Art Archive

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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.

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    Luxembourgian artist Simone Decker likes to make work that’s BIG, playing fast and loose with her audience’s sense of perspective, scale and in many cases, reality. She’s a master of using strange materials to create extraordinary spectacles. In previous shows she’s covered entire exhibition spaces in reflective tape – and clothed all her visitors likewise – turning them all into a vibrant white at the flash of a camera, created a glow in the dark bridge over a canal and covered an entire park with sticky tape. Her work encourages a physical level of participation from her audience, inviting them to climb over objects, try on new outfits and get stuck to trees.

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    The humble typewriter has taken a bit of a bashing since its old rival, the word processor, came into being, and was then pretty much forgotten altogether when we all decided to invite computers into our homes full-time. Now those beautifully complex mechanical machines are only found on the desks of first year art students (all of them) to show off to their new housemates that they’re edgy as hell and really enjoy things that are second hand.

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    There’s a lot written about how in these days of digital, we hanker for real-world experiences and interactions. Bu Chinese artist Xu Bing has twisted this idea with his new installation at The V&A museum in London, creating an artwork that visitors can never fully experience, and with good reason.

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    SpY is an artist taking street-level communication to a new level. Stemming from simple observations he makes while out and about in the city, he creates large-scale installations and paintings that challenge society’s accepted passivity, encouraging active viewing from passers by and transcending the limitations of graffiti that we’ve become so used to seeing on a daily basis.

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    By day Drew Tyndell is a freelance director who makes animations for Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon and suchlike, but by night he creates his own brand of puzzle-inspired wooden artworks using wood. Combining sculpture, painting and collage in one unique blend, his work is rooted in a graphic design education, using wooden blocks in strong colours to make subtle references to a grid form and to architectural processes.

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    The press release for a new series of digital paintings by husband and wife duo Rob and Nick Carter states that it “creates rare intersection between Old Master connoisseurship and contemporary new media art.” Technically that’s true, but it’s a bit like describing a parachute jump purely in terms of physics, shorn of the visceral emotional response so central to the experience. Because Transforming is (to coin a phrase) f**k-me fantastic. Working with visual effects experts MPC, Rob and Nick have taken four 16th and 17th Century paintings and turned them into staggeringly impressive living pieces; so flowers wilt, maggots ooze out of a dead frog and the reclining nude stirs in her sleep.

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    At this year’s Here conference I introduced Andy Rementer to the stage saying that “we feature him so often on the site he probably thinks we have a bit of a crush on him, which we basically do.” I’m not saying I regret saying that necessarily but I have replayed it in my mind a few times wondering just how appropriate it was. Nonetheless Andy got in touch a few weeks ago telling us about his new project which sees his bright and colourful cavalcade of characters go all 3D.

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    When David Maisel was visiting an old, disused psychiatric hospital, he was beckoned into a small room by a prisoner who had been brought in from the local jail to clean up the building, who had gotten to know the building well. The prisoner referred to the room as The Library of Dust and David was soon to discover that it was crammed floor-to-ceiling with nearly 4000 identical copper tins containing the ashes of patients who had died in the hospital from the 1880s to the 1970s. Respectfully, David took a selection of the canisters and photographed them in turn, segregating them and focusing on the incredible, luminous patterns that had now formed on the decaying copper.

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    I am getting to an age where more and more of my friends are getting married (2013 was the year of the gift list). Getting to know friends as part of a couple is an interesting experience, seeing how their personalities manifest separately and together in this new context. Longtime friend of the site Lenka Clayton has found an innovative way to explore this idea in her new project One Brown Shoe. She asked 100 married couples around the world to make a single brown shoe using materials found in their houses. They were asked to do this in secret and not discuss the project with their significant other. The results came in various shapes and sizes, made from materials as varied as cat food boxes to Cuban cigars.

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    Kuhl and Leyton are Brad Kuhl and Monique Leyton, two graduates from Miami who began collaborating while studying at Cornell University, Ithaca. Their fine art practice deals predominantly with illuminating the darker side of contemporary culture, creating pieces that act as a social commentary and a critique of capitalism. In this series, Elite Deviance, the pair explore the fraudulent crimes of the United States’ super-rich, creating a day-glo visual indictment of their extraordinary crimes.

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    I saw Jules’ work at Frieze this year, glowing like a beacon through the endless throngs of people flocking to see their reflections in a Koons. His paintings are huge, which is probably because he likes to cram a tonne of stuff inside them making each masterpiece like a scene from an exciting, adventurous novel. I don’t know if he’s taking these incredible epic snapshots from old books on blunderbusses or italian romance or if he’s drawing inspiration merely from his own memories. Either way, his foggy rays of sunlight, breezy boat outings and portraits of Clint Eastwood are transporting me to different and far more favourable worlds, and I’m incredibly glad I came across his work.

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    How’s this for a platter full of surrealist artwork to tuck right into? Eun Ji Ryu’s abstract paintings call up notions of weird wonderlands and graphic art inspired landscapes, and with two of these very unique paintings named “Living Room” I can barely contain my curiosity as to what Eun’s house might look like. Just to add to my already inquisitive mind, the series is called Gaze Inside raising all kinds of interesting questions about interiority, visual architecture and the like.

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    What is Daniel Gordon? Photographer? Artist? A hybrid of the two? We’ll go for hybrid. See, Daniel’s practice is made up of both photographic and sculptural processes, using found photos, magazine cuttings and coloured paper to build three-dimensional collages that are then photographed as a final 2D piece. It’s a complex journey for individual images, but one that Daniel travels expertly. The results feel like props from a Peter Gabriel video or a Guy Bourdin photograph made from paper; all bold colours, pouting lips and sensuously placed fruits. That’s what you get when you undertake an MFA at Yale; compositional perfection!

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    “Art is not always things created by people who call themselves artists,” said writer Barry Schwabsky, an observation that sums up an interesting new book from Phaidon. As shifting cultural, social and technological contexts change the way we look at art and how we define what is or isn’t worthy of this appellation, authors David Carrier and Joachim Pissarro have put together a collection of work that explores this brave new world. It’s a celebration of the kind of imagery which blows up the blogosphere but which wouldn’t normally trouble the so-called art establishment.

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    Oh, the hours of my childhood spent with my nose pressed up against the TV screen watching every tiny pixel change colour, my mum barking in the background to “get back or you’ll ruin your eyes!” (Insert the voice of Brian’s mum from Life of Brian here). Nicolas Sassoon makes computer art that induces my tender memories of that experience, and to very cool effect. Alas, screenshots just do not do it justice; to understand the full impact of Nicolas’ mind-bending, headache-inducing creations you need to spend a good couple of hours on his website, gaping open-mouthed like you couldn’t care less what either a caring parent or your ophthalmologist might think. And frankly, we don’t. Sorry mum.

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    Late on a Friday night, when city boys spill out of the bars with the smell of entitlement in their nostrils (that and cocaine), Shoreditch can feel a little bit like hell on earth. But this underworld connection became more literal last week when to mark their new show, Warren du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones installed an amazing mural of the Gates of Hell on an east London wall. The huge piece full of nightmarish writhing torsos was to help promote Erebus a new film piece from the talented duo. The photos are nice enough but the time-lapse below gives you a real sense of how this eye-catching work came together.

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    Times when bigger is DEFINITELY better; burgers, hugs, nights out, thread installations. This last truth is proved beyond doubt by Chiharu Shiota’s new piece for Eastbourne’s Towner Gallery, where she has created a jaw-dropping piece using thousands of metres of black wool that seem to have colonised the space like some sort of organic nightmare. The piece includes five wooden doors (taken from old Berlin apartments) which suggest beginnings and endings within a context that seems to have neither. This is an astonishing piece of work that probably needs to be seen in the flesh to be properly appreciated, but these photos do a darn fine job as the next best thing,

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    Bruised sunsets, sleek vintage cars, twisted album covers and distorted movie stills are all subjects that preoccupy Eric White, a New York-based painter whose work is laden with surrealist flourishes. Looking at Eric’s work feels like sitting in some grubby Brooklyn cinema, watching a late-night special that gets weirder and weirder as you give in to sleep, or browsing in a record store run by some lunatic that paints his own covers. That’s not to say that Eric’s a lunatic – although he does paint his own versions of classic record sleeves – but he’s channeling something darker and more urgent than the pop-culture images he references, imbuing them with sinister connotations that unsettle and unnerve.

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    It’s been ages since we last wrote about Tom Sewell but that hasn’t stopped him coming over for lunch, hanging about at the pub in the evenings and generally being ever-present in our lives. On Friday he came over and decorated some of our computer screens with Post-It notes advertising his website, so we thought maybe it was time to feature him again if only to stop him ruining all the office hardware with adhesives. He’s been a busy little fellow since last time, refining his luminous imagery to reach maximum, show-stopping effect; printing on fabrics, developing animations and going rogue in the woods. There’s fewer luncheon meats in his work than in previous years though which, if we’re honest, we miss a little bit. Sausage comeback?

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    Matthew Weston Taylor’s artwork makes for perfect coffee break viewing. On first glance his paintings might seem like a hazy collection of obscure blobs, but if you scrunch up your eyes and remove yourself from the chaos surrounding you for just a minute you’ll see dozens of little characters squatting on tropical beaches, hunched up about to dive into pools and brooding in the midst of a copse of trees. The raw edges and muted colours make for a welcome break from the sharp angles and defined lines which usually regulate the images we find around us, and Matthew’s dreamworld is one we’re happy to drift into.

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    I have to admit, I’ve developed a bit of an obsession with miniatures of late; from Alber Napoleon Wildner to William Child the concept of building a universe only to make an artwork from it fascinates me. Amy Bennett is another artist whose practice is based on miniatures, but her process differs in an important way; Amy creates whole intricate sets complete with miniature models not to photograph but to paint detailed narrative paintings from, allowing her complete control over lighting, composition and vantage point.

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    You might remember us talking about Ai Weiwei’s impressive Forever Bicycles installation in January (if you don’t you should – we made a terrible but unavoidable joke about Katie Melua) and this weekend he recreated it in Toronto for La Nuit Blanche, an all night arts and culture festival.

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    American illustrator and designer Skip Hursh was born and raised in the mid-west before making the hallowed pilgrimage to New York to ply his trade as a freelance creative among the ramshackle warehouse conversions of Brooklyn. By day (like many of our favourite US illustrators) he can be found animating and designing for kids’ TV channel Nickelodeon and by night he keeps himself busy with personal projects when he’s not working slavishly for freelance clients.

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    Dayanita Singh may take photographs but she is most definitely an artist before she is a photographer – a fact which the Hayward Gallery seem to be acutely aware of in their new exhibition of her work entitled GO AWAY CLOSER.

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    Keiichi Tanaami is arguably the Milton Glaser of Japan – he’s only seven years younger and enjoyed a similar level of success – a prolific image-maker, designer and artist with a penchant for the off-beat and psychedelic. Unlike Glaser however, Tanaami enjoyed phenomenal success as a fine artist. In fact, his ability to operate simultaneously as designer, artist and illustrator is pretty much unprecedented allowing him the freedom to produce a truly intimidating body of work over his lifetime – and he’s still going.