Inspired in part by the classic horror literature of H.P. Lovecraft, artist Jim Kazanjian (previously) assembles foreboding buildings using snippets of photographs found in the Library of Congress archives.
Equal parts secret lair, insane asylum, and the work of a deranged architect, Kazanjian’s collages are created from 50-70 separate photographs taken over the last century.
Each piece takes nearly three months to complete as he painstakingly searches for just the right elements, a process he likens to “solving a puzzle, except in reverse.” From his artist statement:
I’ve chosen photography as a medium because of the cultural misunderstanding that it has a sort of built-in objectivity. This allows me to set up a visual tension within the work, to make it resonate and lure the viewer further inside.
My current series is inspired by the classic horror literature of H.P. Lovecraft, Algernon Blackwood and similar authors.
I am intrigued with the narrative archetypes these writers utilize to transform the commonplace into something sinister and foreboding. In my work, I prefer to use these devices as a means to generate entry points for the viewer. I’m interested in occupying a space where the mundane intersects the strange, and the familiar becomes alien.
In a sense, I am attempting to render the sublime.
You can see much more of Kazanjian’s work on his website, and at Jennifer Kostuik Gallery in Vancouver later this year. (via Colossal Submissions)
Martin Eder is a German artist who paints atmospheric portraits, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy in a semi-surreal haze.
His recent series involves figures of mythological repute, clad in armor and posing on the battlefield while the background boils with fire, smoke, and blood.
Elsewhere, in more subdued scenes, his subjects recline in tender contemplation, or transform — with a silent violence — into a swan.
Blending Botticelli-esque classicism with contemporary hyperrealism, Eder’s paintings defy categorization, appealing in their ambivalence to our fantasies through passionate stories radiating courage and melancholia.
Eder’s previous works are known for their flickering touches of eroticism blended with absurdity.
Those who see his depictions of women as somewhat fetishized are not mistaken; experimenting with desire (and engaged criticisms) as affirmations of life, Eder asks us, in a rhetorical turn, “isn’t arousal, if it’s present at all, a rebellion against death?” (Source).
In his bloodied and battle-wearied warrior portraits, however, Eder seems to be metaphorically driving at something else: a connection to the present, as the curator’s statement for Eder’s current exhibition at Galerie Eigen + Art suggests:
Women in armour, torn linen fabrics, armed with swords, traces of acts of war on their faces. The theme seems to be of a historical one, but is omnipresent: women of war in battle, in combat.
Amongst the overflow of catastrophes, natural disasters and war images, emerge female figures as warriors that we repeatedly see, as soldiers, in the form of mothers who protect their children or their villages with weapons in the Middle East, or on another front on Maidan Square, equipped with improvised armour of street signs, gaffer tapes and plastic containers.
Visit Eder’s website to see more of his art. In addition to oil paintings, he also works in watercolour, photography, and sculpture.
French artist Didier Massard creates eye-deceiving miniature dioramas depicting surreal, mystical landscapes. From a first glance, these sets remind of extremely detailed, hyper-realistic paintings or digitally rendered images.
The striking effect unfolds after closer examination, when the viewer is exposed to careful layering and thoughtful light arrangements.
Massard explains his inspiration comes from real and imagined places. The limits of real life infuses his imagination to create mythological and romantic scenarios, which he then calls “the completion of an inner imaginary journey”.
China, India, the cliffs of Normandy and many other locations have been depicted in Didier’s works.
“There were many places in the world where I’d never gone that I wished to photograph. I realized that they would not at all look like the images I had of them.
Reality was different from my imagination. So I started building and photographing in a studio what I had in mind.”
Artist spends months constructing his miniature worlds, thus the collection is only slowly growing in size.
Massard started his career as a commercial photographer for fashion and cosmetic companies like Chanel, Hermes and others. After his first series of dioramas, titled “Imaginary Journeys”, his work was acknowledged and now Didier works exclusively on his personal projects.
A couple having sex metamorphoses into a crocodile. Fish eyes from some weird creature float on the surface of the sea, staring at me. A man is riding his own coffin.
Text accompanies these surreal images, handwritten, seemingly ancient but totally unintelligible. I’ve just stepped into the bizarre universe of Codex Seraphinianus, the weirdest encyclopedia in the world.
Like a guide to an alien world, Codex Seraphinianus is 300 pages of descriptions and explanations for an imaginary existence, all in its own unique (and unreadable) alphabet, complete with thousands of drawings and graphs.
Issued for the first time in 1981 by publisher Franco Maria Ricci, it has been a collector’s favourite for years, before witnessing a sudden rise in popularity thanks to a growing fandom on the Internet.
The author, Luigi Serafini, born in Rome in 1949, is an Italian architect-turned-artist who also worked in industrial design, painting, illustration and sculpture, collaborating with some of the most prominent figures in contemporary European culture.
Roland Barthes gladly accepted to write the prologue to the book, but after his sudden death the choice fell to Italo Calvino, who mentioned it in his collection of essays Collezione di sabbia. Another admirer was Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini, to whom Serafini offered a series of drawings for his very last movie La voce della Luna.
Serafini’s amazing studio, a few steps from the Pantheon in the center of Rome, reveals everything about his fantasy world.
Wandering around the place is like having a journey through a lysergic version of a Kubrick movie set, or a pyrotechnical staging of Alice in Wonderland. The imaginary space of the Codex spreads across the real world, a virtual-reality short-circuit even more powerful than the one created by technology itself.
We sit down for an (electric) fireside chat, facing the statue of a deer that won’t stop staring at us, trying to interpret the recent online success of his bizarre work.