“So far everybody seems upset by the subject of tattooing. They all want an analysis of the reasons for being tattooed and cannot see the paintings as art – which it is. I simply refuse to do an analysis for these people who are always asking the wrong questions. It seems to be the viewers who are more inhibited than the tattooed people.”
Aba Bayefsky (1923-2001) was a Toronto-based artist and educator. Bayefsky studied art at Toronto’s Central Technical School and later at the Academie Julian in Paris, France. During the Second World War, Bayefsky enrolled in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and eventually became an official war artist, with a mandate to depict air operations in north-west Europe. Following the War, Bayefsky became an instructor and the Ontario College of Art, now known as the Ontario College of Art and Design, and in 1958, joined the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. In 1979, Bayefsky was made a member of the prestigious Order of Canada, indicating that his work as an artist was deemed to have importance at a national level.
In the late 1970′s Bayefsky developed an interest in tattooed individuals – echoing a broader cultural acceptance of tattooing that was beginning to take hold in Canada at the time. However, Bayefsky was not merely an outsider looking into an exoticized subculture and practice. Similar to the way in which he participated in the war while simultaneously being a war artist, Bayefsky became an insider to the world of tattooing. This is exemplified by the numerous trips that Bayefsky took to Japan between 1979 and 1982. During these trips, Bayefsky met with and painted a number of tattooed individuals and tattoo masters. Bayefsky also corresponded extensively with the Japanese Association of Tattoo [...]
Image of Ear Stretchers and Ear Ornaments from page 458 of ‘Through Masai Land. Third edition’
Following the two-year Live Search Books project with Microsoft which saw thousands of out-of-copyright 17th, 18th and 19th century books digitalised, The British Library have recently released a million images back into the public domain in partnership with image sharing platform Flickr, who enabled the institution to share the images on a public, online profile for anyone to ‘use, remix and re-purpose’.
What the library has done is a huge step for the future of image research, not only allowing the unrestricted viewing of such artworks, which is arguably what such an institution exists for, but for them to be reused in any digital sphere for an infinitely wider appreciation and examination. To aid in this and due to the massive quantity of images shared, the library hope to seek the services of the newly increased hands at their disposal by launching a crowdsourcing application, using a collective voice to better understand each of the million images now on show.
What this means for the future of this kind of research is unclear. While the debate continues on the boundary-less nature of the Internet, our self-inflicted lack of online privacy as a result of our reliance on social media, the worry of the ever-increasing availability of pornography to teenagers or perhaps more pertinently to this, the questionable credibility of digitally sourced information, this is undoubtedly a positive move. The images are prevented from becoming forgotten and will hopefully further our understanding of the subjects they depict, covering such a breadth of categories, from travel and ethnography to mathematical diagrams and fashion.
However, the project has lead to much wider questions; as a Guardian piece on the project points [...]
The Photographers’ Gallery
16-18 Ramillies St
London W1F 7LW
Untitled (Łódź), 2000
This week sees a triple exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery showcasing works from Pop Art pioneer Andy Warhol, Beat Generation author William Burroughs and a new series of photographic work from visual artist and surrealist filmmaker David Lynch.
The director’s vast and varied oeuvre extends past a variety of films and soon to return cult series Twin Peaks, to visual art, music and even a briefly functioning Paris nightclub Silencio, inspired by a fictional club of the same name in 2001 LA neo-noir Mulholland Drive. Often considered surrealist but with notable influences from German Expressionist film as well as contemporary cinema, the director’s individual film style, dubbed “Lynchian”, comprises of lengthy and immersive dream imagery and intense, meticulous sound design.
This latest series sees the director recall the urban landscape of his 1977 surrealist ‘body horror’ Eraserhead, which sees its disturbed protagonist occupy a vast, industrial dystopia dreamt up by Lynch in the film’s conception in the early 1970s, now seeeing the director explore in the real world a decade later, its stark visual language translated here through his use of black and white ‘celluloid’.
A scene from 1977′s Eraserhead
“I don’t like colour,” he says in a recent FT interview. “The real factories that I love, they’re black-and-white experiences. Colour putrefies them…I really love the oil-impregnated earth, you know, where the earth is gleaming with black oil and there is steel and brick and glass and these machines, and smokestacks and the smoke and the fire. It’s an amazing, phenomenal thing.”
The series of brooding images of factory landscapes has been taken over several decades during time out from filming across Poland, Germany, England and the Brooklyn landscape said to have inspired him as a child, documenting both the exterior and [...]
As we know, Auguste Rodin was the artist and sculptor whose works were distinguished by their stunning strength and realism during the turn of the century. Rodin refused to ignore the negative aspects of humanity, and his work confronted distress and moral weakness as well as passion and beauty. His best known work includes the severly realistic sculptures of human bodies however he is not so well known as a draughtsman.
Much of Auguste Rodin’s work defied traditional artistic conventions but out of the public eye, he took a further decisive step towards modernism in a different genre.
These erotic female nude studies, created during the final two decades of his life, represent a completely new approach to art – one that freed itself from previous ideals of beauty and from existing concepts of morality. The work was considered to be indecent at the time. When a small collection of the drawings were shown in Weimar, the director of the museum was dismissed. More than 100 of these little-known drawings, now exist in museums and private collections worldwide.
By the time of creating these drawings in his career he had gained the notoriety and the means to afford live models, often several at a time. They remained in motion during the drawing sessions, while Rodin sketched without interruption, rarely looking down to see what he had drawn. The women’s bodies are spayed out, liberated and unashamed. The delicate nature of Rodin’s line and gentle wash of watercolour in comparison to the honest portrayal of the women’s bodies is totally new to look at even now over a hundred years later. Theres something incredibly powerful about the sexuality created in these drawings with only a couple of pencil lines which is really quite genius.
Sang Bleu friend and tattooer Fuzi UV TPK will be having a private preview of his prints at Sang Bleu London this evening from 8pm. All our welcome to come.
29b Dalston Lane, London E8 3DF
This excellent interview has been reblogged from Interview Magazine of Kim Gordan interviewing her old friend Raymond Pettibon. It is simply too good not to share.
I first became aware of Raymond Pettibon in the early ’80s, when I was visiting my parents in Los Angeles. Thurston and I came across his zines in a store somewhere, and we became keenly interested in them. One Sunday afternoon, we went to a house party in Hermosa Beach, a languid, slightly funky enclave that never became a resort town but rather a suburban neighborhood by the beach. Black Flag were playing at the party, and Henry Rollins was singing in the kitchen. He came right up to me and sang in my face. That was maybe one of the best gigs I’d ever seen because it was so surreal and intimate and confusing—refrigerator, counter, Henry Rollins twerking before twerking existed in his little black shorts, fusing hardcore punk with suburban banality.
This was all new to us. Coming from the New York music scene, people didn’t have houses or garages, so no house parties viewed through the almost-too-bright L.A. sunshine. We went out to the backyard and there was Raymond. Someone introduced us. He was already sort of mythical in our minds. He was shy and dressed normally—casually disheveled. No one from that area dressed in a stylized punk way. That was one of the things that made it so cool—South Beach as opposed to Hollywood. We got to visit with Raymond a few times. There was always a pile of his drawings spilling over on a tabletop.
Raymond’s drawings were way beyond illustrative. At that time, he had no relationship to the art world. I decided to write an article for Artforum on his work, as well as Tony [...]
Amsterdam- and Vienna-based artist Sonja Bäumel‘s works combine science, fashion, and design into a tangible visualization of the many invisible processes of our physiology and the biological scientific method. Basing many of her works of scientific data and using the aesthetic tropes of scientific experiments, like sterile plastic and boiling-0ver petri dish cultures, she creates Frankenstein-ian living prints, fragile synthetic skins, and crystal bodies to show the potential of science and its powerful yet haunting implications. After all, from where does a compulsive desire to prolong life stem, if not from a fear of death?
Bäumel’s obsession with skin surfaces through many of her works. She states on her website that skin is, “the layer between the outside and the inside…It is a layer full of life, which serves as a membrane for exchange.” Her project Crocheted Membrane (2008-2009) explored how to combine bacterial growth and fashion to create a textile with potential to thicken and thin depending on the wearer’s body temperature: “What happens if we make the micro world of the human body perceivable? I want to confront people with the fact that our body is a large host of bacteria and that a balanced perception of the body is closely linked with a balanced perception of the self.” Despite their fragile beauty, in her images, the membranes seem to sneak up their wearers’ arms, slowly engulfing the bodies they caress.
Her works also address the sinister potential of scientific advancement. As society devotes more and more money and resources to synthesizing medications and creating artificial limbs, we develop our obsession with biological “progress.” Encasing glowing crystal hands in vitrines and fashioning gleaming crystal bodies, immune to decay, Bäumel evokes the magic of the scientific experiment, the seeming creation of an object [...]