Araki meets Teller at the OstLicht Gallery in Vienna

Jurgen Teller’s and Nobuyoshi Araki’s photographic works have met to create this new exhibition opening last night named Araki Teller Teller Araki at the OstLicht Gallery in Vienna. The pairing of these two photographers should bring together an interesting contrast, they are both known for their portrayal of the human body being placed into varying narratives but they both come from completely different backgrounds as photographers.



Irving Penn’s portraits of Hell’s Angels and his description of the experience.

In Irving’s Penn’s impressive book Worlds in a Small Room published in 1980 Penn personally guides the reader through his explorations through a selection of his natural daylight studio portraits. The majority of the work in this publication explores his travels throughout the world; Nepal, Cuzco, Cyprus, Morocco, New Guinea and Cameroon but right in the middle of the book we unexpectedly find Penn’s portraits of Hell’s Angels and Hippies taken in San Francisco in 1967. For what could quite easily pass as looking like an anthropology book Penn’s placement of the then contemporary subculture plays with interesting ideas about human adornment. Where Penn’s book could easily be considered an uneasy example of creating images that replicate us looking at people almost in a similar way in which we go to the zoo the choice of photographing what were then thought of as a threatening aspect of American culture exaggerates a notion of the unattainable that Penn created. Creating portraits of remote tribes in Cameroon would have involved an expansive amount of planning and travel to complete. However creating images of Hell’s Angel exist right on his doorstep. Therefore these images create interesting ideas of how threatening America at the time found this subculture and how unattainable they were thought of.

you can read Penn’s description of how he created these fantastic images here



Danny Fox’s favourite painting’s decade by decade

Danny FoxDanny Fox is a the self trained painter and friend of Sang Bleu living and working in London whose figurative paintings are not quite like anything else happening within painting at the moment. After his recent exhibition with tattooer Liam Sparkes in Paris we’ve spoken to him asking him to share with us one of his favourite paintings decade by decade over the last 114 years.



Asger Carlsen’s Disfigures

Although Danish-born artist Asger Carlsen works with a camera, one should not think of him strictly as a photographer. His work morphs and distorts images of the human figure like balls of clay, blending skin textures, bony protrusions, limbs, hair, and fluids into a seamless collage. Drawing on Surrealist conceptions of the body’s form, Carlsen has been quoted as saying that he hopes to destroy the notion of what the photograph is. Using heavy manipulation via Photoshop, his distortions toy less with the idea of the photo as a material object and more with the notion of an image being a document and the body as a material muse.

Photographs from his Canal series–his works are often named after the Chinatown streets in which he lives and works–combine pieces of clay with human body parts, the photographic subjects’ tactility hinting subtly at an existence outside the image. In interviews, Carlsen often speaks of the importance of his images’ maintaining an essence of reality. Carlsen, who began his photographic career as a newspaper photographer, says that the experience taught him the value of working with reality, and through it, by molding it, creating an image with a story. Although the figures he depicts are grotesque and unreal, he seems not to strive for formal effect or the tactile presence of the photographer-editor’s hand in the manipulation process; instead, he elects to include enough of a sense of  ”reality” in each image to suggest an objective documentation of form, or formlessness, a meditation on the human body’s shape.

[To learn more about Carlsen's work, check out his website. You may also view interviews from Vice and Glossom, and purchase his limited edition book of the series Hester here.]


Gabber is ours and its the best things that there is

 

There is a a kid of irrationality to the sub genre of hardcore techno music Gabba, a kind of ridiculous violence but simultaneously a safety in its certainty to how it will always escalate to a similarly excessive finish. The beats will gradually gravitate to an overwhelming quantity per minute resulting in a repetitively unavoidable sound which often verges on the absurd. This short documentary made in 1995 explores the incredibly popular Dutch Gabber scene by interviewing people at raves while they incoherently gurn and explain the importance of gabba in their lives.

The attendees of the raves associate gabba to their weekends in an almost religious way. The trance like dances that gabba produces with the help of ingesting copious amounts of drugs are presented to the viewers of the documentary through filming of lone dancers in sparse studios which creates some of the most visually fantastic scenes. The dances incorporate a sort of mania with hopping and and sprawling arms all created with a complete seriousness.

The documentary also presents a great portrayal of gabba’s distinct fashions. Shaved heads on men in an almost skin head style are paired with shell suits while women perfect their architecturally exact hairstyles, shaved at the sides with long high pony tails and pierced eyebrows.

The film brings up interesting ideas about how this subculture became commercial and how the devotees are unaware of how commercially viable their lifestyle had become as they fill venues of extortion capacity on a weekly basis. The documentary captures the essence of this subcultures before its real honesty, where it once had existed as a truly original cultural phenomenon the records labels and party organises soon understood how to cash in on [...]


Leigh Ledare – Double Bind / An Invitation

Mitchell-Innes & Nash Gallery

534 West 26th St

New York 10001

Known for perceived pornographic images of him and his mother, multimedia artist Leigh Ledare uses photography and found media to put together often provocative assemblages that attempt to map the socio-psychological relations within the formats of photography, language and the societal constructs which they dominate, namely media, and attempt to explore the relationsips that exist as their result; public and private, artist and subject. Two bodies of work are on show at the New York’s Mitchell-Innes & Nash Gallery: An Invitation, the culmination of the public half of a project in which the photographer was asked to photograph an “unidentified European woman with high-profile ties to political and media worlds”, put into context with enlarged pages of the New York Times from the day each image was made, and Double Bind, which saw Ledare take on an existing relationship, similar to that of his breakthrough project with his mother, travelling to a cabin in upstate New York to photograph his former wife who, then, made the same trip some weeks later to be photographed by her new fiancé, each work forcing us to question the societal boundaries we are inexorably tied to; legal, social, linguistic and sexual.

The exhibition runs until April 26th


Tattooing Reality

This selection of films named ‘Tattooing Reality’ shows the iconic  Ed Hardy talk about the roots of the tattoo shop Realistic Tattoo in San Francisco and the tattoo masters Greg Irons, Bill Salmon and Dan Thome. There is also a film showing Ed Hardy, Chuck Eldridge, Bob Roberts, Bill Salmon and Leo Zulueta discussing Realistic Tattoo in 1987 and an interview between  Don Ed Hardy and Phil Sparrow. The grainy footage hovering over tattooed bodies and fascinating conversations about the then vibrant tattoo scene in San Francisco are films of truly rich and important quality in regards to tattoo history and a very enjoyable watch if you haven’t seen them already.

Thank you to Occult Vibrations for uploading these films.