Pavel Maria Smejkal lives and works in Slovakia. From 2009 to 2011 he created a series entitled Fatescapes in which the main subjects are removed from famous photographs and iconic images. What remains is the often eerie landscape in which the event unfolded. From Raising The Flag on Iwo Jima to Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston, these strange images are inherently important and memorable even though the central focus has shifted. In his own words: “In Fatescapes, I remove (using a classic tool of digital work today Adobe Photoshop) the central motifs from historical documentary photographs and the main subject of these motifs, human bodies. I use images that have become our cultural heritage, constitute the memory of nations, serve as symbols or tools of propaganda, and exemplify a specific approach to photography as a document of the historical moment. I explore their purpose and function, and I ask about the future of this magic medium, and about human existence. Aware that their authenticity is not unquestionable, I return to these key images after they have been reinterpreted numerous times from various perspectives, and by manipulating their content I explore their purpose, function, and future.” (via)
Although he was educated as an economist, Sebastiao Selgado understands the world most clearly in images, as demonstrated in his incredibly moving photography. His most recent series, Genesis, is his most ambitious and long-term project, spanning eight years as he visited 30 of the earth’s most pure and untouched sites. He was inspired to do the project because up until that point people had been the central subject of his work. He says that he “… wished to photograph the other animals, to photograph the landscapes, to photograph us, but us from the beginning, the time we lived in equilibrium with nature.”
His imagery is completely enthralling. It is obvious the time he spent for each one to capture just the right moment. The fact that his photographs are in black and white emphasizes their impact further, and creates a greater romanticism. What is truly incredible about Selgado is his investment that gives him such a great return in his artwork. For a while he was disillusioned by the world and his photography, having seen so much devastation as a photojournalist based mostly in Rwanda at the time.
Selgado returned home for his own health and sanity, to Brazil, where his parents had left him their land. It was almost completely cleared of the forest “paradise” it once was to him, and so he and a friend worked to replant the eco-system. This experience seems to have shaped Selgado’s view of the state of our planet as a whole. He has seen the atrocities we have inflicted upon it and ourselves, but he has also successfully restored a piece of it to its original strength and beauty. His images, therefore, are not caught in time as a momento of the world we were once a part of, but a reminder of what we might still participate in for the foreseeable future if we can recognize it as something worth reviving.
Clever advertising design firm in Australia.
As part of our ongoing partnership with Dailyserving, Beautiful/Decay is sharing Marilyn Goh’s article on Rob McLeod.
Even fanatic football fans would be hard-pressed to remember a Glaswegian football team called Partick Thistle, a perpetual underdog in First Division Scottish Football League that’s oft-joked about because of their non-winning ways. Getting behind a team that tries every week but gets nowhere requires no small measure of faith, an action probably synonymous with holding out hope in the long term for that which may never materialise. Supporting Partick Thistle is a show that utilizes the metaphor of supporting a losing football team that is akin to the nature and process of painting, a medium which Glasgow-born artist Robert McLeod believes most people think should be dead and buried.
McLeod’s hardly naive about this realm – he recognizes all too well the usefulness of painting in what he does – yet he remains a steadfast bearer of its gilded history and value, practicing it, then teaching it. He came to New Zealand 40 years ago wanting to continue where abstract artists such as Willem de Kooning and Alan Davie left off, looking to break away from the rigid formality of his art training in Glasgow. But after 30 years of studying minimalism and abstract expressionism, McLeod noticed a part of Micky Mouse’s ears in an abstract work and turned his practice to exploring the figurative. Most of the work in this show comes from the past decade, comprising mostly three-dimensional paintings on plywood, where layered forms and colour combine to create a motley crew of cartoonish figures that are loud, grotesque and irreverent.
Steven Tabbutt’s rich paintings of refined hairy ladies, robot beasts, and spotted monsters are absolutely amazing. I can get lost in his works for hours and get transplanted to a mysterious world where nothing is what it seems.
Sabine Pigalle’s Ecce Homo series.
” As Christ’s representation is deeply rooted in the collective unconscious, “accessories” are not needed anymore to evoke it. However, the body is “trans-substantiated” into a feminine one. Emaciated subjects illustrate a concept which is more philosophical than liturgical. These abstract crucifixions reflect the powerless situation one faces when confronted with death.” (via i heart my art)
X-Ray photographer Roy Livingston’s latest series is at the junction of retro and modern. X-Ray Visions is series of electric x-ray photographs which radiate neon colors. His series is composed mainly of photographs of toy robots and toy guns brings a sort of eerie atmosphere to the compositions regardless of the heavy use of neon. The fact that the inner workings of the objects are visible makes them all the more captivating and fascinating to look at. Being able to see the cogs and gears of the toys in the photographs gives them a sort of scientific feeling.
The process behind theses colorful x-rays is also interesting in its own respects: Livingston starts off with black and white xrays which he then edits digitally ino order to achieve the final neon result. Livingston is not only about the final product of his work but also focused on the process itself and what he refers to as an “artistic joyride” .
X-Ray visions is the product of a well thought out process, fueled by Livingston’s fascination for industrial design and the digital manipulation of photographs. His combination of both old and new media makes for a captivating project that speaks to the audience, not only with regard to the process but also the symbolic nature of retro-futurism and the neo 80s mindset.