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.
Andrea Petrachi (aka Himatic) creates android-like sculptural figures out of miscellaneous found objects like toys and cameras. They remind me of those creepy doll things that the kid from Toy Story put together, with a little RAMELLZEE “Letter Racer” style thrown in. Petrachi describes his work as a “symbol of our out-of-control desire to buy things”. There definitely is a lot of “stuff” that we go through that just sits around forever after we buy it. In a way, this project gives forgotten items a second life. They’re also cool to look at. Andrea Petrachi is based in Milan. (via)
Street art has become especially exciting and unpredictable over the last several years. However, the last place many would expect to find it is on the water. The New York based street artist SWOON designed three sea vessels built from salvaged material. The “flotilla” sailed from the coast of Slovenia to Venice, Italy. Though, definitely not the street SWOON effectively brings an urban aesthetic to sea. Photographer Tod Seelie was along for the ride to document the trip. The photographs and wild journey are as amazing as the vessels themselves. The raucous mash up of materials perfectly match the crew and set the atmosphere for what was certainly a wild ride.
Hedi Xandt is a multidisciplinary creative who has a formal graphic design education, but doesn’t see himself limited to this field – his work takes the form of fine art paintings and sculptures. Xandt’s three-dimensional pieces are visually powerful and conceptually compelling. They feature busts and skulls composed of gold-plated brass, polymer, distressed black finish, and marble. The gold acts as an accent that adds an element of terror to the work, such as giant spikes or dripping blood.
The skull and bust are symbols of both art and humanity, and the aggressive nature of Xandt’s sculptures makes it appear as if he is rejecting these classical notions. The sleek and stylish “killings” coincide with his philosophy about creative spirit. Instead of mastering one thing and sticking to it forever, Xandt favors a more fluid approach, writing:
I think that the main and most important aspects of my work are creativity and concept. Being permanently on the experimental side of thinking and creating, I seek to add to my skills with every piece I begin. Learning-By-Doing, this awfully overused term, applies to me just as well as Doing-By-Learning. The unison of knowledge and skill provides me with inspiration and a broad foundation to be used as a starting point for any kind of project. (Via Inkult)
Inspired by the futuristic animation of Katsuhiro Otomo‘s 1988 film, Akira, Gianmarco Magnani’s latest prints bring a third dimension to an otherwise flat medium. His two part series, “Silence Television”, draws from the linear style of traditional Japanese anime, and maintains a simliar graphic appeal. In his first set of four illustrations, entitled “Riders and Villains”, Magnani hoped to create a tension between good and bad in his riders. (As he pointed out, good without evil is just uninteresting). His second set, “The Forgotten Monarchy” marries a modern aesthetic with vestiges of the styles of 16th century European monarchies.
Kotryna Zukauskaite‘s mixed media collages contain a variety of playful compositions, layers, colors and textures. A mixture of portraits, drawings and abstract landscapes, Kotryna uses the many variety of mediums to portray dynamic illustrations.
A woman sits alone beneath hundreds of dangling scissors; they teeter above her, metallic mouths open and sharp edges facing downwards. Calmly, she sews. As part of 2011’s The Mending Project, the performance artist Beili Liu put herself in this position, asking audience members to cut away portions of a large piece of fabric and patiently threading it back together.
In juxtaposing the feelings brutality and danger evoked by the scissors with the softness and careful mending of fabric, the performance symbolizes the cyclical process of violence and healing. The scissors are ominous, and yet Liu performs patiently. The work relies upon a symbiotic relationship between destruction and creation; without the audience’s cutting of the sheet-like fabric, the artistic process would not take place. The work is uncomfortable and dangerous, but at the same time, Liu’s re-threaded tapestry, which begins to cover the floor, is strangely comforting. Ultimately, the solace of the artist’s concentrated mending rivals the aggression of the scissors.
The Mending Project also centers around ideas of women in art. Upon until Judy Chicago and still to this very day, women’s craft work has been scoffed at and rejected by museums and galleries. Liu’s work helps to change all that; here, she embraces sewing as “a woman’s work […] a traditional woman’s craft,” and she lends the art form an unexpected hardness and edge. In this picture of femininity, the woman and her work aren’t weak but powerful; through her careful process, she works with the notion of danger and transforms it into something unexpected and, in many ways, not frightful. In her own words, she, the woman, “is the one who […] creates,” finding resilience and fertile power within an unsettling context. (via This is Colossal)
Stefanie Klavens has a love for 20th century pop culture and Americana. In her articulate photographic series, titled “Vanishing Drive-Ins,” Klavens documents the disintegration of the American drive-in. Once a popular social and entertainment aspect, it has been slowly disappearing from the United States. As Klavens explains, “The drive-in has suffered the same fate as the single screen theater. Before World War II the drive-in was a modest trend, but after the war the craze began in earnest, peaking in popularity in the late 1950s and early 1960’s. Drive-ins were ideal for the modern family, everyone jumped into the car, no babysitter needed. ‘Car culture’ had officially arrived as a dominant force on the American scene.”
Despite the rapid popularity of the drive-in, they simply could not stand the test of time. Klavens attributes their decline to the evolution of technology and altered views of land: “Over time, changing real estate values began to have an effect on the drive-in. Land became too valuable for a summer-only business. Widespread adoption of daylight saving time in the mid 1960’s subtracted an hour from outdoor evening screening time. The decline was further hastened by the advent of VCRs and home video rentals. In the 1950s there were over 4,000 drive-ins nationwide. Today there are fewer than 400.”
These photographs, with their heavily saturated colors and blurry prolonged exposures, showcase some of the few drive-ins that are still functioning with a romantic nostalgia. The structures and signage may be antiquated, but the car types and models are a dead ringer for our era.