Israeli photographer Rubi Lebovitch has a sort of subversive sense of humor, and for the record, we love it. Though his photographs themselves are pretty straightforward, Lebovitch has the uncanny ability to find the absurd in the ordinary. There’s a great cerebral quality to his work, in which the viewer is not guided by a predetermined story arc, but instead can deduce any number of things from his unexpected and beautifully absurd work. For his series Home Sweet Home, Lebovitch utilizes an intimate domestic setting for a veritable fun house. There is a certain charm in Lebovitch’s hyperbole, and ironically enough, you too can display it in your own home in a tidy coffee table book (available here). In his own words, Lebovitch discusses his book: “My photographs deal with domestic scenes captured in straightforward images…characterized by mystery, vagueness and absurdity. I create a twist in familiar sights and build new contexts, thus endowing the scene with new meanings. Mundane objects and domestic spaces are transformed into something strange and surprising. My images do not contain a clear-cut story or plot. The characters are inscrutable to the viewers and difficult to identify; their relationship with the world around them is senseless and they fail to communicate. Rationality is substituted by a twisted and exaggerated worldview. I employ a multiplicity of objects, allowing the objects to grow stronger and take over reality; they occupy and control the space. The scenes depicted in the photographs emphasize what usually remains hidden: the repressed, which cannot be described. The anxiety these scenes arouse undermines the peacefulness and security usually associated with home.”
Via rubilebovitch.com and loeildelaphotographie.com
We’ve seen art created from a wide variety of media, but nothing quite like this. As a matter of fact, if you had to guess how these were created just by looking at them, you’d probably have a hard time figuring it out. Relying on little more than brown packing tape, an Xacto and the filtering of light behind a translucent surface, Amsterdam-based artist Max Zorn’s work is awe-inspiring. The nuance in shading he achieves by layering tape is astounding all on its own. Never mind Zorn’s ability to manipulate the tape so intricately. It’s interesting how these works, composed of such an unexpected and artless material, are so beautiful. Zorn clearly has a penchant for the past, as indicated by his choice of subjects for the majority of his work. Interestingly, Zorn’s fondness for packing tape began as street art, as he describes in his own words: “There’s a lot of great street art by day, but it disappears after dark. I wanted to come up with urban art that uses nighttime as a setting, and there was nothing more inviting than the street lamps in Amsterdam. In the beginning I used packing tape to fill in larger sections of my marker drawings. Once I hung them on street lamps, the light’s effect opened up new ideas with ditching markers and just using tape.”
Via maxzorn.com and YouTube
With the proliferation of digital photography, pared with editing software like Photoshop, photo retouching is basically the norm these days. There has certainly been some controversy (good example here) surrounding the practice, especially when it comes to the issue of misrepresentation. Hungarian photographer/artist Flora Borsi specializes in digital manipulation, but with surprising effect that can even be described as unnerving. Turning retouching on its head, with her project Stockify, Borsi’s work clearly finds inspiration from legendary surrealist painters that came before her, most notably Picasso and Dali. Borsi brings the fundamentals of surrealist artwork, particularly unexpected juxtapositions, to the digital age with this arresting series. In her own words, “In this project I’ve been analyzing some fashion portraits, how perfect they are. So I made the opposite of retouching, somehow I distouched these pictures of perfect models. This project is connected to surrealist painters point of view: beauty wasn’t enough to give me interest. I love imperfections as much as I love surrealism. These pictures are my little monsters, no one wants to look like them, because they are totally unique.”
Most designers know that sometimes in order to really grab an audience’s attention, you need to be edgy, perhaps even controversial. This notion is not lost on Brazilian-born, Hamburg, Germany-based art director Felipe Nunes Franco. His refreshingly unexpected approach to soliciting something as virtuous as organ donation, of all things, is both tongue-in-cheek and thought provoking. For his series, Everyone Has Something Good, Franco skillfully illustrates how even notorious bad guys, both real and fictional, literally have good hearts. Franco’s subjects include Bin Laden, Hitler, Darth Vader and (wait for it) Justin Bieber! Given the sad state of the world, this series could really be ongoing. We’d love to see more!
We are particularly taken with artists who revamp and re-envision everyday objects (here and here and here), giving new meaning to something very familiar. Berlin-based multi-disciplinary artist Sarah Illenberger is particularly adept at this approach, and we especially like her work involving food (which is reminiscent of the great Brock Davis). Illenberger’s conceptual and compelling work is not simply photography, but also art and design. Well known Berlin-based blogger Mary Scherpe says it best, “With a focus on analog craftwork using everyday items, Sarah is renowned for creating vivid, witty images that open up new perspectives on seemingly familiar subjects. Her ability to transform ordinary materials into complex and unexpected visual experiences has been utilized to develop concepts for clients from the fields of culture and business in several countries. In her aim to explore the fertile overlap between art and design, she’s collaborated with numerous photographers and artists, and filled exhibition spaces with self-initiated projects in Paris, Tokyo, and Berlin.”
Prints available here.