Matthew Roby‘s junk sculptures are fun. They may not have any grand, deep, profound statement to make but they are well executed and are assembled with an interesting use of materials. It would have been easier to make this artworks in malleable materials but instead Roby has used cast resin, mixed metals and junk such as old machinery, scrap metal and objects from house clearances. It’s his use of these materials that interests me most. It’s these materials that inform the character of the piece – the will of the material playing its part in the final work.
208 total views, 0 today
Alejandro Jodorowsky‘s ‘Melodrama Sacramentral’ was a happening presented by his group, The Panic Movement at the Paris Festival of Free Expression in 1965. Inspired and named after the God Pan and influenced by Luis Buñuel and Antonin Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty, the group concentrated on chaotic and surreal performance art, as a response to surrealism becoming mainstream. And this performance set their stall out.
This film is a 15 minute edit of the four hour absurdist performance that is, quite frankly, impossible to articulate. You just have to watch it. Melodrama Sacramentral combined religious themes and violence and is both funny, disturbing, provocative, ridiculous, a work of it’s time, a surreal mind bender that has everything from naked performers convulsing to free jazz drum solos, a leather clad Jodorowsky slitting the throats of geese, taping two snakes to his chest and having himself stripped and whipped, there are naked women covered in honey, a crucified chicken, the staged murder of a rabbi, a giant vagina as well as the throwing of live turtles into the audience.
Like the Situationists in France Jodorowsky and his collaborators, Fernando Arrabal and Roland Topor, had by the early 60s, come to the conclusion that it was time to go beyond words, beyond talk. It was time for something more visceral, time to destroy the spectacle and wake people up to the reality of suffering and inequality in a world gone mad (in the same month of this performance the largest Vietnam teach-in was held at Berkeley, one of the seminal events in the history of the American anti – war movement and the beginning of a protest movement that would explode in 1968).
After this happening Jodorowsky went on to make the cult classic ‘El Topo’ – a psychedelic spaghetti western meets eastern spiritualism – in 1970 and The Holy Mountain in 1973. He dissolved the Panic Movement in 1973, after the release of Arrabal’s book Le panique.
189 total views, 0 today
Robert Longo has been a proponent of charcoal drawing for decades and was part of the underground art scene in New York during the 70s. Though he studied sculpture he always prefered drawing and his formal training has informed his practice ever since. The three dimensional qualities of his work pervading all his drawings over the last 30 or so years.
They’re pretty incredible drawings and even better when you see their actual size. Just to give you an idea of his subject matter I thought I’d include some examples from a range of series he’s completed over the last 30 years such as the explosive drawings of atomic bomb blasts from the ‘The Sickness of Reason’, massive breaking waves from ‘Monsters’, businessmen in suits from ‘Men in the Cities’, a great white shark from ‘Perfect Gods’, beautiful forest light from ‘The Mysteries’ and wonderfully rendered furniture from ‘The Freud Cycle’.
185 total views, 0 today
‘John Irving At Home’ is a short film by Director Shaul Schwarz who was invited out to the authors house to film him, talk to him and take a peek around the writers sprawling house. In the film Irving talks about a little about his writing process and his love of wrestling while taking us into his very own wrestling gym as well as the office where he writes in the old fashioned way – with pen and paper – in front of windows looking out onto the forested hills of southern Vermont.
Irivng says about his writing:
I can’t imagine being alive and not writing, not creating, not being the architect of a story, I do suffer, I suppose, from the delusion that I will be able to write something until I die. That’s my intention, my hope.
And while we’re on the subject of John Irving here’s an extract from a previous interview in which the writer was asked about his thoughts on the future of the book.
Here’s what he had to say:
If I were twenty-seven and trying to publish my first novel today, I might be tempted to shoot myself. But I’m 67 and I have an audience so I’m not especially worried about my future in the book business. But I think it’s much harder to be a young writer, a writer starting out today than it was when I started out, when my first novel, Setting Free The Bears, was published back in the late sixties. Here was a novel that wasn’t even set in this country, it was about a couple of Austrian students and it had a historical section which was easily half the length of the novel about the Nazi and then Soviet occupation of Vienna, not a very American subject.
I remember years later asking the guy who published that first novel if he would publish that novel if it came across his desk today, this was back in the 90s, and my old friend and editor and publisher, what I saw was, he hesitated too long. You know? He waited. He thought, “Oh, God, how do I answer this one?” And then he said, “Well, of course I would publish it today.” And I said, “No, you wouldn’t. I saw the hesitation.” And he laughed and said, “No, of course, I wouldn’t.” Very telling. And I think it’s a lot tougher to be a first novelist, to be an unknown novelist today than it was for me and so I worry about what’s going to happen with those good, younger writers. But I don’t think the book is in any particular peril, I think the book is going to survive
Via Open Culture
140 total views, 1 today
Erin Case‘s collages have been a real find. She’s an American artist whose won many awards for her collage work – that mesh old photographs and beautiful landscapes together to create a new image, a surreal juxtaposition – that harks back to old cinema posters, montages from a bygone era.
319 total views, 0 today
Motoi Yamamoto‘s Saltworks are an incredible testament to love, the artists love for his sister. He began using salt as a medium after his sisters death from brain cancer and since then the incredible installations – he makes in her memory – have been seen all over the world. Salt might seem to be a curious choice of material but in Japanese culture it is an indispensable part of the death ritual as it imparts purification to the body and soul.
Salt seems to possess a close relation with human life beyond time and space. Moreover, especially in Japan, it is indispensable in the death culture.
It is the role of salt in his culture and the nature of his sisters illness that led Yamamoto to begin creating temporary pictures of the brain out of salt. This journey of his, this attempt to reconnect with his sister, remember her through the process of work has led him to create amazing drawings which confront the viewer with the reality of death. Continue reading »
Continue reading »
180 total views, 1 today
Bartek Elsner, a German art director and designer, has made a series of sculptures using only cardboard. As you can see from the images above his work includes public street art, large scale sculptures of trees, birds and an odd looking internet device.
185 total views, 1 today
Roger Ballan’s photographs, from his recent exhibition ‘Shadow Land 1983 – 2011,’ are haunting, dark, strange, black and white images of people and places in South Africa and are reminiscent of the work of Diane Arbus and Shelby Lee Adams’ Appalachian portraits. I’ve never seen his work before – I came across it the other day while looking for something else – however the images have lingered with me ever since and so I thought I’d share them with you. They’re pretty disturbing, shocking even but Ballan manages to quell the exploitative elements of the portraits by lending a degree of empathy to his subjects.
Ballan has been shooting in monochrome for nearly 50 years, from his renowned documentary images of South African villagers to his recent work which he describes as ‘documentary fiction’ where the line between reality and fantasy is deliberately blurred, the images painterly and sculptural in ways not immediately associated with photography – extraordinary explorations of the psyche and its aesthetic.
Here’s what he has to say about his work:
I have been shooting black and white film for nearly fifty years now. I believe I am part of the last generation that will grow up with this media. Black and White is a very minimalist art form and unlike color photographs does not pretend to mimic the world in a manner similar to the way the human eye might perceive. Black and White is essentially an abstract way to interpret and transform what one might refer to as reality. My purpose in taking photographs over the past forty years has ultimately been about defining myself. It has been fundamentally a psychological and existential journey.
If an artist is one who spends his life trying to define his being, I guess I would have to call myself an artist.
193 total views, 0 today
Places Other People Have Lived Is A Wonderful Short Film That Explores The Relationship Between Memory And Place
‘Places Other People Have Lived’ by Laura Yilmaz is a wonderful short film that uses mixed media to explore the relationship between memory and place. This is clearly an autobiographical film as Yilmaz uses old photographs, family interviews and a variety of animation techniques such as stop motion, hand drawn, pixelation and rotoscoping to deconstruct the relationships which play out in the various rooms of the house her family called home for over 25 years.
Although it begins as a personal journey it very quickly broadens out into questions about our own histories and what happens to our stories when we leave those places behind.
It’s poignant, warm, thoughtful and makes one reminise and think about our own past.
157 total views, 0 today
‘Plastic Garbage Guarding the Museum’ is the latest work by Luzinterruptus, a Spanish art collective whose artwork I really like and have posted about before. The installation was made with 5,000 plastic bags filled with air, piled up in skips, lit within and was created for the Gewerbemuseum in Winterthur, Switzerland. The group exhibition, ‘Oh, Plastiksack’, was intended to highlight the fact that:
Plastic bags are found everywhere in the world; their useful life is fleeting yet they are almost indestructible. These feather-light, gently rustling objects have a versatile beauty. In addition to their use for packaging and carrying things, they have been adapted for a wide variety of other purposes. They reflect consumer behavior, advertise status, reinforce identity, damage the environment and narrate our cultural history. At the same time, they are a symbol of our global society.
287 total views, 0 today
Sculptor Patrick Dougherty made these incredible surreal tree houses, sculptures made out of wood, twigs, sticks, vines and any possible tree related materials he could find at the time. When I first saw the images I thought they were photoshopped but no, Dougherty has been making these mysterious dwellings for years.
240 total views, 1 today