psychological aspects of consumerism, blurring the lines between what you are and what you must have.
Through the transformation of GUSFORD’s Melrose Avenue gallery space into an indulgent, glamorous shop, Hasler’s installation embodies the epitome of luxurious excess, and looks to a dystopic future, where branded organs may one day be the ultimate fashion accessory.”
Watch a video of her installation at Gusford Gallery as well as a short interview with the artist after the jump.
Designer Armin Blasbichler‘s work is often jarring. His series ORSON, I’m Home strikes a special chord, though. The series is composed of three “dining sculptures” created primarily from the bodies of various farm animals. While we may be more accustomed to farm animals adorning plates on the furniture, seeing them as taxidermy furniture makes for a surreal juxtaposition. The furniture confronts its users with the consumption it usually facilitates. Interestingly, for the series Blasbichler features a quote from professor and writer Don Slater: “In talking of modern society as a consumer culture, people are not referring simply to a particular pattern of needs and objects […] but to a culture of consumption.”
Compressed is a series of video work from artist Kim Pimmel. The videos all utilize macro lenses, time lapse photography, and magnetism. However, for Compressed 02 we find Pimmel’s mix as liquid. The video is filled with a simple landscape of soap bubbles and punctuated with red dye. A strange black liquid seems to navigate the network bubbles of its own accord, like black blood travelling through invisible capillaries. This black liquid is an exotic ferrofluid – a magnetic liquid. The ferrofluid travels the most efficient paths through the field of bubbles toward its invisible magnetic attraction.
You could say artist Aganetha Dyck creates her sculptures as much as she fascilitates them. Dyck uses honeybees to decorate these figurines. The bees create graceful lines and countours that seem compliment the existing shapes of the figures. Their honeycomb patterns don’t seem like strange additions but rather enhancements. Dyck begins her process with figurines, often broken or damaged in some way. Then collaborating with beekeepers and scientists, bees are allowed to add their distinctive pattern to each small statue. Dyck describes her process:
“To begin a collaborative project with the honeybees, I choose a slightly broken object or damaged material from a second hand market place. I choose damaged objects because honeybees are meticulous beings, they continuously mend anything around them and they do pay attention to detail. To encourage the honeybees to communicate, I strategically add wax or honey, propolis or hand-made honeycomb patterns to the objects prior to placing them into their hives. At least I like to think my methods are strategic. The honeybees often think otherwise and respond to what is placed within their hive in ways that make my mind reel.”
It’s difficult to tell if it is performance art, a design project, or just a weird way to date. However you classify it, graphic designers Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman have flung themselves into the project straightforwardly titled 40 Days of Dating. Exasperated with the New York City dating scene, the designers turned to each other. Each deals with the opposite problem – Jessica jumps in too quickly, Timothy’s reluctant to take the plunge. The two good friends decided to date each other for forty days – the amount of time often thought required to quit a bad habit. However, the dating project entails a bit more. First, there are six rules:
We will see each other every day for forty days.
We will go on at least three dates a week.
We will see a couples therapist once a week.
We will go on one weekend trip together.
We will fill out the daily questionnaire and document everything.
We will not see, date, hookup, or have sex with anyone else.
The daily dating adventures of the couple were then uploaded to their in fashionable design style. Would love and dating be redeemed or their relationship irreparably ruined? 40 Days of Dating was set to find out.
The series Like Everyday of Iranian photographer Shadi Ghadirian is powerful in its simplicity. She created the images shortly after marrying her husband, and indeed the series explores her concerns associated with being a wife as well as gender roles. In the series figures appear to be veiled in patterned cloth similar to the traditional Iranian Chador. The figure’s face, however, is obscured or replaced with a household item, often one associated with daily chores. Ghadirian says of her subjects, “My series is exactly like a mirror of my life and other women like me — my sisters, my friends, the women who live in this country.” Though the series specifically addresses Iranian women, the photographs capture more universal anxieties concerning gender roles – the anxiety that accompanies building an identity as a woman and a wife, navigating issues of power within a marriage.
There is something unsettling in many of the paintings of Alexis Rockman. His work typically depicts the natural world – wildlife of different sorts in locales as varied. The scenes are surreal as strange groupings of animals converge on a single canvas. However, some sort of order appears to be breaking down and a chaos not often found in nature seems to be gaining ground. Rockman’s paintings illustrate a wider ecological anxiety over our troubled world. In a way he uses his paintings as a form of protest. The work becomes a powerful expression of deep concern that is easy to feel.
Munich, Germany based Cory Stevens shoots architectural photography in a peculiar way. He abstracts the architecture by photographing a segment of a building and reflecting it in various ways. In some photos the reflection is duplicated, and in others its repeated many times as if in a kaleidoscope. All of the reflections merge seamlessly, though, as if it were one floating structure. The strange symmetry gives the buildings an almost organic quality as if it were about to divide and multiply on its own. In a way, they resemble viruses made of steel, cement, and glass.