Monday, April 23, 2012

Polly Morgan

My friend Emilie Gomez (see her article > here <) has always had a strong interest in taxidermy and during our time in art school she was always talking about taking classes to learn the technique. Could sound a bit strange but not if we look at it in a poetic way. The taxidermy as a solution  to animal extinction ? "I have spent my whole life trying to approch animals who tried to escape. The only way I can look at them quitely is when they are dead" says Polly Morgan, a british artist. 

Polly Morgan's work in itself is meticulous, dark and poetic. She stages small scenes of a robin lying on a prayer book, lovebirds looking at their reflection in mirrors, or a mouse suspended by a helium balloon. Why I really like her work is because it produces a mixture of repulsion and childish attraction. Animals rest in peace in a dollhouse decor under a bell jar. (like Mike Kelley Kandor see article > here <

During her first exhibition she was approached by artist Banksy who bought her her first artwork. Thanks to him, she participated to one of his exhibitions and left her waitressing job to devote herself  to her art. 

Cinque Terre

For Easter, I went to the most romantic place ever, The Five Lands, a national park that figures in the Unesco World Heritage Site.
A jewel located on the coast of the Italian Riviera where five little villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riommagiore hoisted on rocks face the calm waves of the Mediterranean sea. Red ocher terraces are built up to the cliffs and overlook the immensity of the skyline. It took us 5 hours to connect the different villages as cars cannot reach them from the outside.
Last october, Vernazza was severely affected by torrential rains and the village is still devastated. It was swallowed by a gigantic landslide and all the mud rests at the bottom of the village just below the church. What a nice weekend out of time !

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Alex Prager by Monica Gaitan

Alex Prager became a photographer during a postadolescent panic, when she suddenly feared that her life might turn out boring. She’d traveled in Europe and never got around to attending high school, and back home in Los Angeles with a GED, she was working dead-end jobs. “I found myself 18 years old without a normal background and realized I could be working as a receptionist my whole life,” she says. “I was very unhappy and had gotten myself into debt traveling on my credit cards and buying my friends sushi all the time, and I had this moment when I ­realized it wasn’t a temporary situation that would disappear when my real life began. I needed to do something that I thought was important.” When she was 21, she walked into the Getty Museum and saw a William Eggleston picture of “a pair of dirty shoes under a bed” and knew she had to be a photographer. She went home and bought a 35-mm. Nikon and some darkroom equipment on eBay.

Eleven years later, Prager’s work, full of cinematic sex, death, and portent, takes place in a sort of receptionist’s daydream world, if that receptionist often stays up too late watching vintage melodramas and likes to stare at herself in the mirror while crying. They’re elaborate film outtakes, frequently starring her stylish young friends, as well as her hometown. “Everywhere you look in L.A., you can imagine some sort of drama taking place,” she explains.
Prager’s work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney, and she’s also shot for fashion magazines like W and Vogue. In the last few years, her cinematic perspective has turned into actual mini-cinema. “People kept asking me: ‘What was happening just before or after, in the story line of the character?’ she says. “To move the still photograph a little to the left and the right.” That turned into Despair, a video art piece starring an overwrought Bryce Dallas Howard, hell-bent on suicide, wearing the perfect sea-green dress to complement her red hair. Despair was inspired by the 1948 feature film The Red Shoes, in which a ballet dancer can’t resolve her professional ambition and her need to be loved, and kills herself. Prager says she identifies with the character’s disconsolateness, if not with the desire to end it all.
The Trailer for La Petite Mort

She’s had some help making the transition to moving pictures: Despair, for example, shared a director of photography with Black Swan, and a top special-effects house took her work on as a labor of love. “I think people in the movie industry get excited about doing something a bit different,” she suggests. They also know an up-and-coming star when they see one.
Her next short film, called La Petite Mort, will be released later this month, jointly with her latest photo series. The film is inspired by the “intensity of feeling you get in orgasm or right before death,” she says, adding quickly that “It’s not soft porn or anything.” (It opens with a narration based on a story her mother told her about being in such intense pain when giving birth to her that she had an orgasm. Then Prager mentions that she’s not sure her ­mother would want her to tell that story.)
The photos themselves, a selection of which appear on these pages, and a show of which opens at Yancey Richardson this week, are from a series called “Compulsion.” They’re elaborately staged, and then digitally manipulated. “The photo shoot is only about 40 percent of the image,” she says. “I can do all my planning and prepping, but I know that 95 percent of what I shoot is not what I see in my head. I’m using it as a foundation, in the same way a painter might: adding clouds, adding a car.” They speak to our inability to avert our gaze from disaster, and to that end, each is paired with a Man Ray–ish close-up of an eye. Some eyeball models she recruited off ­Craigslist, which is also where she got the Chevy that she (digitally) sank into Highway 101. “I still had to buy it and take the engine out and put it in a body of water to get the right reflection. There are some things you can’t fake.”
The inspiration, she says, comes from her reading too much local news online. “It wasn’t like I wanted it to be the theme,” she says. “It just kind of happened. Who can deny all the apocalyptic talk of 2012, the birds falling from the sky? There was some creepy shit going down.”

Eye #9 (Passenger Casualties)

Prager photographing 11:45 p.m., Griffith Park

3:14 p.m., Pacific Ocean
Photo: Alex Prager/Courtesy of Yancey Richardson Gallery

7:12 p.m, Redcliff Ave

4:29 p.m., Van Nuys

Monica Gaitan.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The hyper-realism of Dirk Dzimirsky

No lies, these are drawings ! Dirk Dzimirsky a german artist who excels in pencil and charchoal drawing. 
His work reminds me to some extents of the hyper-realism of Gerard Richter >See article here<. 
On large scale, he draws portrait which appear suspended in time with very internalized expressions. The incredible precision and resolution of the drawing render a truthful sometimes disturbing humanity.Wonderful.

Bruce Davidson

Bruce Davidson is, like Martin Parr > see article <,  another photographer from the famous Magnum agency.
In this interview he looks like one of the old men my brother used to fish with. But he's definitely more than a retired sunday fisherman. He appears like a shaman blessed by photography "I have this vision of highways and trees, of the nature that always find a way to live even under concrete."What a nice metaphor to describe the city of angels...

His cliches of the city are one of the most poetic I've ever seen. Like most people, I guess, I'm tired of urbanscapes in black and white that have invaded every tasteless living rooms and "design" restaurants. Davidson's cliches show a more unexpected face of the city, the reverse side.

This interview has been proposed by my friend Monica, a very passionate and smart girl who has very interesting artistic tastes.

"If I am looking for a story at all, it is in my relationship to the subject - the story that tells me, rather than that I tell" Bruce Davidson

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Five Lands

A photo novel I just made where I mixed images of Chicago, Cinque Terre, Paris, London and Britanny.  A fictional story of a woman marked by a frozen sun on a music by Philip Glass "Metamorphosis".

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Electrical Birds

I made this video at 6 a.m when leaving our hotel to visit the Cinque Terre. A hawk scared all the birds and it was like they were dancing around electric cables and I thought I would take the risk of being shit on just to have a memory of it. 
The music "Phone Call"is by Jon Brion.

Blue Velvet

For Easter I've been carried away to the Cinque Terre (Five Lands) in Italy. Before posting on it I would like to stop on this random girl I met in front of La Spezia train station and that deserves a place somewhere on the internet.
I love everything about her : the carefully polished nails, the blue velvet glasses matching the blue dress with hearts, the golden african necklace with giraffe and this amazing suitcase !
If I were the painter Ingres strolling in the streets of Firenze few centuries ago I would have chosen her to be my muse.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Clock

Christian Marclay has created this 24 hours clock out of thousands movie exerpts tocking through seventy years of film history.

Here is a 3 minutes exerpt.