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Installation view of Agustin Fernandez: Paradoxe de la Jouissance at the Mairie du 4e arrondissement (photo by David Zemanek)
PARIS A visceral, hyper-sexualized sensibility runs through the extravagantly stylish oeuvre of Cuban artist Agustin Fernandez, who resided here from 1959 to 1968 and died in New York City in 2006.
The power of plucky erotic fantasies and sexual innuendos, Fernandezs leitmotif, often supersedes respectful social significance, so one aspect of Fernandezs inventive art is forever going to be libertine, even when tempered by our understanding that the dominance of the straight western male posture is no longer unquestioned in art. Gender is socially (not naturally) constructed and, when recognized as a fluid concept in art, defies easy recognition. Needless to say, nothing is less certain in art than gender, and though irreverent works like Yoko Onos cheeky film Four (1966), Valie Exports Action Pants: Genital Panic (1969), Kembra Pfahlers Wall of Vagina (2011), and Betty Tompkinss Fuck Paintings may suggest otherwise, many women feel there is something deeply feckless, if not downright alienating, about reducing the human body to its isolated sex parts. Not so in Paradoxe de la Jouissance (Paradox of Pleasure), the chutzpah-packed exhibition of Fernandezs controversial late work insightfully curated by Jeanette Zwingenberger at the city hall of Pariss fourth arrondissement....
Photograph from The Earth Is Only a Little Dust Under Our Feet ( Bego Antn, courtesy Overlapse)
In her exploration of magical beliefs in Iceland, Bego Antn visited a home for the elderly where a group of residents forecast the weather based on their dreams, and the house of a man who snapped a shot of a lake monster. The Spanish photographer created portraits of the men and women who claim to see elves and trolls, and documented Icelands otherworldly landscapes of ice, mountains, and towering rock formations, over which the aurora borealis glows like a supernatural aura.Cover of The Earth Is Only a Little Dust Under Our Feet (courtesy Overlapse)
Im not a dreamer, but I do believe that every reality deserves to be examined and that there can be an intermediate world between reality and imagination, Antn writes in The Earth Is Only A Little Dust Under Our Feet. The book, out now from Overlapse, is part storybook, part monograph, with Antns photographs from her journey around Iceland alongside the tales she collected. Rather than attach each photograph to a specific story, theyre presented separately, and connected by an index of symbols. This makes it a little confusing to navigate, yet the book is less a narrative than it is a meditation on the blurry boundary between the known and unknown.
Using high-voltage electricity, Evan Blomquist and his father have been burning fractal patterns into wood slabs that will eventually become furniture. Its much easier to understand when you see the videos and pics below but it certainly makes for unique and interesting works.
The father and son work under the name Electrostatic Wood Creations, and they have made everything from live edge coffee tables to coat racks and coasters. Theyve even filled some of the fractal patte...
Michle Lemieux, Here and the Great Elsewhere (2012) (all images courtesy Sooean Chin)
Developed by husband-and-wife team Alexandre Alexeieff and Claire Parker in the 1930s, pinscreen animation is a painstakingly labor-intensive technique that creates lyrical black-and-white animations. The pinscreen is a white board pierced by thousands of tiny pins, and lit from the side. Animators use objects to push groups of pins through the screen at various depths, with the shadows cast by the pins producing a wide range of tonal gradations depending on how far they protrude. The results are photographed one frame at a time. Created completely by hand, the analog process yields a warmth and idiosyncratic quality hard to reproduce with digital technology.National Film Board of Canadas pinscreen
This Thursday, Echo Park Film Center will screen a selection of short films made using pinscreen animation from two Canadian animators. (The only known working pinscreen is owned by the National Film Board of Canada.) Curated by Sooean Chin, the program will feature three films by Jacques Drouin including Mindscape (1976) in which a plein air painter walks through his canvas into a surreal psychic landscape; and Here and the Great Elsewhere (2012) by Michle Lemieux, a philosophical search for meaning in four acts, in which the pins take on a life of their own.
When: Thursday, June 14, 8pm; doors 7:30pm
Portrait of Dom Sylvester Houdard( 1964), taken at Signals Gallery in London ( Clay Perry, England & Co. Gallery, London)
In the 1960s, Dom Sylvester Houdard, a Benedictine monk who lived most of his adult life at Prinknash Abbey in Gloucestershire, England, would sneak off on weekends to London, where he participated in the emerging concrete poetry scene. This backstory is certainly alluring and unusual, and upon learning it at his current show at Lisson Gallery, one scours the works for signs of religious piousness.
Though they are littered with references to god and prayer (prayersticks (1969); the jesus christ light and power company inc. (1971); RED God (1967), to list a few), Houdards texts drip with humor more so than traditional religious devotion. (He called them typestracts, concrete poetry created using a typewriter, and laminates, collages of magazine words sandwiched between laminate paper.) And while clever, his works are also sincere. Houdard spent time in Asia while serving with the British military and was deeply influenced by Eastern philosophy. The geometric shapes, centered and minimal compositions, and simplistic color choices are balanced, beautiful, and even utopian. His color palette of mostly blues, reds, and blacks evokes Mondrian and the De Stilji artists who used abstraction to elevate their artwork towards the spiritual. To be creative through the arts means that you are actually responding to your inner spaces, notes Charles Verey, biographer and scholar of Houdard, in the accompanying catalogue, so theres a very close connection actually, between spirituality and the spirit of creativity....
...and because I save a small dark corner of my heart for
anything this blatantly Giger-ish, here's a recent gameplay trailer
for October-due game SCORN
New York City is sometimes affectionately (or disaffectionately) referred to as a concrete jungle, but for Los Angeles-based artist Matthew Grabelsky its more of a big cageless zoo. Using the New York City subway system as the setting for his work, Grabelsky paints surreal portraits of people who are seemingly normal from the neck down, but who have had their heads replaced by animals, both wild and domesticated.
Having grown up in New York and being fascinated by the imagery of Greek mythology as a kid, Grabelskys paintings are an exploration of human nature and of the way that animals represent various parts of the human subconscious. The characters are symbolic of the kinds of thoughts that lie under the surface of peoples minds, and they reveal that the most extraordinary can exist in the most ordinary of everyday settings, the artist told Prohbtd in an interview. This theme is communicated through the juxtaposition of these ostensibly irrational images with otherwise completely mundane scenes. My idea is that my creatures are not original but are ultimately part of a much larger cultural continuum.
Since graduating Cum Laude from Rice University in 2002 with a BA in Art and Art History (and a BS in Astrophysics), Matthew Grabelsky has shown in dozens of group exhibitions and solo shows around the world. In 2017 he was tapped by electronic musician Moby to paint an album cover featuring a father cow reading a book to his calf. To see more of Grabelskys work, follow him on Instagram.
Chowaniec Projectss Stardust Travel Agency (image courtesy Alex and Chris Chowaniec)
From alternative art schools and more traditional academies to online tutorials and independent workshops, theres no shortage of ways for the aesthetically inquisitive to learn how to make art today. But few experiences can quite match the eclecticism and delight of BombPop!Up, an artist-run series of events now in its third iteration, taking place this weekend at the National Academy of Design.Caroline Wells Chandler and Jennifer Coates, The Swing (2018), from their current collaborative exhibition at Crush Curatorial (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)
Under the guidance of National Academician David Humphrey, the weekends offerings will include crash course presentations an...
With her series Sirens, Rachael Talibart continues to elevate wave photography to an artform. Working with high shutter speeds, the English photographer freezes water in time, immortalizing each powerful drop. Her passion for stormy weather was shaped by her childhood on the south coast of England, and her sensitivity in capturing waves has made her a premier outdoor photographer.
Ongoing since 2016, Sirens sees Talibart photographing waves at just the right moment. Each frame is titled after a mythical sea creature or Norse or Greek god. In Loki, an alien face appears in the waves, bringing the Norse god crashing down on the viewer. While at other times, the form of the wave itself recalls the god after which it's named (e.g. Medusa).
As a constant source of inspiration, the ocean continues to push Talibart in her photography. For me, the ocean will always be a potent source of inspiration, Talibart shares. It makes small, unimportant things of us all yet, at the same time, it is exhilarating and profoundly life-affirming.
Talibart will bring her Sirens series to the Brighton Photography Gallery for a solo exhibition opening in September 2018. Her book Sirens is also available for purchase via her website.
The light was departing. The brown air drew down
all the earths creatures, calling them to rest
from their day-roving, as I, one man alone,
prepared myself to face the double war
of the journey and the pity, which memory
shall here set down, nor hesitate, nor err.
Reading Dantes Inferno, and Divine Comedy generally, can seem a daunting task, what with the books wealth of allusion to 14th century Florentine politics and medieval Catholic theology. Much depends upon a good translation. Maybe its fitting that the proverb about translators as traitors comes from Italian. The first Dante that came my waythe unabridged Carlyle-Okey-Wicksteed English translationrenders the poets terza rima in leaden prose, which may well be a literary betrayal.
Gone is the rhyme scheme, self-contained stanzas, and poetic compression, replaced by wordiness, antiquated diction, and needless density. I labored through the text and did not much enjoy it. Im far from an expert by any stretch, but was much relieved to later discover John Ciardis more faithful English rendering, which immediately impresses upon the senses and the memory, as in the description above in the first stanzas of Canto II.
The sole advantage, perhaps, of the translation I first encountered lies in its use of illustrations, maps, and diagrams. While readers can follow the poems vivid action without visual aids, these lend to the text a kind of imaginative materiality: saying yes, of course, this is a real placesee, its right here! We can suspend our disbelief, perhaps, in Catholic doctrine and, doubly, in Dantes weirdly officious, comically bureaucratic, scheme of hell.
Indeed, readers of Dante have been inspired to map his Inferno for almost a...
Recently, people in Japan have been coming up with clever new ways to bring age-old customs into the modern age. In addition to products like the ice cream katana and minimalist kimonos, this trend has also inspired Isse Ichidai Jidaigumi (Once in a lifetime, on a big bet), a one-of-a-kind club that reimagines samurai sword skills as a theatrical means to pick up trash.
Each member of this unique group is fittingly dressed in an old-meets-new outfit: a traditional Japanese robe and a modern trilby hat. While clad in these eye-catching ensembles, Isse Ichidai Jidaigumi members roam around Tokyo and Hokkaido, stopping only to simultaneously show off their sword skills while collecting garbage.
Employing the arcs, swings, and slashing motions characteristic of traditional samurai techniques, Isse Ichidai Jidaigumi members use tongs to gather the litter. The trash is then placed into a basket, which is usually carried on one person's back.
In addition to these street-based spectacles, club members also showcase their sword skillsas well as their singing talents and dancing abilitiesat various events. One branch of the traveling troop of environmentally-conscious Samurais has even reportedly recorded an album, featuring a surefire hit titled Trash Time.
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