Thursday, April 29, 2010

found: Clare Grill, Bobbie Oliver, Bettina Sellmann

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found: Kyle Cook, Jackie Gendel, Rosalba Giovanna Carriera

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

found: Ernst Haeckel

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

found: Mary Carlson, unknown, Hans Josephsohn

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

found: 'Andrei Rublev', Rachel Whiteread, Omer Fast


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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

found: Anne Chu

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found: Janieta Eyre

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

found: Susanna Coffey, Robert MacNeill, Marlene Dumas

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Monday, April 19, 2010

found: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Paris and Nicky Hilton

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I wouldn't say I'm quite finished looking through these images of photoshopped celebrities, their faces seamlessly placed within random internet photos of trashy, overweight bodies. Faces otherwise instantly linked to the pixie-thin and overly-buff, these hilarities give them all the slumping, infantile, squat shapelessness of the everyday unhealthy girth and gather of skin and fat.

I'm drawn to a certain three photoshopped celebrity images. First, Tom Cruise's gaping celebratory grin and eye-slits of self-satisfaction afixed upon the crotch-point of his gangly chicken-necked dangle of arms and legs in an apartment block hallway of baked microwave vapors, his standing posture having the lazy slump of a slouch-as-human-table, a beery TV-watcher leering with empty thrust.

Second, Nicole Kidman's staring, painted-glass Barbie eyes and peeling-red-toenailpolish lipstick pasted in the middle of a stuffed pillowcase of red hair with the consistency of balled up lint, double chin and double-cheeked bloat of the pink tinge of raw chicken skin, all in a halo of grey no-place background.

Third, Paris and Nicki Hilton's cross-eyed glints and smeary-lipped grins fitted into the faces of two bulging figures in hastily gathered gowns of tissue-paper pastels, hoisted sandbags of breastage wrapped with as much dignity as garage sale nighties from a sad estate sale.

I have to admit that these photos give these celebrities a certain humanity. Makes them loveable. Makes them vulnerable. Makes them so very weak, and so very much more able to accept the inevitable fate of the body. The obviousness of this is based on the fact that all these people, whose lumpy, dumpy bodies were borrowed so easily, have the body language of those who have grown comfortable in their own skins.
found: wax model, Madeline Balcar, unknown wallpaper

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Friday, April 16, 2010

found: Paul Swenbeck, Amy Sillman, Roger Hiorns

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

found: Jonathan Zawada, Jan Van Kessel, "stolen Mona Lisa" blank spot

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Jörg Heiser on Painting

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From Jörg Heiser's new book 'All of A Sudden: Things That Matter in Contemporary Art", the chapter 'Bodiless Elegance versus Pungent Physicality: The Painting of Decisions'. Excerpts:

"Let's get one thing straight from the start: painting is not an anachronism; painting is relevant. And this relevance doesn't stem from the way painting is sometimes presented and sold like a Bentley or a Patek Philippe, with that hushed intimation of illustriousness, consensus, and admiration. As everyone knows, there's no shortage of pictures - on the Internet, on flat screens, on mega-posters, on mobile phones, and in all the countless illustrated volumes at your local bookstore. Painting must compete with this mass media image pool, whether or not it actively addresses it. At the same time, painting must compete with itself, with its own history, which in turn is part of this image pool. So can painting not just act innocent, as if it had just been discovered, as a novel way of applying colorful wet stuff to a surface and letting it dry? Sure it can. But it must then expect to be perceived as decoration, as flatly commercial, or as the work of an amateur. All these are nonetheless qualities which intelligent painting can embrace - as long as it does so deliberately."

"Painting has reached a certain degree of saturation: What is there left that hasn't been seen? Maybe this is the challenge to painting, to make visible that which resists visibility: the decision-making processes, the effects of power and powerlessness that run through society and resonate in the slightest physical sensation of every individual. That, in other words, of which mass media images are symptomatic at best, but which dictates the placement and presentation of these images themselves. Might this be a worthy task for painting? To play out the micromechanics of decision-making in the realm of applying paint to canvas, even envisioning possible new decisons? Here, the acts leading to a picture's particular motif coincide directly with those concerning its material form, which shape the process of its creation - painting as a kind of solitary seance of possible, even new ways of seeing and acting."

"These, then are the two extremes: either wresting a kind of inscrutable elegance from the banality of the objectivized world, or wresting something akin to dignity and wit from one's own obvious but ungraspable presence. One inhabits the two-dimensional world of endlessly duplicated pictures and forms, showing details and versions, simplifications, and commentaries. The other brings three- or even four-dimensionality back into play - physical presence in the here and now. Finally, both seal the long farewell to the Renaissance idea of single-point persepctive, a pictorical space that can only be seen undistorted in its full harmonious beauty from one viewing positon. But this idea of harmony and beauty in a strictly regulated space cannot be countered with claims of "everything's possible..." and its inevitable, bitter correlate: "...and nothing matters." As Sigmar Polke has been demonstrating since the 1960s, contemporary painting stays interesting when it moves between the above-mentioned poles without reconciling them."

"Now, as always, interesting painting means those new pictures that could only have come about in painting and not in any other way. The "new" doesn't exist as a sparkling clean something out of nothing, but as the dirt that gets stuck in the spirals of history (the spiral as a model of development that is neither linear nor cyclical; dirt as that which at first just seems to be left over but which then takes on meaning after all). Of course, the Modernist dreams of a tabula rasa, universal validity, and radical newness are passe - but, one should not coninue to expect painting to content itself with well-behaved skillfulness or sleepy conventions."

(Tomma Abts; image source)

"As critic Jan Verwoert has pointed out in an essay on [Tomma Abts]'s work, the question of the decision-making process in painting cannot be satisfactorily answered by pointing to either the rational intention or the irrational intuition of the painter, as both falsely imply a congruence between starting point, realization, and end result. It is, as Verwoert says, rather the case that painting, "on the basis of its irreducible inner differentiatedness," produces "its own form of rationalism." This sounds less abstract when you actually look at a painting by Abts; you immediately see in concrete terms how it appears to be governed by rules of its own, a sequence of freedoms of choice."

(Maria Lassnig; image source)

"In spite of this, in pictures like the one just described [by Lassnig], humor and distortion do play a part. It's the kind of humor that does without getting excited, preferring to work with the stoic principle of the deadpan - like when you suddenly have to burst out laughing because something has simply stated the truth about a certain situation, a truth that's latenly obvious to all present. It's not portrayal of the body as if in a funhouse mirror for amusement, but an attempt to visualize precisely that which a mirror cannot capture. This alone determines the "distortion" here - if only one knew what was being distorted and in what direction."

"For, one might object, to ignore photography, to exclude what has been seen from perception, even if only for the moment, is not possible in any case; visual media have long since become part of the way we experience our own bodies every day, most obviously in postures and ways of walking: catwalk poses seen in Vogue, dance movements seen on television. How, then, can "body awareness" be separated from all "external" visualizations? But Lassnig is aware of this problem, and instead of simply asserting such a separation as an artistic fait accompli, she presents it as a horizon. "I really can achieve it, and I really want to," she says, even today: "But of course, it cannot be achieved totally. I admit that. It cannot be achieved totally."

"Making something visible that cannot actually be seen or portrayed, at least not by making a reproduction, doesn't necessarily produce smoothness. At present, many painters are far too content to cleverly mix up a few more or less cleverly chosen visual sources. Lassnig's pungent approach is the antidote to all this empty elegance."

(Dana Schutz; image source)

"The work of young New York painter Dana Schutz opens up the possibility of carrying Lassnig's approach into a present where any attempt to separate body and media awareness has become impossible once and for all - but without the contradictions having simply resolved themselves. Like Lassnig, Schutz certainly doesn't always paint from existing sources. Many of her paintings show things that are hard even to imagine. Like someone eating his own face, eyes suspended like marbles in the hollow grotto of a mouth full of teeth and a phallic tongue, and no nose (Face-Eater, 2004). When she first came up with the idea of painting people eating themselves, around 2003, she was thinking of abstraction as something that needed to be kept in mind when making "figurative" work. As tired as the opposition between abstraction adn figuration may be, Schutz's figures obviously bear on it. They create an allegory of the self-consuming history of painting, the teleology of an increasingly sophisiticated emancipation from the representation of religious and then secular reality (in protagonists who are "singed" as if by the sudden onslaught of a nuclear explosion). We see a man lying on the ground, bending his leg to eat his foot (his mouth open toward the sky like one of Picasso's Guernica victims), forming an absurd rectangle that echoes the rectangle of the canvas, like a sick joke about self-referentiality (Self-Eater 2, 2003). At the same time, he becomes an allegory of painting as a system that depends on this history of sophistication and variation to legitimize itself as a competitor in contemporary visual production, in a digitized visual culture that consumes itself by producing an explosion of versions and copies of anything you can imagine - but not so much of things you can't."

"But this of course does not rule out a narrower interpretation in the context of discussions of painting and what they might mean for the so-called real world - when slapstick deals with repudiating hollow claims of authority, the question of artistic choice and action is implicit, a question posed in especially exemplary form in painting."

"you can't forego clear references to the world without getting lost in stylistic exercises."

"Posing as a "politically engaged" painter would in itself be somehow foolishly presumptuous, but retiring to safe cultural production is also not an option. All that remains, then, is to live with the insanity and embarrassment of contradictions"

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

found: unknown fall, Alexander Tinei, unknown sleeping head


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found: stills from 'Cat-Women Of The Moon', 'Beetlejuice', 'Black Sunday'

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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

found: Shary Boyle, a mysterious image yoinked from Suzen Green, Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland


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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

found: Qajar Paintings

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