DISTORTIONS – ANDRE KERTESZ

Andre Kertesz is the Hugarain born photographer who created these important photographs in the 1930s. Fascinated by how an arbitrary image could become emptied of a reality that we are familiar with by simply using something as mundane as a mirror or glass, these images were truly ground breaking during their inception.

 

They way in which Kertesz manipulated the female body into some frightening was not particularly on purpose but more played on the then contemporary new ideas by Freud and the uncanny. Art no longer captured the beauty of the female form, but disfigures it to a kind of ‘negative aesthetic’ ideal. Freud claimed that the uncanny can lead us back to what is known and familiar. However the images created by Kertesz do not comfort the viewer in anyway, when seeing an image of a perfectly normal foot the eye will travel upwards to an engulfed thigh of abnormal proportions creating the image of the woman into something un-relatable to what we expect.

These images can also be read as a reaction to how normalised it was within art to see the female naked body as a harmonious and beautiful form. The way in which the women’s bodies are relayed to us in these photos shies away from normalised concepts of the erotic and sexual.

However it obviously wasn’t completely unheard of to have seen women’s bodies exaggerated into surrealistic shapes at that time in art especially of in the way that the likes of Picasso, Brancusi or Moore who had created images resembling this but photographing women in this way was unheard of.

In regards to how photographers were creating images of nudes at the time these images pay no resembles to how we expected to view women and the nude. [...]


archivings.net

Archivings.net is the tumblr based website created by Shahan Assadourian, a fashion student who for the last year has been scanning and uploading hundreds of images from archives of fashion magazines.

Focussing on the time period of the mid 90s and early 2000s archivings.net shows us a stretch of time just before the internet’s eclipsing effect on fashion. However unlike how most fashion history is so often categorised into kitsch loopholes, romanticised fashion illustrations or the clinical aesthetic of museum photographed objects, archivings.net presents us with a refreshingly new stance on that difficult period of history which seems so recent but also has a weirdly fascinating distance.

The scans that archivings uploads are almost all from catwalks from the most esteemed designers to the now forgotten labels taken on analogue film. These images were taken and shared before the inception of the immediate nature of the likes of style.com which now acts as the way we mostly all look at new fashion. Archivings.net exhibits a period of time where to observe the newest fashions you would have had to have purchased a magazine weeks after a show rather than scroll through Instagram.

The speed of fashion can quite confidently be regarded as being unhealthy and the cycle of clothing which is produced is in such a high quantity that it is easy to forget the amount of work that some designers have  created over time. It is also so simple to only think of designers by their last three to four collections but when a label has existed for decades their work can filter out of many peoples memories, especially  when many websites known for housing photographs of collections only start from around 10 to 15 seasons ago. Fashion during this [...]


An interview with Kenji Alucky

Kenji Alucky is the phenomenally influential Japanese tattooer whose black work, dot work and geometrical tattoo work can not be compared to any other tattooer in its skill, placement and originality. Constantly travelling Kenji is often found working in studios all over the globe, recently he was working in London at Sang Bleu where we had a chance to create this small interview.

. How did you start tattooing? I inked my leg by myself for the first time with a self converted electric toothbrush, at the age of 16. The same I did for the following year with an electric shaving machine, then I eventually imported some decent device from the States when I turned 18. Do you have any art education?- I’ve been self taught for my entire life.
How long have you been tattooing for? I’d like to keep a low profile on that as my actual age is secret!

What do you enjoy about travelling with tattooing?

-In a sense, I actually do enjoy being in “inconvinient” situations.
The good vives and stimulations that I come across with new places and also
rad tattoists are definetely worth being as a traveller tattooist.
Though I hate sightseeing.

  Why did you want to create dot work and black work tattoos? I used to ink in variety of genre before. However, I hated the idea of earning bills as for the return of unwilling works, so I simply dumped all the colour inks that I had to do the things I want to do the most; the culture of black and dot work from England which I was shocked. How do you want to see your tattooing evolve in the future? To mainly focus on creating the “original” works, and most importantly never stop challenging.

Who do you respect in the tattoo world and why? Xed Le Head,Tomas Tomas,Jondix and Thomas Hooper. I met them in real [...]

Experimentum crucis

 

Experimentum crucis - the decisive experience , literally “the experience of the cross”, sometimes called “critical experiment” – an experiment which outcome uniquely determines whether a particular theory or hypothesis is correct. This experiment should give a predicted result, that can’t be withdrawn from the other common hypotheses and theories.

“Experimentum cruces” was filmed in 1995 and took place on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan in a children colony. It was documented by a man who spent more than 10 years working at this institution. I have transcribed and translated various parts of the video below. Although the entire video has not been transcribed visually alone the film is quite outstanding and the parts dissected are of more interest.

Taras Popov (writer and director):

” …I worked in the colony from 1983 till 1995 as a psychiatrist. This position was introduced in 1983 , in connection with the anti-alcohol campaign in the Soviet Union, and increased suicidal tendencies in the institutions of this type…

…At the end of 80s the so called humanization process started. Colonies began to exchange some positive experiences. I offered our heads to buy some photo and video equipment to share our achievements. We bought a “Krasnogorsk” 16mm camera, tapes, photo cameras and slide projectors…

…We were making movies, slides and traveled to various conferences. What were we demonstrating? “Proper” events: prisoners visiting the city, working in collective farms, building of rehab areas, patronage after the release and so on. In parallel I was filming the hidden prisoner’s life: tattoos, relationships – the so-called negative colony phenomena. As for me personally, this subculture was much more interesting than soviet propaganda…

…In 1993 a friend of mine gifted me a Panasonic 9000, the [...]


Interview with So Yoon Lym

When I initially saw New Jersey-based artist So Yoon Lym’s series of intricate cornrow paintings, entitled “The Dreamtime,” I was immediately struck by the complex beauty and artistry of the hairstyles she depicted. After learning that the series was inspired by heads of teenagers in Paterson, NJ, a town only 20 minutes from where I grew up, I was bewildered; how could I have overlooked these incredible hairstyles on the heads of people around me? Lym seemed to be documenting an ignored craft. An art educator, Lym has been on sabbatical for the past year, operating out of the Lower East Side Printshop in Manhattan and creating a CMYK silkscreen print series of Paterson’s landscapes entitled “Alone Together.” I recently caught up with the artist for a discussion of her work, life, and their intersections.

 

I know that as a teenager, you studied with famed sumi-e painter Ung No Lee in France. What lessons stuck with you from that experience?

Ung No Lee taught me three important art lessons: first, that the essence of art is about “nature,”  Second: one doesn’t need to constantly be sketching or drawing to make art.  He would tell me that I needed to observe carefully, study and memorize, so that when I painted, I would understand what I was painting from memory.

When I studied with Ung No Lee when I was 16, I didn’t understand why he and his wife had chosen to live in a tiny studio in the poorest neighborhood on the outskirts of Paris. I used to think that he could have easily sold off many of his paintings and live a more comfortable lifestyle, but Ung No Lee didn’t want to devalue his paintings by selling his artwork [...]


Aubrey Beardsley passed away 116 years ago

Yesterday would have marked 116 years since the passing of the decadently influential Victorian illustrator Aubrey Beardsley. To celebrate his life I’ve found these fashion images created for LIFE magazine where backdrops of Beardsley iconic illustrations were used for a fashion shoot in 1967 in regards to the then current exhibition at the V&A museum dedicated to his   work. Working with the illustrators the model has been turned into a monotone dream resembling Beardsley’s surreal and erotic characters. The exaggeration that Beardsley often applied to his character never resembled the then current fashions during the turn of the century and the parallel between the 1960s futuristic aesthetic against the intricacy of Beardsley’s drawing sets a gorgeous comparison.

 

 

Images scanned by Sweet Jane from LIFE magazine February 1967, Photographer: Greene-Eula, Aubrey Beardsley V&A 1966 exhibition promotional material also from private collection, additional Aubrey Beardsley illustration scans from the Best Works of Aubrey Beardsley published by Dover.

 


Fibrous House

The built environment contrasts so heavily with biological growth, even though buildings and plants both come out of the ground. Do you ever look around and wonder why anyone even started building, disrupting inherent order? Yet our contemporary sheltering needs have gotten quite sophisticated, and require systemic separation from the elements. What if we could have shelters with integrated systems, generated through biological influence? Architectural explorations derived from biological algorithms begin to connect us back to the earth visually, while their experiential effect is not yet known.

 

Roland Snooks’ work extracts information from biological systems to create architectural systems. He focuses on the complex swarm algorithm and its stigmergy: when a high population of individual agents intuitively move together, such as birds flocking in perfect separation or schools of fish cohesively traveling. The flocking agents are simulated through algorithms written in programming languages such as Processing and Python. The code is finessed until outcomes resemble the patterns found in nature.  The nonhierarchical agents continuously communicate and learn from each other, nonlinear feedback loops occur, and when the agents are assigned geometry, such as a strand in the Fibrous House, architectural form emerges.

Traditional architectural design occurs linearly through an analysis of the intended use of the building, form emerging out of that analysis, architectural systems then employed to that form. Snooks prioritizes the “agency of architectural elements, not agency of use” and the resulting architectural proposals invoke frozen natural growth, with just enough thickness and interior space to use, with a potentially sublime spatial effect.

The strand-agent architectural proposals excite through their novel tectonics and process, new forms resulting from new design methodologies. A building is composed of more than just an interior [...]