Tag Archives: Contemporary Art

Nude with Skeleton by Marina Abramović 2005

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Hey there, I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, although I have recently discovered the most extraordinary performance artist that I have the urge to share!

Marina Abramović is internationally recognised for her inspiring, captivating and conceptual performances that provoke a powerful and emotional response from the audience, as referenced by Sean O’Hagan.1 I’ve recently watched a documentary known as, The Artist is Present that presents Abramović most iconic and fascinating performance at the MoMA Museum of Modern Art.

According to The Marina Film Project, audiences queued to sit in front of Abramović as she sat completely still within a gallery space for six hours straight for two to three months. There was complete silence, as Abramović would continue to stare at the person right in front of her. This is one of the most remarkable performances to date and I’m completely mesmerised by the way Abramović can emotionally engage with the audience.2

The documentary presents Abramović artistic career including her relationship with Ulay, although there was one performance in particular that immediately captured my attention. Nude with Skeleton 2005 presents the artist with a skeleton that is placed over the top of her nude body, as referenced by Lima. The most fascinating aspect is the skeleton’s synchronised movements that correlate with Abramović’s slow and controlled breathing; the overall performance delivers a very interesting parallel between life and death.3

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Lima explains that the performance explores death’s inevitable presence and the very notion that life itself isn’t permanent. In fact, the performance invites me to consider the presence of life and death that is profoundly emulated through Abramović’s performance including the dramatic and captivating composition with the life-sized skeleton.5

According to the MoMA audio recording, Marina Abramović explains that the skeleton exposes the frightening perceptions surrounding death and the concept of facing mortality.6 This is quite a confronting piece, as the juxtaposition between the artist’s figure and the skeleton invites me to consider my own mortality and my impermanent presence within the world that is a relatively scary thought at times. The performance delivers a powerful and emotional response that is admirable and inspiring.

I know if I had a life-sized skeleton placed over the top of me, the experience would be surreal, even frightening. The thought that we’ll have to face the inevitable at some stage is a challenging feeling that invites me to reconsider the value of life and the present moment. It’s amazing to actually realise how one single performance can trigger these profound emotions or thoughts; this is what Abramović does best! 7

The Marina Film Project mentions that the performances were recreated within the exhibition at the MoMA through a dedicated group of artists that participated in Abramović’s intensive training sessions leading to the grand opening.8

If you ever get the chance to watch The Artist is Present, I would definitely recommend it, even if you’re not into performance art, this will provide a completely different perspective in regards to art and the surrounding world. The documentary invited me to understand the importance of being present and aware of the your surroundings internally and externally. Don’t forget, rent or buy a copy of this documentary, you will seriously be amazed!

References

1., “Interview: Marina Abramović,” Sunday 3rd October 2010, The Guardian, http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2010/oct/03/interview-marina-abramovic-performance-artist
2.The Marina Film Project, Force LLC and Mudpuppy Films INC, 2012, http://marinafilm.com/
3.Lima, “Nude with Skeleton,” http://www.li-ma.nl/site/catalogue/art/marina-abramovic/nude-with-skeleton/9280#
4.Lima, “Nude with Skeleton”
5.MoNA Multimedia, “Marina Abramović. Nude with Skeleton.” http://www.moma.org/explore/multimedia/audios/190/2016

6.Lima, “Nude with Skeleton,”
7.Lima, “Nude with Skeleton,”

8.The Marina Film Project, Force LLC and Mudpuppy Films INC


Black and White Skull Makeup Continued

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Yesterday, I shared one of my self portraits with the black and white skull makeup and I thought I would add the rest of the photographs from the series. Once I’ve taken the photographs in the dark laneway, I decided to take some additional photos before I started to remove the makeup. I do enjoy experimenting with the makeup, my aim is to expand or enhance the overall design.

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in my next attempt, I would create a different shape for the teeth and I would add some additional shadows around the eyes or the jaw line. In some of my previous posts, I have discussed my interpretations of death via black and white photography, I have highlighted the most crucial elements so I thought I would keep this particular post relatively short and simple. If you are interested in viewing the previous posts, just click on the link here for Death & the Photographic Image Part I and Part II

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Towards the end of the night, I smudged the makeup in order to created a distressed or deteriorated effect that did create some interesting results. When I view the images, I sometimes can’t believe that I’m the person in the image, I’ve become my own personal representation of death. This is my first attempt with the black and white skull makeup in about two or three years and the photo shoot has provided an excellent opportunity for me to practise, I intend to continually develop or enhance the design.

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The photographs are inspired by Robert Mapplethorpe’s Self Portrait, 1988 and the artist passed away in 1989 from AIDS, as referenced by the Tate Gallery Website.1 At first, I was fascinated with Mapplethorpe’s black and white self-portrait and the surrounding darkness definitely isolates the artist’s own face and his skull shaped cane; these particular elements have a profound effect in regards to my perceptions of death.

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I regularly associated death with darkness and the reduction of colour or movement, although it’s so hard to articulate the ending of life, as there are so many different explanations. I have repeatedly mentioned these thoughts over the past couple of years and it will be interesting to see if these ideas will progressively change over time.

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Anyway, I hope you enjoy the photographs and I have a surprise that I’m really excited about! I can’t wait to share the details!

DSC_0591111References

1. Mc Ateer, Susan, Tate Gallery, “Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-Portrait, 1989,” (Accessed 5/2/15) http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/mapplethorpe-self-portrait-ar00496/text-summary


Interview with Rubèn Pàmies, Kpavio

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Tzantza Cerebrum, Rubèn Pàmies: Kpavio

About a couple of months ago, I discovered a unique collection of work by an artist / sculptor named Rubèn Pàmies aka Kpavio who has created a range of remarkable, three-dimensional skulls that explore the notion of ‘life and time’ through individual watch pieces as well as other distinctive materials. I have conducted an interview with Kpavio in order to discover the processes, methods and techniques that are used to create these fascinating, yet mesmerising skulls!

Black Calavera: Where did the name Kpavio originate from?
Kpavio: It means ‘skull’ in Greek and I use it as my artistic pseudonym.

Black Calavera: How long have you been working on Kpavio?
Kpavio: I have been working on Kpavio for the last four years.

Black Calavera: Is there anything in particular that has inspired you to explore the relationship between
life and the passage of time?
Kpavio: Well, I have always been interested in the passage of time, maybe that is the reason why I dedicated more than 25 years to the world of watchmaking and now I am exploring that relationship through my sculptures.

Black Calavera: I have noticed that the skull is frequently used within your sculptural projects, is there anything that has inspired you to use the skull as a visual art form?
Kpavio: To date, all of my sculptures have a skull as the base because I have always been attracted to the world of skulls and I think they are a good way to explore the connection between life and the passage of time.

Black Calavera: How do you use the skull in your work?
Kpavio: I acquire them and then I personalise them, sometimes with paint, sometimes with a denture, until now I always use some pieces of watchmaking.

Black Calavera: Where do you acquire the skulls from? are they real?
Kpavio: The skulls are replicas, some of them are old and in most cases, made of plaster cast. I buy them and then I use them as the base of my creations, some of them are old replicas while others are modern.

Black Calavera: How long does it take for you to create one of these sculptures?
Kpavio: It depends on the piece, when I acquire the skull there is a process of study in which I explore the possibilities of the piece and decide its theme. After that, I start the process of creation that depends on the complexity of the final result I want to achieve.

Black Calavera: Is there a project that you have enjoyed the most?
Kpavio: No, all of them have been very enriching.

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Pirate Time, Rubèn Pàmies: Kpavio

Black Calavera: Has your practice or style changed over time?
Kpavio: Well, I am always exploring new themes and materials to work with.

Black Calavera: How has your interest in fine watchmaking influenced your work?
Kpavio: It plays a great role in my work, as I always use watchmaking pieces in my sculptures.

Black Calavera: Is there a specific type of watch that you prefer to use within your work?
Kpavio: No, I use all kind of pieces although the movements are very useful for me.

Black Calavera: Is there any significance behind the pieces that you use from the watch?
Kpavio: It depends, sometimes I want to use a particular piece, like a movement within a specific part of the skull because I want to express a concrete idea. In other occasions I use a little piece because it fits perfectly within the part of the skull that I am working with.

Black CalaveraBesides watches, are there any other materials that you enjoy working with?
Kpavio: I am always open to exploring different materials in my artworks.

Black Calavera: Are there any artists / sculptors that have inspired your work?
Kpavio: I like many artists and distinct currents, I have been interested in the work of Banksy, whom I admire his creative and provocative ability, especially the fact that he wishes to remain anonymous.

Black Calavera: Do you have any future plans for upcoming projects / exhibitions?
Kpavio: I have a lot of future projects, but time will tell if they could become a reality.

Black Calavera: Do you have any advise for practicing or emerging artists?
Kpavio: I would tell them that if art is their passion, to fully engage in it no matter the difficulties they might encounter

Check out Kpavio’s website or Facebook if you would like to learn more about the works!

http://www.kpavio.com/en

https://www.facebook.com/kpavio


The Memento Series

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Photography and Makeup by Charlotte Pridding

The other day, I was searching through the files on my computer, where I rediscovered one of my photographic projects from the beginning of last year. I was pleasantly surprised when I realised that these photographs were stored away in my computer and I wondered why I haven’t shared them before.

The project continues to explore my own interpretations of death and the human skull through the application of face paint including black and white self-portraiture. I decided to experiment with different environments / props in order to create a different effect that significantly contrasts with my previous self-portraits, where I have often photographed myself in front of a dark backdrop.

To be honest, the photo shoot provided an excellent opportunity to practise my makeup / face painting skills within a limited timeframe and I randomly decided to include a black sheet at the very last-minute that surprisingly complimented with the face paint and the natural backdrops. Sometimes it’s those last-minute decisions that can deliver some very interesting results!

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I have often wondered what actually happens to the human body after death? Do we find ourselves in a completely different existence or realm all together? It’s quite difficult to explain, as the whole idea or concept in regards to death seems quite ambiguous to me.

I’m particularly fascinated in the interpretation of death within Western culture and I have often wondered whether death or immortality remains a sensitive subject? Is it something that we fear or have we accepted or embraced the idea? While the subject isn’t openly discussed, the contemporary culture is completely saturated with skulls and I often wondered whether it’s original meaning or purpose is diluted through constant repetition? The skull certainly appears as a popular icon that attracts fascination from the public or the consumer.

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It’s hard to tell really, as each person would have their own experiences or perceptions. These self-portraits are used as a way to explore some of these ideas and they also reflect some of my own interpretations that frequently change on a daily basis. While the whole concept of death is rather daunting at times, I have acknowledged that it’s an important part of life itself.

The self-portraits remind me of a life threatening experience a few years ago involving a car accident and I can remember my mind turning completely blank, everything became dark and unfamiliar, as if I was taken to a different place all together. I tried to forget about the incident for a while, although I have discovered that my interest for skulls derives from this particular experience.

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The self-portraits have allowed me to come terms with the accident and the photographs have become a reminder of death, the overall concept reminds me of the Memento Mori. Over the past few weeks, I’ve become fascinated with Susan Sontag’s publication, ‘On Photography’ that explores some very interesting concepts relating to photography and the Memento Mori.1

According to Susan Sontag, “All photographs are Momento Mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify a time’s relentless melt.” 2

I then began to wonder whether it is possible to record my own mortality through my self-portraits? In reference to Sontag, a photograph reflects a particular moment in time, while I’m growing older I can refer back to the younger images of myself. 3 The whole idea just seems surreal to me, I would love to take photographs every year in order to document the process or the journey from life to death.

According to Enrico De Pascale from ‘Death and Resurrection in Art,’ the Memento Mori is a Latin, Medieval concept that was used as a reminder or death and mortality. Many traditional or Renaissance paintings relating to the Memento Mori would normally feature ‘hour glasses, clocks or skulls’ that were used to reflect one’s own mortality. 4

I have had a couple of people who have mentioned that the works appear similar to a Swedish film, known as the Seventh Seal by Ingmar Bergman; this is quite fascinating, as I only discovered this film after the photo shoot and it’s strange how these things happen! If you are interested in learning more about the Seventh Seal, click on the links below.5

skull5 Overall, the portraits explore the way death can cause anxiety, fear and isolation; they have become a very useful way to confront some of these thoughts and ideas. This is just the very start, as I’m hoping to expand upon these concepts in the next few months.

Check out the Facebook page to view additional images, https://www.facebook.com/BlackCalavera22

References:

1. Susan Sontag. On Photography (USA: Penguin Group 1977) p.15
2. Sontag. On Photography, p.15
3. Sontag. On Photography, p.15
4. Enrico De Pascale, Death and Resurrection in Art (USA: Paul Getty Museum, 2009) p.86-89
5. The Seventh Seal by Igmar Bergman, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050976/


The Works of Lora Zombie Present Vibrant Colours, Inspiring Designs and Skulls

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Girls Loves Skulls – Lora Zombie

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been particularly interested in Lora Zombie, a painter / illustrator from Russia who has created a series of colourful, eclectic designs that are combined with influential icons and pop culture references. At first I was amazed by the artist’s intricate style including the high level of detail or craftsmanship as well as the dripping paint that oozes towards the bottom of each individual painting / illustration.

According to Lora Zombie’s official website, the artist is internationally renowned through various social media platforms, blogs and exhibitions within Russia and the United States. I decided to search through Lora Zombie’s inspiring online portfolio and I have recently discovered that the skull is a popular symbol within the artist’s work.

Zombie’s illustrations are often categorised as ‘grunge art,’ however there is limited information in regards to this particular style, this is definitely something I’ll have to research later down the track; from a personal perspective, Lora Zombie’s work features a similar appearance to graffiti art.

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Puppies and Skulls – Lora Zombie

‘Girls Loves Skulls’ for instance features a young girl embracing a large multicoloured skull within the centre of the image. This is one of my favourite illustrations by Lora Zombie; the combination of vibrant colours and paint splatters create a remarkable, yet dynamic style that successfully delivers a playful, optimistic approach towards death and the human skull, this is just my personal point of view anyway.

The visual aesthetics provide a level of curiosity and fascination; the skull in particular becomes a significant focal point that instantly attracts the viewer’s attention. The bold, vibrant colours compliment the contour of the skull as well as the young girl on the left hand side; her plain white dress along with her black, knee-length socks provides a dramatic composition with the other elements within the image.

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Pugs and Skulls – Lora Zombie

The young girl appears to be rather excited or pleased to be holding this multicoloured skull that features a rather concerned expression. The refined detail definitely provides the subjects with a unique personality that are emphasised through the loud, vibrant colours as well as the harsh brush strokes.

There is another work in particular that has captured my attention; Lora Zombie’s ‘Puppies and Skulls’ is colourful, playful and absolutely gorgeous! The name summarises the work pretty well, this illustration features at least three colourful skulls that are surrounded by a range of adorable puppies, this is such a cute, yet artistic combination.

‘Pugs and Skulls’ also features a similar style and aesthetic; the work features a pile of small multicoloured skulls that are integrated with a crowd of energetic puppies, this is just too adorable! I could honestly write about the artist’s work for hours, as I thoroughly enjoy the humorous, yet comical twist within these imaginative designs. Overall, Lora Zombie’s work delivers a high level of creativity and innovation that is combined with a lively, yet vivacious characteristic.

If you would like to view Lora Zombie’s portfolio or website, just click on the links below.

References

http://lorazombie.com/

https://www.facebook.com/LoraZombie (Images from Facebook)

http://lora-zombie.tumblr.com/

http://instagram.com/lorazombie

https://www.threadless.com/made/lora-zombie


Mickael Alacoque’s Sculptural Works present a Playful, Colourful and Eccentric Aesthetic.

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 Prince Charming, Mickael Alacoque, 2008

Just a few moments ago, I discovered quite an unusual body of work by Mickael Alacoque, an artist / sculptor based in the United Kingdom who has created a series of sculptures that feature a bizarre, yet distinctive visual aesthetic. Alacoque’s ‘Bad Babysitters’ features a range of three-dimensional works that successfully combine three individual components including a human skull, two melting ice-cream cones and the body of a small canine, as referenced by Skullspiration. 1

I remember feeling that overwhelming sense of bewilderment as I continued to stare at this pink, fluorescent statue with the two ice-cream cones protruding from the forehead of the skull. Alacoque’s Prince Charming features quite an obscure appearance, although the work features a high level of detail and intricacy that is combined with an element of spontaneity.

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Etruria and Florence, Alacoque, 2010

This particular work motivated me to undertake some further research into the artist’s own influences or inspirations. A Gallery presents an interesting statement by Alacoque who explains his previous training or expertise within “figurative sculpture and mould making,” as well as his interest in public monuments. The artist explores these traditional techniques within an artistic, contemporary context through the use of vibrant colours and iconic symbols. 2

Alacoque obscures the way the ‘public statue’ is interpreted or examined within society and the sculptural works present quite a unique, imaginative style through the use of bright, fluorescent colours and textures. The melting ice-cream cones, the grimacing skull and the canine’s body feature a refined, yet detailed structure that are combined in order to create a completely different meaning or interpretation all together.

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Alacoque, Mitty, 2008

In regards to Alacoque’s statement from AGallery, “Gnome Kone and Bad Babysitter are part of a series of sculptures that are concerned with a playfully sinister bastardization of familiar objects.” 3

These sculptures in particular are often described as unsettling when they are viewed up close, however I don’t necessarily find them disturbing, in fact I find the Bad Babysitter series rather amusing or entertaining. From a personal perspective, the compositional elements present a playful, humorous and satirical disposition that successfully provide quite a memorable impression.

If you are interested in Alacoque’s eccentric works, I would recommend visiting the links listed below for further details.

References

1. Skullspiration, “Skull Sculptures by Mikael Alacoque,” http://www.skullspiration.com/skull-sculptures-by-mikael-alacoque/

2. Mikael Alacoque, Artist’s Statement, A Gallery, http://www.agallery.co.uk/gallery/mikael_alacoque.php

3. Alacoque, Artist’s Statement, A Gallery

Other References

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mikael-Alacoque/31318213675  (Images are sourced from Facebook Page)

https://twitter.com/MikaelAlacoque


Bright, Colourful and Intricate Skulls by Marie-Pascale Gautheron

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While I was browsing through the internet, I discovered the works of Marie-Pascale Gautheron, a contemporary artist based in Paris who creates a series of hand crafted skulls with delicate, vibrant and intricate designs. Every minuscule detail is highlighted through a combination of bold colours or decorative patterns that compliments the shape and the contour of the skull.

These sculptural works in particular reminded me of the Mexican Day of the Dead Celebration and the sugar skulls, however these quirky designs feature a unique, psychedelic twist. In regards to the Skull Appreciation Society, Gautheron uses the skull as a visual art form that are either drawn or hand painted and I was immediately intrigued by the high level of craftsmanship.

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As I continued to browse through Gautheron’s online portfolio, I discovered a series of neon skulls and the paint successfully creates a very interesting, yet surreal effect. I decided to ask Gautheron about these delicate neon skulls and the artist explained that the works feature a “special paint that reacts to light.” This is definitely a fascinating method / process that instantly invites the viewer to take a closer look at the works.

These skulls in particular are quite different to anything I have seen before and Gautheron uses the skull frequently throughout her work in order to create a series of decorative and artistic murals. From a personal perspective, these eclectic skulls portray the concept of death and mortality in a positive, cheerful manner through the combination of vibrant colours and innovative designs.

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There is another sculptural project that immediately captured my attention, Gautheron has constructed a skull from paper that features a highly detailed, realistic aesthetic; the work itself delivers so many different interpretations that successfully invites the audience to view the skull from another angle or perspective.

The skull features a drawing of an octopus holding a skull with its tentacles; this is rather interesting as the skull features a smaller image of a skull. This is quite a clever concept / idea and Gautheron’s work delivers a surreal, yet fascinating experience.

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If you are interested in skulls or contemporary art, I would highly recommend visiting the artist’s website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page. The Skull Appreciation Society also features a very interesting article in regards to the works of Marie-Pascale Gautheron that is definitely worth viewing!

References

http://mpgautheron.com/

https://www.facebook.com/mpgautheron

http://instagram.com/mpgautheron

https://twitter.com/mpgautheron

The Skull Appreciation Society, September 22nd 2014, Marie – Pascale Gautheron http://skullappreciationsociety.com/marie-pascale-gautheron/

Saatchi Art, Marie-Pascale Gautheron, 2014, http://www.saatchiart.com/mpgautheron

Illustrated Monthly, Marie-Pascale Gautheron, http://illustratedmonthly.tumblr.com/post/97929098769/rad-skull-art-by-marie-pascale-gautheron