Saturday, 26 September 2009

Finding hair in random places

Left over: Ceramic tiles by Saara Kaatra

"A hotel room is a very private area. We automatically assume that the room is clean and spotless when we enter. Finding someone else’s hair when taking a shower or brushing your teeth isn’t the most pleasant thing. A set of ceramic tiles for a bathroom, ceramic tiles decorated with hair. An aesthetic pattern is created from something that is usually regarded as ugly." Saara Kaatra

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Overload on the possibiities of imprints

I think I have seen it all now. Now it is possible to purchase wearable tile decoration. These tiles are supposed to be used for swimming pool areas. This concept is about hanging out with friends enjoying your free time and taking advantage of the unpleasant marks left on your skin after sitting on the ground for some time. The tiles replace these marks with decorative short lasting tattoos on the skin. As fashion comes and goes this tattoo appears and disappears. Tile size: 30 x 30 cm Material: coloured concrete

Lasting Impressions

Face printer by Jule Jenckel

Suggestively clever bed sheets by Finnish designer Martina Carpelan for Helsinki Hotel. Blurb from the website – “Show me your skin and I’ll tell you who you are. Rise and sigh is a collection of revealing bed sheets that plays with incidents often taking place in hotels. Different sleeping positions give different imprints on the sleepers’ body. The imprints give you a hint about last night’s atmosphere, suggest you what to do and tell things about you.The Rise and sigh collection consists of three embroidered bed sets; for the bachelor, for the love affair and for the one night stand.”

Souffrez Pour Moi is the creation of Ninette Van Kamp. Women have always been encouraged to achieve an unrealistic state of 'ideal' beauty even in cases where it has been detrimental to their health. This is apparent in more extreme examples like the Victorian corset and Chinese foot binding. Women, it seems, are willing to suffer for the sake of beauty.

Ninette is interested in conveying this relationship through textiles, looking at seams and mark makings on the body in particular. But on the inside, there are seams, beads, and textured fabric which create imprints on the skin when you wear them.

Incidental body casts


Philip Toledano

Looking at the work of photographer Philip Toledano I came across these images, here the memory of the objects/items of clothing embedded in the body is exciting because of the absence of material. The image by Rankin I found by complete fluke, and so confirms that I somehow must be on the right observational trail. Staring at these images I can recall having the same sensation when I stood in front of the work of Rachel Whiteread. The impossibility of retaining the moment has been overturned by capturing the essence of improbability through the lens.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Snip Snip Snip

Looking at a back issue of View on Colour, Issue 17, I came across these images of hair that send appetizing signals out of perverse cravings for tactility and vibrant hues. My conflicting responses and thought processes are beginning to deconstruct surface application in a less literal sense, creating my own laws of aesthetics. Here I can begin to apply an understanding that looks at geometry, proportion, and ratio in relation to gravity and extreme colour.

This photo of Gemma Ward trimming her fake eyelashes is also fascinating.

Iconic heroes of fur and diamond dust

Peter Lloyd

Couldn't reference masks without highlighting the work of Peter Lloyd. Inspired by his personal observations of Mexican Wrestling subculture, Lloyd created his own iconic heroes for his series of 'Wrestler' prints, each with a highly symbolic visual code. As an artist who had previously always worked in monotone, he was inspired by the colourful and flamboyant costumes to adopt an equally vibrant Latin palette to portray his company of witty alter egos. Just as the wrestlers create their elaborate costumes with appliqued fabrics, Lloyd developed innovative print techniques, incorporating such diverse materials as carborundum, diamond dust, glitter and synthetic fur. These powerful portraits continue a tradition of the marriage of popular culture and fine art, evident in the work of Andy Warhol in America and Peter Blake in England, and it is no surprise to discover that his works can be found in the collections of several contemporary “pop icons”, including David Bowie, Missy Elliot, Vic Reeves and Holly Johnson.

These prints clearly attune to my current interest in fur, however I will be referencing his other works later on.

Iconography of Mask

Inside Lee Baker's Pain Mask

A conversation with Andy this morning has brought Iconography of Mask to my attention. A pity I missed their event. Picking up on many of the threads that have led to my consideration of unconsciously designing for the face, it is good to know that I am not alone.

It appears from looking at the video that they have been loaned the work of Peter Lloyd. They didn't invite him to be part of the event, and I know he would have considered contributing some new work if they had. Will speak to Peter later and ask him to submit new examples of his work to be included on this post soon.

Men whose eyebrows meet

The Mexican artist Frida Kahlo often depicted herself with an exaggerated unibrow and a thin moustache, which was seen as unconventional and purposely unflattering by Western audiences.

Unibrows have been the subject of various misconceptions and superstitions. Victorian criminologist Cesare Lombroso identified unibrows as a sign of criminality. In earlier times they were associated with werewolves; in the 1984 fantasy film The Company of Wolves, the grandmother (played by Angela Lansbury) comments to her granddaughter, "Beware of wind fallen apples and of men whose eyebrows meet". She is later eaten by the werewolf.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

The Big Bad Wolf

Film : FUR - An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus
Nicole Kidman

As its name implies, "Fur" is a is a fictional account and tribute rather than an accurate biography of Diane Arbus, the photographer who shocked and impressed with pictures of people and things that were out of the ordinary. The cinematic Arbus (Nicole Kidman) is torn between a bizarre relationship with a neighbour suffering from hypertrichosis, Lionel Sweeney (Robert Downey, Jr.), and a conventional life with her husband Allan (Ty Burrell), a photographer.

"Fur" is fetishistically sensitive and alert to surfaces and textures. Its images bristle with tactile impressions: fur, wallpaper, fabric, hair, skin. It would be wonderful to capture this sensation.

It may be that my experiments with the language of clothing are made by selecting already recognised and accepted items of make-up and disrupting the cultural expectations of how that facial cosmetic 'is'.

Of Men And Beards , View on Colour - Abstraction, Issue 28
Photos by Dimitri Tolstoy

Werewolf Syndrome

One in 10 billion people is born with hypertrichosis, more commonly known as Human Werewolf Syndrome. This condition is marked by excessive body hair, literally creating a blanket of hair across the body's surface. What is deemed as excessive is a matter of opinion, 'Throughout history, men's facial hair has been been a focus of of appearance and changing grooming practices.' Encyclopedia of Hair: A Cultural History, Victoria Sherrow.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

The Power of Hair to Excite, Unsettle and Amuse

Continuing the theme of the uncomfortable displacement of the use of hair, Meret
Oppenheim's Le Dejeuner en fourrure (The Fur Luncheon) of 1937 also makes visible the containment and ordering of female sexuality where the reference to fur is inherently associated with sex, eroticism and desire. In one part of her complexly associative book, From the Beast to the Blonde, Marina Warner also discusses the work of artist Merit Oppenheim. Oppenheim’s surreal sculpture, Project for Sandals is a transitional object for a woman’s entry into the world of sexual knowledge and liberation. This high-heeled shoe has a furry foot and toes. Less famous than the teacup, but equally erotic, could this be a reference to the mistranslation of Cinderella’s slipper from fur to glass? Clearly, Oppenheim’s imagery is steeped in the language of fairy tales.

Fear of fur: An abnormal and persistent fear of fur is called doraphobia. Sufferers of this fear avoid fur-bearing animals because fur is repulsive to them. Perhaps some of these phobics associate fur with childhood stories about "the big bad wolf" and other fur-bearing predators.

The Ambiguous Meanings of Hair

Death and the Virgin
Alison Brady

New-York based photographer Alison Brady photographs the female body in stylish and often morbid setups, playing on the ambiguous meanings of hair, related both to eroticism and death. By blotting out the identity of these faceless women, she emphasises the aesthetics of their perfect physique. The materiality of their bodily decorations and coverings are heightened by this anonymity also. A sense of revulsion is also indicated, in its most extreme form this fear of hair is related to the phobia Chaetophobia, which would be interesting to investigate further.

Human Instinct and New Animal Archetypes

Video - Bart Hess/Hunt for HighTech

I may be in danger of over indulging in the work of LucyandBart but after watching SHOWStudio's 'Make Up Your Mind' again (and again), I am struck by the sensuality of the dancers responding to the materiality of the hair. The weight, movement, warmth and I daresay the aroma of the wigs, have given the performers and performance a physical vehicle to respond to. The work of Bart Hess, particularly the recorded videos, is very much in the same vein. This time the stillness of the model allows the materials to almost have a life of their own. The sitter is only the host for these new surfaces. Listening to the creak and rustle of the materials , I sense that these exteriors are not there to offer the comfort, warmth or protection usually provided by secondary surfaces to the skin.

BART HESS - In A Hunt for High Tech by we-make-money-not-art.

Human hair and repellent tactility

: SHOWstudio 2008
Nick Knight/Jonathan Kaye/Ruth Hogben

Considering the acceptability of extreme application of tactile materials to the body has led to posting this video. Hair is not always desirable or acceptable, but the curious in me always wishes to touch it, even in socially unacceptable situations. Repellent for some, delightful for others, it is ironic that we spend so much time and effort trying to remove it, and alternatively grooming it. Starting with 'Make up Your Mind' featuring Martin Margiela's 'Wig Coat', it is important to explore what is so frightening about the most natural of all materials.

Friday, 4 September 2009

LucyandBart - elementary ideas with a new vision
Lucy Macrae and Bart Hess

Discussions with S this week have forced my hand and I now have decided to invest my thoughts, images, energy in this diary. I have come to the realisation that make-up as art is an exciting point of debate for a blog. That the face should be a surface to explore, not just a surface to visually enhance for the casual eye is the remit. Finding evidence of these intrusions on the face and body will question the appropriateness of the convergence of make-up design and materials technology, and ask 'what will happen?'. The inability to anticipate end-use applications in advance is key to the dynamics of my enquiry. Anyway, who cares about the outcome, when the journey can be so delightful.

LucyandBart have appeared in my discussions with S, and by sheer coincidence we have referenced different projects but always the same artists/design duo. So here is my first posting, images that I had in my minds eye when I decided to commit to show and tell. And, thank you S.