In 1998, Argentinian artist Nicola Constantino created ‘Peletería Humana’ (Human fur Boutique), a window display with twenty mannequins showing off Nicola’s heeled shoes, dresses and handbags. These elegant designs were fashion forward in a peculiar way: all pieces were made out of real human hair and colored latex cloth which patterns and textures imitated human nipples. The material, reminiscent of real human skin. was a definite erotic but also sickeningly monstrous and abnormal characteristic that made many recoil in disgust.
The attractive yet repulsive pieces delineate the artist’s ideas about two highly addictive societal desires: expensive consumer goods and sex. By creating these garments out of human hair and cloth that reproduced the human skin, she entices the viewer to see, simultaneously, both desires in the same object. We can also say that her ‘elegant’, high end creations (all which are wearable pieces of art) play with notions of the natural and the artificial, ideas of identity in a consumer society, and the materiality of the human body in contemporary times.
Brazilian photographer Nádia Maria creates melancholic, visceral and nostalgic photography that resonates with her private life struggles and universal themes that are familiar to all, amongst them- anxiety, depression, confusion, and so on. The dark aesthetic of these photographs are not to be taken lightly. Contemplating about these will bring discomfort and unwanted past painful memories…it happened to me. However, Maria’s work is so hauntingly beautiful that can just can’t look away.
“It’s all about experiments, games and involvement with the camera, with the image, the feelings, with ourselves.”
‘Vacuum’ and ‘Perfume’ are the names of the two series of photographs that are shown here. Maria’s series ‘Vacuum’ was inspired by constant wars insides herself (and humanity in general). She brilliantly captures the essence of deep nostalgia and sadness, and eternal yearning for something more, or something different. Its darkness is not to be confused with complete destruction and agony, as her subtle feminine, delicate characteristics take on and leave us feeling hopeful. Similarly, ‘Perfume’ visualizes Maria’s mental state (post-partum depression) after having her first son. “It was a phase of deconstruction and transformation”, she says. (via IGNANT)
Men and women, young and old, you name it…everyone is included in Jedediah Johnson‘s unorthodox photography series: The Make-Out Project.
It all started in 2012, when Indiana native Jedediah moved to Chicago in order to complete an MFA at the Art Institute. During his graduate school years he developed The Make-Out project, a photographic series featuring the moment after making out.
For each image, Johnson puts his hands around the subject’s neck and then proceeds to the kiss (notice the trail of red lipstick), after the kiss he instantly snaps the subject’s reaction and condition.
The kisses vary in length and intimacy. My subjects are all aware of what I’m going to do ahead of time, but in the moment of the kiss anything can happen. The lipstick mark I leave on my subjects invites viewers to imagine the circumstances surrounding the kiss.”
The project revolves around the idea of collecting memories. Johnson is interested in cataloging and collecting people, specifically, keeping record of experiences. Johnson’s project is not just about kissing random people, rather, it is an interesting series of images that let is on very intimate situations. Can you tell what each of these subjects were feeling like after the kiss happened?
I guess we’ll never truly know, but it is this kind of cataloguing that gives us a chance to figure it out. (via Huff Post)
“Ideas win today in our society. […] I ingest, then digest. Art is really just a mirror of ourselves.”
A truthful quote that Desire Obtain Cherish (DOC) aka Jonathan Paul takes into account while conceptualizing his body of work. The pop sculptor, obviously influenced by Jeff Koons and Andy Warhol, combines street, pop, conceptual and appropriation art in order to create sculptural pieces that explore contemporary society’s ever-growing obsessions: sex, gender, drugs, commerce, media and fame.
Desire’s kitschy, yet critical work exposes “society’s inability to control itself as it examines the commercial promise of fulfillment and happiness that ends in dependency.” DOC employs an exaggerated and sarcastic outlook that might come off as cleaver but pretentious and judgmental, but never in a bad way. New Yorker art critic Benjamin Genocchio characterized DOC’s work as “not malicious [..] He is more like our social conscience, delivering up uncomfortable and unpleasant truths wrapped in the most beautiful and seductive of packages.”
Although a conventional artist in paper, DOC deviates from the stereotypical standards of “good taste” in art as his ideas are more in line with contemporary commerce and marketing methods rather than traditional artisan methods. (via ARTNAU)
Hawaiian artist Sally Lundburg is greatly influenced by her native land’s “history of ecological and social invasions and it’s shifting cultural landscape, as well as personal experiences of self-reliance, independence, isolation, and exposure to spirituality and faith.” She is a multi faceted artist, as she works with sculpture, photography, film and video to explore notions of identity and social dynamics.
On her recent stunning body of work, Epiphytes and Invasives (totem series), Lundberg creates sculptural objects that serve as a medium to further investigate and literally envision the social history of post-contact Hawaii and the diverse family lineages that make up Hawaii today.
These ‘sculptures’ are nothing more that milled longs and branches that have been “punctured with commercial pine woodworking plugs, rusty fencing stakes, upholstery pins, rope, and dried ma’o hau hele flowers”. However, it is the archival portraits that Lundburg imprints on them that, together with the organic elements, make this series a remarkable artistic endeavor.
Her works look simple, however there are reasons for each and every detail that she ads on her sculptural objects. It is important to appreciate and put further thought upon the juxtapositions of organic and inorganic materials, as well as her emphasis of trying to mesh these two opposites together. On her description of this series, Lundburg explains that Epiphytes are plants that grow on other plants, and in rainforests [known for its tropical conditions, something that is an outright connection to Hawaii) just about any plant can grow epiphytically. Her usage of organic tropical flowers, plants and Koa logs together with the archival portraits work symbiotically to represent the social history of post-contact Hawaii and its diverse yet close-knitted family lineages that make up Hawaii today.
Spanish artist Oscar Parasiego creates Diaspora, a photographic series that illustrates the transformation and adaptation of individuals who emigrate to other countries in search of a better future.
At that point, there is a transition between the person we have been so far and the person we are going to be.
Inspired by his own move to the UK from Spain, Parasiego uses photography in order to literally depict the varying feelings and states of mind of immigrants as they seek comfort and stability in a brand new countries. Each of these ‘portraits’ are altered in order to only depict a silhouetted, invisible outline of the subject, one that interestingly reflects the environment around them. Through this technique, we are to assume that this person has seamlessly become part of their new environment. Their invisibility,tough positive in some ways, is telling of their struggles to be part of something new while also maintaining the old and familiar. We can say that by becoming part of this new environment (by blending in and becoming ‘invisible’), he/she (the immigrant) risks loosing their ‘true self’ by assimilating to customs and enviroments that are not truly theirs.
Parasiego’s work is telling of his struggles while transitioning to his new home. His experiences, and his renditions of them, nicely encapsulate the experiences of many (myself included). I moved to the U.S from Argentina about ten years ago, and my experiences in the first few years of living in the U.S felt significantly similar to those rendered in these photographs. Feeling invisible whilst trying to fit in by assimilation were two things that were hard to live through. Thankfully this state of mind, slowly but surely, went away, letting me became visible for who I was and for who I became once I was settled in my new home. (via Feature Shoot)
Photographer Cyril Crepin creates an extraordinary, poignant collection of photographs featuring portraits of facial reconstruction patients within the confines of the hospital in which they were operated on.
With the help of Professor Bernard Devauchelle, a leading surgeon at the hospital in which these individuals were in, Crepin photographs these subjects in order to celebrate, but most importantly, accentuate these individuals’ self-respect, playfulness and courage regardless their ‘monstrous’ appearance after surgery.
“They want to be recognized as human beings. Contrary to what people might say about this series, it’s not meant to be obscene or voyeuristic. Obscenity is to ignore their humanity and their extraordinary courage.”
Crepin’s work is emotionally intense and it is by no means easy to look at. It is sad to say, but many people will have a tough time looking at these just because of the deformities. This consequence is tough to acknowledge, but it is true. It is hard to admit that many of us will be disturbed and disgusted by the appearance of these people, but it is this sole purpose that, I think, runs Crepin’s artistic fuel throughout the creation of this series. The rawness of his subjects’ gaze and the fearless aura they portray is powerful and inspiring… their brilliance transcend the normative ideas about beauty. Their humble controbution to Crepin’s work teaches us that everyone, no matter what they went through or how they look like, deserves a little self-praise and respect.
Commercial photographer Matthew Rolston had built a career on entertainment portraiture, advertising, and music videos until 2009, the year in which he started venturing off his usual gigs.
“My professional work is subject to tremendous agendas; everything I do is mediated by a group of people, even the creative work is usually mentioned in a contract.
His next project became something more fun, with a bit more creative freedom, and a lack of human subjects. Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits, a 224-page book, features more than 50 portraits of Ventriloquist dummies from then Vent Haven Museum. Rolston uses his commercial skills, a rather formal photographic approach, to create human-like portraits of these creepy yet endearing dolls. The photographer re-appropriates techniques from his past in order to create a “personal response to the emanations of humanity that come from these terribly evocative inanimate objects.”
“By employing the same techniques and emotional approach I would apply to a human subject, I believe I was able to portray these figures in much the same way. … For me these figures have a yearning quality. They speak through their eyes, since their voices—voices of their ventriloquists—are now long silent. I found them to be endearing, hilarious, tragic, even disturbing—sometimes all at once.”