Splendor And Power At The Origin Of Dark Ceramic Sculptures By Anne Wenzel

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Through dark and melancholic ceramic sculptures Anne Wenzel shares her views on the world’s fears and tragedies (natural catastrophes, bomb attacks, fear of millenarianism…)  She draws away the tradition of ceramic to create her contemporary and intense sculptures. The artist’s ‘modern day vanitas’ sculptures not only shake the core but also question the role of splendor and power within a deformed and vanished piece of art. Recently, Anne Wenzel has created two sets of sculptures: busts in ‘Damaged Goods’ and blossoms in ‘Attempted Decadence’.

In the first group of work, she uses the classic military bust and shiny dark brown tones of glaze to condemn the glorification of authority during times of war. She questions the fact that we worship emblematic figures that have caused violence and have damaged entire populations and their countries.
Power, destruction, heroism and violence, themes dear to the artist emerge from her strong historical awareness and political engagement; she sheds new light on the role that art plays in depicting them.

The glamour and glorification expressed in the sorrowful blossoms is raising intentional open questions that Anne Wenzel is not willing to answer for us. She wants the viewer to take a stand and ask: I am seeing this beautiful metaphor of greatness and beauty, but am I being manipulated? The purple and rust tones petals are liquefied, dripping over the structure that’s holding them. Turning healthy and fresh flowers into a devastated and agonizing dying bouquet, the visual creates a balance in the expression of abstraction and figurative art.

Anne Wenzel’s art pieces will be showing at the following events:
Emergent Gallery in Belgium until September 2015
Rijks Museum in Amsterdam until January 2016
Bonnefanten Museum in Maastricht until February 2015

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Aaron Draper Poignant Yet Hopeful Photographs Of The Homeless

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The Underexposed series illuminates outsiders of the world, homeless people of our streets. Aaron Draper has made the deliberate decision to literally put in the spotlight a dozen of men and women living on the streets, giving an authentic representation of what could happen to any of us. Not wanting to fall into the cliche of taking black and white photographs or insisting on the harsh features of his subjects, Aaron Draper is applying a commercial tone to the way he envisions their lives, giving the viewers a more positive imagery of scenes not so pleasant to usually watch.

That’s the reason the series has gone viral, the viewer is not in a position of guilt, he doesn’t need to feel bad. He is invited to share that special connection the photographer encountered when meeting his subjects. Inspired by John Steinbeck’s vision on dispossessed families struggling to carve their way into life, he spent a lot of time and money getting to know the personalities behind the facade of their humble lives. Using a camera strobe and a documentary effect, Aaron Draper wants to turn around the false perception one might have about homeless life. He says if he can only initiate that shift, his work will be successful in his heart.

The video below details the photography process of the Underexposed series and shows a passionate Aaron Draper at work. (via Trenf)

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El Anatsui Turns Bottles Caps And Tin Lids Into Expansive Morphing Tapestries

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A million little pieces stitched together shapes a large moving tapestry. The waves of the installation, similar to chainmail, create a voluptuous presence. Artist El Anatsui is mesmerizing our senses and attracting our curiosity. He designs from simple materials complex compositions, using all sorts of tools to merge modest means into powerful and impressive pieces. In between sculpture (for the structure) and painting (for the way colors drop from different angles), the delicate and monumental pieces cannot be categorized.

El Anatsui’s work emphasizes the fact that art is a sixth sense, an add-on and a value that’s indescribable. From liquid bottle caps, iron nails, driftwood or cassava graters the artist creates morphing mosaics that are hung up the walls of monuments and museums in major cities. Seen from far away, the meticulously assembled little pieces become an accumulation of gems. Each installation is non fixed and can be moved from one place to another without ever having the same appearance. Just like fabric, the piece is creased, folded and adjusted to its in-situ set.

The artist’s impact on one hand is for the viewer to reflect on obvious key topics such as consumption, waste and environment. The bottle caps or the tin lids that he uses represent simultaneously garbage and manpower, thinking of that while he creates helps him give a spiritual dimension to his art.
On the other hand, the pieces help make a connection between America, Africa and Europe. The fact that the installations are hung questions the part of a wall as sequestration, protection or deprivation from freedom.
“Artists are not dictators”, El Anatsui claims loud and clear next to his pieces. He doesn’t want to impose an idea because everyone’s point of view is valid.

The artist was awarded in April 2015 at the Venice Biennale with a Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. Watch the video below of one of the greatest artistic influencer amongst two generations of artists working in West Africa.

El Anatsui’s work is currently shown at Jack Shainman Gallery  until September 2015.

Axel Void’s Disturbing Paintings Of People Wrapped And Suffocating In Plastic

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People trapped in plastics. This is the theme of the 8 oil paintings by Axel Void for his series titled “Sehnsucht”. Forced or consensual wrapping? After examining the paintings for a minute, the debate does not seem so obsolete. Axel Void suggests an alternative explanation on how to consider these people ; they are pleased with their fate. The title of the exhibition translates as nostalgia; a wistful affection for a period in the past; implying the period of time the artist misses and which is called absurdism. Absurdism symbolises the tension humankind has created for himself, wanting to define the value life without ever being able to do so.

The dichotomy between the classic style of the paintings and the psychologic, almost psychiatric representation of the artist’s nostalgia leaves us disturbed. Moreover, the interpretation of the cellophane or plastic bag can evokes protection, eroticism or asphyxiation. Leaving us full of doubts about what will happen next to these people.
Axel Void highlights in a dark way  “the confusion and state of wellbeing within our basic necessities and longing for something else”.

This intermission in which those people are caught, some of them suffering, others patiently waiting is the state of mind of absurdism. For there is no explanation to how we all have gotten here and there is no logical reason to how we will get out of this state either.
The art of Axel Void is a picture of the society issues in a social and psychological way. He interprets in his paintings the stigma of what society is experiencing in response to a quest for answers that will have no ending.

Axel Void’s “Sehnsucht” series is currently showing at BC Gallery in Berlin until August 15th 2015. (via HiFructose)

US Military Drone Strikes Data is Used To Create An Artificial Killing Machine

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While sitting under a chair, fifteen toy guns shoot at irregular intervals into the void. The sound is loud, oppressant and the feeling intense. Jonathan Moore has us caught in the real time firing of drone strikes by the US military. The information is then printed in a receipt next to the installation informing of the date, time, location, number of death forecasted and actual number of death.

The “Artificial Killing Machine” interactive installation is built out of a printer, motors, toy cap guns, batteries and a control electronics which accesses every five minutes the public database of the US military drone strikes. The materialized data is allowed to accumulate in perpetuity or until the life cycle of either the database or machine ends. At first, the installation doesn’t appear frightening, its painted in white, symbol of innocence. The sound, however, is what starts to make the experience difficult. It becomes almost unbearable once the purpose of the art piece is understood. (For a better understanding please watch the video below).

Visual artist Jonathan Moore interacts with powerful significant data in order to question war, technology improvement and perception of death. He places statistics and data in a context that gives the opportunity to realize what is actually happening. The means used are playful and familiar, the toy cap guns and the receipts put us in an intimate territory; making the rest of the experience harsh and uncomfortable. (via Supersonicart)

Artist Noemie Goudal Recreates A Nostalgic And Fragile Landscape Of Powerful Buildings And Motionless Water

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Parallel worlds are familiar to Noemie Goudal.  She actually recreates them for us on monochrome photographs, using all sorts of artifice to convey our minds to her land of imagination. She connects pure subjects and abandoned sets, to recreate her vision.

In her “Observatories” series she builds models in paper and cardstock and unifies it in an empty landscape of water.  Evoking history and civilization, the stark monuments float like undisturbable icebergs, powerful and dominating the picture. The motionless water reinforces the concept of stability, making one with the buildings.By juxtaposing two pure existing elements in a same location,  the artist duplicates reality and enables the viewer to question the limitation of  reality and fantasy. “I don’t think that my pictures invite anyone into a fantasy world but rather a place made from the real that questions the fantasies, desires and fragility of the viewer.”

There is a feeling of nostalgia in Noemie Goudal’s pictures. As if we were to enter an abandoned site, a deserted battlefield. Time has stopped and here we are stuck in a two dimensional world, between an iceberg and its immobile water. The silence is palpable, anguish is nearby yet the situation is bearable. The notion of communication failure between landscape and human beings is another emphasis of the artist’s photographs. Despite the conception of familiar surroundings, a gap of misunderstanding can occur wherever we are. In order to travel into Noemie Goudal’s work, one has to first understand the creation process to move on to reflections of another type.

Susanna Bauer Hand Stitches, Nurtures and Embellishes Fallen Leaves

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For Susanna Bauer, a casual fall stroll can lead into a creative process. She transforms nature’s most fragile corpses into mini art sculptures. The leaves she delicately sews and crochets are brought back to life and hung off walls next to their fellow forest companions: pieces of woods and stones. With an astonishing dexterity she is able to roll, curve and assemble elements that were found dried and shriveled. She uses all of her concentration to operate on her findings. The artist takes the raw, emotionless leaves and patiently nurtures them, stitching back their wounds, unifying two different kinds of leaves together and taking care of the smallest details. Comparing the tenderness and tension of her work to the vulnerability and resilience of a human relationship.

She says she doesn’t work with nature but she collaborates with it. She respects flora, and her main will is to embellish the organic beauty that has fallen instinctively on her path. She closely examines how the fragile leaf, with no brutality, can be manipulated; and yet with a firm hand she pierces the dead element, making sure she leaves her imprint. Metaphorically, the work of Susanna Bauer is beyond interesting. To the eyes, it is a simple and precious vision, set in the immensity of a pumpkin toned abundant forest.

Susanna Bauer’s work will be exhibited at Salon Vert in Switzerland as part of a group show until August 2015 and at Lemon Street Gallery in Cornwall UK until September 2015.

Can Pekmedir Manipulates Boneless And Seamless Flesh To Generate Intriguing And Repulsive Mutant Faces

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The future predicts a change in the definition of gender as we know it. The new work of Can Pekmedir, a Turkish artist, could not fall at a better time. In his series “Bone Structure” he is examining how the human face would look like with distorted features and a seamless flesh.The result is intriguing and repulsive. The flesh and individual hair seen so close creates a feeling of discomfort. He manipulates photographs using an algorithm and three dimensional technology. Through 3D, the viewer has the freedom to examine the visuals, whereas when it’s in 2D, he is following the artist’s point of view.

Coincidence and failed experiences are at the premise of these artistic discoveries. Can Pekmedir is instinctively morphing recognizable body shapes to get harmony. “My studies are focused on reconstructing and deforming bodies by altering the physical conditions in which the entity exists and/or treating them as test subjects for virtual experiments”.
If these creatures are perceived as mutants, then in no time we can imagine being close to sci-fi and fantastic inhabitants populating the earth. The artist isn’t telling us a story, he is delivering a brutal reality of his artistic vision. We have the liberty to accept or reject it, but the fact that a change is yet to come in the way the human race will evolve is a crucial point to investigate. (via designfaves)