For Lost and Found, the photographer Will Ellis photographs objects collected from the deserted buildings, parks, and bays of New York City. Dating back to the first half of the 20th century, each recovered object is shot with the utmost care, regardless of condition or value. The artist’s long journeys in search of his discarded relics— traversing less frequented city spots with haunting names like Dead Horse Bay and North Brother Island— give historical and totemic meanings to each possession. Once relevant only to a forgotten child, a plastic toy shoe from the 1920s is studied under lights, archived by a seemingly objective lens, and repurposed as evidence of some imagined urban ancestry.
Ellis’s choice to incorporate animal bones into a few of the images strengthens the work’s genealogical impulse; a set of hospital keys, ripped from their locks and rusted beyond recognition, stands alongside a raccoon bone separated from its socket in time. Similarly, a horse bone from the city’s industrial age is visually equated with a pair of plastic doll arms; shot from the same angle, the eroded bone and muddied plastic occupy similar portions of the frame, each lit with expert precision.
As if part of a museum catalog, the series of 30 photographs provides a cohesive, if subjective, vision of history. Through the eyes of Lost and Found, the city’s children narrate its evolution, telling a visual story that begins with doll, touches on music book, and culminates in senior portrait. Ellis’s choice of a stark white backdrop and harsh lighting brilliantly avoids potential sentimentality; as the artist invites us into a distinctly nostalgic space, we are instructed to view the work with the utmost seriousness. Take a look. (via Feature Shoot)
Although We Were Once a Fairytale (2007) begins slowly, with Kanye West stumbling drunkenly around a nightclub, the short film offers strange but rare insight into the celebrity/artist/god’s psychological complexes in a totally strange and successful way. He accomplishes this by stabbing himself in a bathroom, and producing a rodent from his guts. One of the main criticisms thrown Kanye’s way (other than pointing to his spectacular ego) is his inability to express himself coherently, but in his collaboration with Spike Jonze, Kanye seems to accomplish seemingly genuine and recognizable sentiment.
At first all of your assumptions about Kanye are affirmed: seeing him act like a shithead around the club, pitching back and forth barely able to stand, he is almost too easy to dislike. It’s about halfway through, when he ends up in the bathroom alone, that things begin to change. After he stabs himself, the vulnerable and repulsive creature he extracts from his streaming red-ribbon viscera creates an inner layer of Kanye most people are perhaps even unwilling to concede to him. Depending on how you look at it, it could be as cheesy/naive Bound 2 music video, but it’s difficult not to respect Kanye for the attempt to bare something deeper even when he is bashed so vehemently by pretty much anyone. The film defies direct interpretations. You have a sense of what the rodent represents: something living within, curious and grotesque, but it’s difficult to make sense of his relationship to the creature when he hands it a miniature knife. The final shot of Kanye’s expression maintains the ambiguity of the event, and keeps you thinking about it long after.
Combine of Shapes is a series of paired images by Yooyoungkyu, unexpected combinations linked by either a visual or thematic commonality. The pairings allow the viewer to notice things in the images they may not have seeing them individually.
Brussels-based Hélène Jeudy consistently pumps out magical graphite drawings that never cease to dazzle the eyes with the banal and the demonic. From the kitchen to the pits of hell you will go, with your eyes being blasted by her beautiful tonnage. She recently, had a book released by POGO Books. Support. This. Lovely. Dream.
Amsterdam artist Chris Berens is an anomaly in the art world, an expert painter who does not use traditional media (he uses inks on photo paper rather than oils on canvas…and no digital or photographic elements whatsoever), but creates some of the most compellingly executed, enigmatic, and emotionally resonant paintings seen in a long time.
His work features a fantastical mélange of exotic creatures and 18th century imagery, floating in buttermilk colored clouds or silvery sea blues. Photo realistic, totem-like animals and distorted childlike people float like dreams through blurry surrealistic European cityscapes or drift on stormy seas on decrepit ships in a soft focus haze, shimmering as if in a fevered dream. It is almost shocking to look at, but in the gentlest of ways. See more of his works after the jump and on his site.
Sculptor Bruno Walpoth’s specific technique of wood working is a 400-year-old craft that originates from the Italian valley he grew up in. He has used this method, now removed from the religious context it originated within, for decades, in his creation of wooden sculptures of nondescript people, posed naturally. What has emerged is a body of work that is deceivingly realistic. From the photographs alone it is not always easy to tell that you aren’t seeing a real person; the pieces are teeming with life. He has become so masterful with a chisel and file that he can precisely replicate the curve and texture of human skin. When he is done the wood appears so absolutely smooth and soft, it could be mistaken as a model covered in powder. This is not accomplished easily, Walpoth has confided it often takes him two months to finish a life-sized sculpture. Some remarkable photographs have been taking of the sculptures placed in nature. One in particular, of a boy in shorts standing on a dock, gains such a hauntingly cinematic aspect, given the melancholy poise and demeanor of the sculpture. The common theme amongst the works is their meditative air; the pensive nature with which they stand, almost as if considering in which direction to begin moving once they break free from their eternal stillness.
Artist Kim Rugg’s incredibly meticulous artwork consists of slicing up and breaking down everyday sources of information, like newspapers and maps. Dissecting newspapers, she rearranges the words and letters, creating a new depth of meaning. She often cuts the letters out and places them in alphabetical order, throwing the message in disarray. If these newspapers were real, they may cause panic and mayhem, as they disrupt our normal access to worldwide information. Can you imagine if even online news from all countries suddenly appeared as Rugg’s newspapers do? Both her surgically cut newspapers and transformed maps deconstruct society norms of information and the restrictions our culture has placed upon them, and therefore us as well.
This London-based artists slices up maps and pieces them together again backwards, or purposely arranging the once solid land mass in a way that fuses together all elements of land, border, and ocean. She also creates her maps by hand, erasing borderlines and geopolitical issues that are so relevant in today’s society. Her recreations of man-made territories display a new topography; a world with no boundaries, where we all can live with no territorial restrictions. Each carefully incision made forms a part of the whole, redirecting your view to its small details. Rugg’s complex work invited you to investigate the information laid out right in front of you that is often overlooked. Other work of her that require our close inspection to really understand her subtle manipulations include magazines, comic books, and even cereal boxes. Her work can be found at Mark Moore Gallery in Culver City, CA.