Feng Zhengquan, born in 1976, lives and works in China. His oil paintings place contemporary candy-like imagery of lipsticks, cosmetics, fruit, foliage, and creatures: all reminiscent of contemporary Asian pop culture, into old world spatial compositions– think Dong Yuan, to examine the abstraction of contemporary spaces or environments. How much of our own landscape history is virtual and how much is physical? The blurring of both is what draws us to these pieces regardless of nationality.
Ronit Baranga is an Israeli artist known for her bizarre sculptural works, which include a series of ceramic tablewares hybridized with human body parts: open mouths, protruding tongues, and gouging fingers. These strange, anatomical additions are incredibly detailed, so much so you can make out the the glistening taste buds and knuckle creases. While these pieces are both creepy and attention-grabbing, from a critical standpoint, their meaning may seem a bit elusive; our reactions to them are initially visceral. Speaking to this, Baranga writes:
“I would like that anyone who sees my work feels something – what they feel is not relevant to me, as long as they feel. I hope that the emerging feelings will cause the viewers to think about the ideas behind my work… The combination of ceramic cups with ceramic fingers represent an idea in which the still creates a will of its own, enabling a cup to decide whether to stay or leave the situation it is in.” (Source)
Baranga’s designs, then, grant inanimate objects a form of agency: the plates desire to eat, the finger-walking teacups seek to wander, and their self-awareness challenges the way we think about and interact with such objects. What they also explore is the way eros is incorporated into unexpected things. The parted lips and probing fingers — both of which are erogenous body parts used in sexual exploration — elicit erotic associations. However, there is also an element of revulsion: imagine a stranger’s hands digging through your food, recognize that the hungry mouths emerging on your plate are the receptacles for the unglamorous digestive process. Baranga’s works may arouse you, but they will also suppress your appetite.
Jon Hopkins released his fourth full length solo album earlier this year, Immunity on Domino Records. “The first sound on Immunity is that of a key turning, unlocking the door into Jon Hopkins’ East London studio. It’s followed by the noise of the door slamming, then footsteps, and then finally the crisp, clipping rhythms and pulsating bass of ‘We Disappear’ emerge, signposting the most club-friendly music Hopkins’ has made to date.”
I was able to catch Jon open up for Purity Ring the other night at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood and while it took the crowd a few songs to warm up to him, by the end of his set everyone was dancing along to his hypnotic beats. Jon recently remixed Purity Ring’s “Amenamy” and Megan from Purity Ring added vocals to his track, “Breathe This Air”, it would have been a great opportunity for them to perform together on stage, but that never materialized. They did however give out a very limited 12″ vinyl that had both tracks on it if you were one of the first 150 in the door.
Jon will be performing this coming Saturday, August 31st at MOMA PS1’s Warm Up in New York and will also be appearing later that night at the Cameo Gallery in Brooklyn. He’ll then head back to Europe for a string of festival shows. Check out the beautiful new version of, “Breathe This Air”, featuring Megan of Purity Ring and be sure to catch him at one of his upcoming shows.
These amazing lithograph prints are not only labor intensive and beautifully detailed, they are also playful and humorous. Artist Oddly Head has quite obviously spent a lot of time by himself cutting out images, arranging them into remarkable forms with funny narratives and transferring them into print. Working with mostly retro images, he cleverly fits his cut outs into a variety of silhouettes and shapes.
Taking advantage of their bright colors and pop aesthetic, Oddly Head creates eye-catching picture explosions. He turns a large collection of different guns into a radiating image, one that seems to be anthropomorphic and with it’s sights set on the viewer. In another print he has layered different cutouts of trains on top of each other, all rushing out from a black hole in the center of the picture, expressing some sort of urgency. Or in another, we see a gathering of women – all severed at the head and frozen in animated screams, focused on a woman in the center, as if she is the reason for their fear and horror.
With titles like ‘Hollywood’, ‘Licked’, ‘The Happiest Place On Earth When There Is No Tomorrow’, ‘Getting The Fuck Out Of Dodge’, Oddly Head’s prints are tinged with a cynicism as he questions the structure of systems around us. And what a beautiful way to do it. See more of his work in detail after the jump.
New York-based photographer Mario Zanaria started taking pictures when he was 12 years old and hasn’t stopped since. His work focuses on people, and his series Pianosequenza “a[n] homage to the contact sheet.” In it, one single image is composed over the course of one of these sheets. It’s fractured but coherent, and each assemblage reveals an alluring scene. Pianosequenza is an Italian word in cinema that translates to “long take” in English. “The idea,” Zanaria writes, “is to turn a part of a movie in one only single take, without cuts or re-plays of a scene. If everything is good in the scene than it can be taken, otherwise it will have to be taken again from the beginning.” He’s fascinated by the contact sheet, and says:
I like how they can tell stories that most often only the photographer knows. They have a very interesting double identity: an intimate relationship with the photographer, in which they are fundamental in the process of choosing the pictures that will survive the editing process, and a nearly non existent one with the public who will see the photographer work mostly only after the selection has taken place.
Zanaria’s series allow the contact sheets to be “the main and essential actor.” Without them, the image is not complete. (Via Blu)
In his series Soldiers’ Inventories, photographer Thomas Atkinson showcases the change in military kits of British soldiers over the course of 1,000 years, from 11th century to most recent days. His documentary starts with the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and spans throughout twelve other combats, including battle of Waterloo and the war of Afghanistan. The shift is riveting – from daggers to iPads carried alongside guns.
To gather his artifacts, Atkinson visited living history communities which use these collectives for battle re-enactments. His displays look like neatly organized puzzles and reminds of the established military order these soldiers faced every day. Atkinson says he would spend hours aligning the gear, starting with bigger pieces and filling in the empty spaces with smaller attributes.
“It’s a slow process, a bit like a game of Tetris – you place a few key items and then start to fill in the gaps. Sometimes you have to go backwards or start again because it isn’t working. I wanted to arrange objects in a way which would illustrate and give clues as to what they are – objects pertaining to food are grouped together, as are items which relate to the rifles and weaponry and so on,” Atkinson told DPreview.
Atkinson’s retrospective unfolds a great deal about the change in our warfare. First off: development in design which is best illustrated by the shift in armour: from colourful vibrantly colored vests, to camouflage. According to Atkinson, “the fact that certain objects recur is more fascinating than the ones that evolve“. Best examples of it being a spoon, helmet and something to kill the boredom with: from 16th century playing cards, to magazines and iPads. (via Wired)
The paper cut pieces of Wendy Wallin Malinow reveal the deeper goings-on of animals. Malinow’s pieces are cut to expose an x-ray type view of various forest and ocean animals. In addition to the bone structure, a meal is visible inside each animal. While playful, there is also a sad quality to her work. Malinow’s work reveals the nourishment and effort to needed to survive as well as the violence at times inherent in that. A squirrel has ingested some acorn’s while a wolf seems to be filled with the ghost of a red riding hood.
Everyones favorite chocolate wizards Lindt has just opened its newest – and highest shop (3,466 meters /11,371ft above sea level) on top of the Jungfraujoch on the Aletsch glacier, against the backdrop of the Bernese Alps!
What started as a friendly banter on Twitter between athletes turned quickly into the ultimate challenge when Swiss pro tennis player Roger Federer invited American World Cup Alpine Skier Lindsey Vonn to a game of tennis atop the Alps to celebrate the launch of the new Lindt shop. The winner would of course get the best prize of all, a stash of tasty Lindt chocolate to be eaten in one of the most spectacular places on earth! Watch the video and get ready to be introduced to the ultimate Chocolate Heaven!
This post is sponsored by Lindt.