Art Archive

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    Oh how convenient, just when you needed a little serotonin boost, BAM! Here come Merijn with some updates of his constantly mind-blowing work. As well as being of the highest and most unique quality, Merijn’s work is also pleasingly varied, making his portfolio a fizzing, glowing party bag of astonishing draughtsmanship. Personally I thought I’d never see anything better than his wood sculptures but I think these twiddly hand-drawn letterforms have taken over for now. That and his saucy MAOAM-esque Soup illustration above which, I think you’ll agree, is perfect.

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    If some people’s minds would manifest themselves as perfectly placid Zen-like spaces (think an up-market provincial spa) I think mine is better represented by Dominique Pétrin. The Montreal-based multidisciplinary artist is interested in “producing altered states of conscience and perception, be it through cognitive or visual illusions, or, for her performances, (through) the use of hypnosis.” The amazing spaces she creates are full of jarring colours, optical illusions and anthropomorphic turds which combine to incredible effect. Even looking at them online you start to feel like you might be hallucinating – is that burger really talking to me? – so I can only imagine how trippy it must be to spend some time there.

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    Archigram was an avant-garde architectural group and magazine formed in the 1960s which sought to stop modernist ideas becoming safe and sterile. Its members continuously pushed the boundaries of their practice in fun and unusual directions, and did so by working only on hypothetical projects; things that would or could never be. The group’s ideas were also the starting point for this blisteringly good piece by Universal Everything. Matt Pyke and his team were inspired by the “utopian visions” of the Archigram adherents, and so created Walking City, a seven-and-a-half-minute video study of modernistic evolution.

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    If there’s one thing that Parisian designers Ill-Studio know better than anything else it’s 90s pop culture. The pair seem to base their entire practice around FILA leisurewear, contemporary cartoons, any number of pairs of AirMax and that horrendous DVD logo that haunted us through the early years of films on disc.

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    There was a time when my appreciation of computer trickery extended no further than making my old PC say my mum’s name when she entered the room (take that Jane!). But that was then, and now we are all far more savvy to the fact that there are creatives out there able to do jaw-dropping things armed with a keyboard and a screen. Chris Labrooy is certainly one such talent, as proved yet again by his new series Auto Aerobics. The weird contortions of cars he’s seamlessly stitched together on what appears to be a New York playground not only reflect Chris’ insane abilities with 3D generation, but are also lovely images in their own right.

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    Rodan Kane Hart is a South African artist and graduate of the Michaelis School of Art in Cape Town. Having only received his bachelors degree in 2011 he’s got a pretty impressive body of sculptures to his name already that broadly deal with the colonial origins of modern South Africa. Though I’d struggle to say that I appreciate the fine details of the concepts behind his practise, I’m incredibly impressed by his use of materials; the balance of industrial and natural substances and the interplay he creates between geometric forms and landscape. Definitely one to watch.

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    Someone farted all the way through the speech given by the Hayward’s curator about the opening of Martin Creed’s What’s the Point of It? to a crowd of journalists. It took a while for everyone to realise that these fart noises were coming from behind us, and it was actually an audio element in Creed’s show.

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    To be totally honest, I didn’t expect to enjoy this film when I started watching it. There’s a long and inglorious tradition of “celebrities” being shoehorned into seemingly random contexts to the point it all starts to resemble an Alan Partridge programme pitch (“Youth Hostelling With Chris Eubank”). But as it turned out I was engrossed for the full four minutes of The Horrors frontman Faris Badwan showing us around Tate Modern’s Paul Klee exhibition. Firstly because Faris studied illustration at Central Saint Martins in the early 2000s and speaks with passion and intelligence about Klee’s work. And secondly the film links to his own artistic endeavours, so we aren’t just told that Klee influenced his pictures but are actually shown how.

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    Tal R is an artist usually recognisable for his vibrant use of colour. He’s built his reputation on packing every degree of the spectrum into a single canvas. So long-term fans might be surprised to discover that his latest book, The Moon , is much more chromatically restrained than usual, printed in muted blues and reds. Don’t worry though, inside you’ll find that Tal’s sense of mischief is still very much intact, the characters within engaging in all sorts of lewd acts and deviant behaviour. They’re all smiling too, so what’s not to enjoy?

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    Sometimes there’s a perfect confluence of creative person and project; a delicious coming-together of right moment and right time for all concerned. Such was the case when Dave Sedgwick of Manchester’s curated outdoor art space Print & Paste was chatting to Liam Hopkins of the Lost Heritage agency.

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    At times we are all guilty of being in thrall to bright colours. That’s no criticism; our brains seem to be hardwired to find them uplifting, and on first glance it was precisely this that drew me to Erin O’Keefe’s latest work. But I was excited to discover the heavyweight conceptual ideas that underpin these gorgeous visuals; eye-candy schm-eye candy!

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    We’ve become accustomed to German publisher Lubok Verlag producing beautifully crafted lino-cut books by a selection of relatively obscure international artists. It’s for this output that we’ve grown to love them; the laborious volumes of print, offering a sense of depth and discovery while simultaneously being aesthetically delightful.

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    Just in case your day was unravelling a bit joylessly, here’s some funny, whimsical artwork to give it a little boost of happiness, like the dash of Ribena in your glass of water, or the spoonful of jam in your porridge. Kirsten Sims is an artist, designer and illustrator from Stellenbosch, South Africa, whose funny images are more or less guaranteed to brighten your day.

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    Ryan Travis Christian first cropped up on the site way, way back when we used to run guest posts at the recommendation of Ann Toebbe. Crazily we’ve never followed up with him since, which is strange because we’re genuinely intoxicated by his extraordinary charcoal drawings that fuse the natural world with Disney faces, paranoia and pop culture and middle-American suburbia with a whole heap of really weird shit. We love it, and we love the fact that there’s someone out there using a medium as traditional and marginalised as charcoal to create something utterly surreal. Anyway, here’s some work from his last show that took place last year; it’s pretty astounding.

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    Polina Soloveichik has such a cool job. In her words “Someone approaches me with a wall or I find a location that is begging for a painting, and then I transform it.” Originally hailing from Russia, Polina is new to Berlin but has already made her mark (literally) all over the city. Despite describing it as a “cold Paradise,” Polina absolutely loves her new home, even more so now she is using her painting skills to create enormous murals all over it. In this nicely-shot film we learn about the life of a mural painter from the first sketches to the magnificent final outcome. I don’t know about you, but I had never even considered that could actually be a job. Turns out it is, and we’re all super-jealous.

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    Artist and designer Taylor Holland enjoys visual trickery. His Frames project used Photoshop’s Content Aware tool to fill in frames of pictures hung in the Louvre and prior to that the Paris-based creative documented the weird and wonderful tour bus graphics he saw in his hometown. His latest project Vector Fields is a series of interactive websites which “explore what happens when the boundaries of sport are manipulated through play.”

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    Pretty hard not to want to peer inside a book of cartoons that “reference both philosophy (Descartes, Hegel, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer) and pop culture (Conan the Barbarian, Peanuts, Suicidal Tendencies.)” One of our favourite artists James Jarvis is back with an absolute whopper of a comic, presented to the world by publishing heroes, Nieves. This 380 page book contains 365 drawings by James, made daily in 2012. Follow his know well-known characters as they grapple with everyday life and contemplate life’s meanings as they skateboard around the place. A must-read for anyone whose life has a Calvin and Hobbes-shaped hole that needs filling.

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    Walead Beshty describes himself a photographer, though his practice is almost unrecognisable as such. Though he often manually develops rolls of film he has no interest in creating images in the traditional sense. Instead his work concerns itself with the relationship of the medium to the world at large and its development through political and social phenomena – the catalyst for which was the destruction of a selection of films during his passage through airport security post 9/11. As a result Walead often works with processes that mirror photography, beginning with a blank medium and allowing a variety of chance circumstances to shape the appearance of the final image.

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    As much as the sculptures of the time insinuate, the average man hanging round the forum in 500 BC didn’t necessarily have rippling quads, a laurel wreath and an angry God hot on his trail. This is perhaps why Tom Price’s sculptures of men he sees hanging around South London ring so true. In these beautiful sculptures of men, toned abs are replaced with beer bellies, divine movements swapped with bored slouching and catapults with mobile phones.

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    What better way to spend your Friday than on Rafaël Rozendaal’s latest creation, Fill This Up. Rafaël is one of the very few people that uses the World Wide Web productively, and he spends his time making websites for us proles to click around open-mouthed like those pigs those scientists convinced to play basic computer games. His latest venture sees him turn the boring browser into a canvas upon which we can drag our cursor around to make pastel shapes unfold like origami in quick succession. Drag to fill the page, click to reverse it back to white. Just like a lot of Rafaël’s work, this is simple, alluring and strangely brilliant.

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    Guy Yanai is a young Israeli artist doing super interesting things with oil on canvas. There’s a strong dash of Hockney in his work, which reconfigures poolsides and tropical landscapes with abstract forms in vibrant, summery strokes, and frankly in the deep dingy grey of January we don’t have a bad word to utter against them.

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    For a man with only 20 paintings and eight drawings surviving as testament to his talents, Hieronymous Bosch has had a phenomenal influence over the world of fine art. Looking back on his works today it’s almost unthinkable that the Dutch painter produced his masterpieces over half a millennium ago – his canvases are so rich both in technical detail and narrative vision. But Bosch predates the Renaissance pioneers upon whom western culture has lavished extraordinary reverence and arguably outshines with the violent brilliance of his imagination.

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    I remember the sense of pomp and circumstance by which the arrival of the full set of Encyclopedia Britannica’s was greeted in our house. In the innocent pre Wikipedia age, if you wanted to know what the capital of Djibouti was or whether lemurs were nocturnal you turned to the relevant EB entry and found out; all much more satisfying than its contemporary equivalent. When the makers of this rich resource announced they were to stop publishing it after 244 years, book artist Guy Laramée (who we last featured two years ago) went to work. Adieu is his tribute to this remarkable publication; using all 24 volumes he has created a landscape that ranges from lush mountains to grassy prairies. In both scope and imagination this is a fitting homage to a publishing institution. By the way it;s Dijibouti City and some types of lemurs are nocturnal, but not all.

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    Since we first covered Atelier Bingo back in July I’ve been following them more or less constantly on Instagram, tracking the development of their hand-built studio and the evolution of their screen printing skills. They’ve been nothing short of prolific in the last few months, turning their renovated space into a hive of activity, setting up an online shop, exhibiting in Korea, creating posters for German music venues, brushing up on their ceramic skills and churning out stunning screen prints as though their lives depended on it. We REALLY hope they’ll keep it up.

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    German artist Katharina Grosse has an obsession with scale. She told as much when we spoke to her for the autumn issue of Printed Pages magazine, an interview in which she revealed she goes surfing in New Zealand every year to reset her own sense of her place against the infinite natural scale. All this puts her latest project in a Brooklyn Park into perspective (in every sense of the word). Just Two Of Us is a series of massive multi-coloured sculptures which have taken over the MetroTech Commons plaza, looking like the architectural remains of a post-punk psychedelic society. It’s bright, bold and inescapably interactive; three things Katharina does as well as any artist we can think of.

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    If you find yourself passing London’s Blackfriars Bridge anytime soon, take a second glance at the house at number 20; artist Alex Chinneck has turned an 18th Century livery upside down. Quite literally. Following on from his incredible From the Knees of my Nose to the Belly of my Toes earlier this year, the artist has created Miners on the Moon as the finale to Merge Festival 2013. Using signage recovered from a reclamation yard he has transformed the building, which was erected in 1780 and originally used as a livery stables housing horses and carriages. Cool, huh?

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    Yayoi Kusama is one of a kind. Her signature polka dots have become widely recognised across the world, gracing trees, Louis Vuitton bags, mannequins and buildings alike, and seeing her rise to success in New York, France and her native Japan in the process. And yet, her entire oeuvre and all of the books she written were created from the confines of psychiatric hospital which she voluntarily submitted herself to in 1977, and has lived in ever since.

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    Interesting how adding an imminent UFO attack to a picture can ramp up the excitement and cool factor up to 11. These images by Paula Lopez Vallejo (or Paulova) we found on Art Nau are her take on vintage rug designs and are a window into an apocalyptic future where aliens sweep the skies as wild horses gallop across the earth. This project is a continuation from her 2011 Damas de Primavera where she used the same technique focusing only on women throughout the ages. We don’t know exactly how Paulova makes these images, but we appreciate their kitsch charm immensely on this cold morning.

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    If ever an image were to make you look twice, these intricate and infinitely layered digital collages from Womankind by María María Acha-Kutscher will do it. Yes, collages! Composed with hundreds of tiny fragments from the internet, magazines, books and the artist’s own photographs, each image is principally concerned with the two key historical moments for women’s emancipation; the British suffrage movement of the early twentieth century, and the introduction of the pill in the 1960s. Reclaiming each tiny piece from its original context and repurposing it in this way allows María to reconsider the meaning within a private, woman-centric sphere.

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    This is not a photo of a studio, this is a photo of a tiny scale model of a studio. It takes quite a lot to shock me these days, I once saw a dog eating another dog in India, but this work genuinely made me stare open-mouthed in awe. The series is by Joe Fig and it is his own way of creating a self-portrait by recreating his studio as a tiny, diorama-esque set. The level of detail is the first thing that gets you, then you see just how homely it looks, how lived in. How did Joe manage to recreate the actual feel of a studio with just a model? Mind-boggling. Check out the actual paintings he makes in his real studio over here on his site, they’re pretty cool too.

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    For the third year running Eastpak has challenged 56 artists across 14 countries to rethink, reimagine and reappropriate a blank backpack and once again the results are fascinatingly diverse and excitingly creative. On the more straightforward end of the spectrum there are designs which play with colour and texture to put the designer’s unique stamp on this unusual canvas; at the other there are those who have turned the bag into something else entirely; rocks, a giant insect, a birdcage.

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    ‘Tis the season of furniture adverts and we’re getting bombarded from all sides by bogus pine warehouses flogging their beige leather numbers at ‘only one nine nine!’ To counteract this is the cooling oasis of Nick V. De Marco’s website, which showcases his extraordinary, ultra non-boring furniture. Sure, Nick’s more of an artist than a carpenter, but it doesn’t mean we want his molecular Void table in every room of our house. Check out the rest of his rather colourful portfolio over on his site.

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    It’s difficult to do more than open a website today before you’re faced with a semi-hilarious internet meme, but Javier Mayoral’s small surrealist paintings are easily the best of them all. The artist, who has received no formal training, paints in his spare time when he’s not working as a chef – a fact that makes the sheer quantity of work that he has produced astounding. Over the last three years he has made around 4,600 of these pieces, usually painting at least five a day, which he then sells on eBay.

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    Blackpool has a certain place in the British psyche that is probably quite mystifying to outsiders, The seaside town is associated with a very particular type of UK holiday experience; smutty but silly, sleazy but in a charming way. It has nostalgic connotations of the resort golden age but also a contemporary cache too, a hedonistic enclave in an increasingly homogenised country.

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    To Seoul everyone, and don’t spare the horses! The artist Do Ho Suh has unveiled his biggest work ever at the city’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and it’s absolutely astonishing. Continuing his explorations of domestic space, the artist has built two exact scale replicas of both his childhood home and his first apartment in the USA. Created using jade silk, the ethereal structures evoke ideas of the relationship between memory and place, and the ways in which physical structures become part f our theoretical personal narratives.

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    Prepare to get knocked sideways into a cosmic, electric lady land of colour and texture in these paintings by Cuban artist Alberto del Pozo. These meticulously drawn portraits of gods and goddesses and tropical scenes of drape-heavy boudoirs are mind blowing! Something mystical about these paintings makes me feel that they wouldn’t look out of place in a Sultan’s palace, nor hanging in the hallway of Del Boy’s flat in Only Fools and Horses. Although visually rich, these paintings have a rather sombre back story – they are inspired by the slave trade, and the forcing of religious practice on to those who believe in another deity entirely. You can read more about them and the artist over here on But Does it Float?

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    If the overarching relationship between art and design is sometimes a complex one, the relationship between particular art movements and design can be equally problematic. How do designers respond to cultural movements rooted in a certain time and place? How are these movements affected when designers co-opt its visual language for their own ends? At what point do these designs become part of the art movement?

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    When I think of football in the 80s I think of the smell of freshly mowed turf, steaming styrofoam cups and old sheepskin coats with packets of Pall Mall tucked inside. Football and smoking kind of go together in a weird way, a similar vibe you really only get when you step into a classic British pub and get that first whiff of stale booze slap bang in your face. Leo Fitzmaurice has picked up on that, and has taken the really quite beautifully designed fag packets of yore and turned them into instantly recognisable football kits. It’s a simple, effective comment on the specific addiction many of us have to sport, and the infinitive nature of competition year after year.

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    Signs that you’ve made it: 1. You have a book of your work out. 2. The text for said book is written by Creative Review editor Patrick Burgoyne. 3. You have an accompanying exhibition of your work at super-cool east London gallery KK Outlet. 4. The press release for said show includes a quote from the people’s philosopher Alain de Botton.

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    Rutherford Chang listens to The White Album every day. As well as doing this, he also spends his time tracking down every single vinyl copy of the album he possibly can. He’s never paid more than $20 or less than $1 for a copy, and he prefers the white LP to be well-used. When his collection began to grow, what he found most exciting about it was the individual way in which each album had been decorated or annotated on by its owner. To provide the public with a blank album was The Beatles’ way of giving it to us to make of it what we wish, for us to decorate it and send it on to Rutherford Chang is precisely the kind of way that it will remain one of the most timeless albums of our time. Great project – see the whole collection in high res over on his site.