Have you ever wondered what a modern day Bacchus would look like? Or where Hercules and Hera would make out if they lived in a city? Well now you get to visualize it thanks to the imagination and talent of Ukrainian art director Alexey Kondakov. In his series The Daily Life Of Gods, he has photoshopped different classical gods, nymphs, angels and cherubs into various settings and locations we are all familiar with in our age.
We see Romans who sit in the middle of subway stations wearing laurel wreaths and playing the harp, like it is just another ordinary day. A forlorn damsel sits in diner pining over a lost lover, drinking a hot cup of coffee. A scantily clad couple make out on a sidewalk, in the dim street lamp light, surrounded by nosy cherubs. The different scenarios Kondakov has created are oddly surreal. Although they are far fetched, the scenes are not too unfamiliar. The figures, who would appear graceful and ethereal in Renaissance paintings, are, in their new settings, distasteful or tacky. The groups of these mythical figures are almost like drunken party tourists in any modern metropolis; looking like they are causing trouble and up to no good after a Friday night pub crawl.
Kondakov talks about his project a bit more:
….Then I thought, ‘What if I invite these [gods] into our reality and imagine they are on streets of modern Kiev?’ Then I wanted to transform a noisy company of cheerful kids who gathered to spend time together in the city or go to the movies. And in these heroes I saw the work of other artists. ….My project is about life. I really want to avoid talking about the social commentary. (Source)
But however they may seem, Kondakov’s fictional scenarios are definitely amusing, entertaining, and perhaps let us see the street dwellers of our own cities in a different light. (Via We The Urban)
Cristopher Cichocki creates odd interventions with the environment around him, often times using the simple gesture of coating items, taxidermy, dead animals with enamel and then photographing the works. Cichocki works out of the Salton Sea, whose unique environmental qualities and geographic location serves as his muse- he often recontextualizes the bizarre dead wildlife and abandoned, encrusted structures around him into surreal new viastas. Reminiscent of Robert Smithson’s earth works, but for a nuclear, toxic waste, environmental hazard-acclimatized generation.
Colin Henderson, a designer and illustrator, enjoys captivating the viewer through the use of bold coloring, shapes, and patterns. I was happy to sense that not only does he seem to absorb inspiration through classic video games, mainstream media (do I see Flava Flav in one of them? I think so!) and street culture, but the inspiration from various ethnic art.
An amazing photography project by Tiina Itkonen about his trips to Greenland. Here is a description of the project in the artist’s own words: Since the beginning of the 1990s, I have been searching for my own Ultima Thule, my place in the Far North. I was enchanted by the story of the Mother of the Sea and, in 1995, it inspired me to set off for the place where the story originated in Greenland. The lack of haste, the friendliness of the people and the silence of the glaciers compelled me to return to Greenland in 1998, 2002, 2005 and 2006.
Artist Janet Echelman has joined forces with global design firm Arup to create a magnificent sculpture, which is now hovering 365 feet above Boston. The sculpture is made up of polyethylene tied into half a million knots, the total weighing about a ton. In daylights it resembles a giant net but when night falls, it is illuminated in ways that echo the Northern Lights and give a new visual dimension to the piece.
Echelman’s craft is inspired by rope weaving techniques she picked up from fishermen during her time in India. In this piece, she has combined the functional aspects of a fishermen’s net and the complex, yet simple beauty of nature. The piece appropriately entitled “ As If It Were Here Already” reflects the way in which the piece is somewhat natural in its form, reminiscent of clouds, vines and even spiderwebs.
Her cocoon like sculpture is at the junction of the natural and artificial world which are in turn reinforced by the context of the piece: hanging above a major American city. The illuminated pieces of her sculpture change with the movements of the wind. Her collaboration with a group of engineers has also given her work a more technical, manufactured aspect. The combination craftsmanship, technology and art gives this piece a stronger voice in the sense that is also reflects what the city is made of. It gives a sort of supernatural aspect to the urban atmosphere and complements the night sky while fitting in perfectly with the city in the daytime, as if it were already there.
Dimitri Kozyrev’s paintings are captivating, to say the least. His color precision from plane to line and surface to sky balances the ephemerally abstract beautifully with a hardened environment. This compositional fracturing feels like ice cracking on the pond, disrupting the reflection or illusion of us and our structures, before we crash into a new reality.
This “crash” echoes of Constructivism or Futurism, with deep contemporary critique on not just the disruption of landscape during wartime, but maybe even more so, the distortion of self, identity, and technology in relation to art and activism as these terms relate to the avant-garde, painting, and intention in today’s milieu.
On this note, Kozyrev elaborates:
“I have titled this body of work ‘Lost Edge.’ I use the word ‘edge’ because I draw a comparison between the notion of the avant-garde in war and the art world. In the early 20th Century, the avant-garde was at the height of its importance in both realms. Now, however, I maintain that just as the concept of the military avant-garde has been “lost,” because of changes in methods of warfare, the avant-garde in the contemporary art world, has also lost its edge.
“The source material for this body of work is images of ruins of the once mighty fortifications of the Mannerhiem Line, built to protect Finland from the advances of the Soviet military avant-garde. Finland’s attempt was valiant and not in vain; this war and the lives that were lost in 1939 are largely forgotten. The fortification lie in ruins, and nature is slowly reclaiming them. Similarly, the ‘cutting edge’ of the contemporary art world seems to have become blunted. Viewers of the avant-garde work of many visionary artists of the early 20th Century were shocked, challenged and inspired by The Malevich’s ‘Black Square’ and ‘Fountain’ of Marcel Duchamp. Because of changes in society, like changes in warfare, it has become difficult for today’s contemporary artist to generate the same level of response without resorting to vulgarity.”
Like a lot of us, artist Yue Wu uses Instagram. He “likes” things on Instagram, as we’re supposed to, but takes it one step further. Everyday, he turns those “likes” into drawings. Coming full circle, he then Instagrams the drawing and tags it the source photos. This way, you can click through to the originals. He tags this work as #whatilikedtoday.
These quick, black and white ink drawings are a mash up of a day. They vary in subject matter. Some include what you’d expect, like architecture and animals. Others are more bizarre, including one that has a greco-romanesque statue wearing protective eyewear, and a dancing skeleton wearing a top hat and holding a cane.
The concept behind Wu’s drawings is relatively simple, but amusing. It also has me thinking about my own Instagram feed. We spend so much time looking (and sometimes mindlessly liking) photos. Wu’s drawings illustrate what stands out in the deluge of images. What would your #whatilikedtoday look like? (Via Booooooom)