I’ve seen photographs of Elmgreen and Dragset’s ‘Prada Marfa’ before. They’re the sort of strange and surreal images that often show up context-free on the likes of Ffffound and Tumblr (and even Google Street View). As a building, it looks as though it shouldn’t exist – it’s as if the whole thing had just been photoshopped into existence. Yet it’s real. Despite having seen it many times before, it’s only recently that I’ve taken the time to discover the context of the work and who made it.
Built in 2005 near the West Texan towns of Valentine and Marfa, ‘Prada Marfa’ is a permanent sculpture created by artist-collaborators Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. Masquerading as a Prada mini-boutique, the sculpture’s door is in fact non-functioning. Instead the building is intended to never be used and never repaired. For the artists, the hope is that over time, the piece will slowly degrade back into the natural landscape.
Despite this “master-plan”, the artists had to briefly deviate when, just three days after it was completed, vandals broke into it, stole some bags and graffitied the exterior. Wikipedia describes the incident best:
A few days after Prada Marfa was officially revealed, the installation was vandalized. The building was broken into and all of its contents (six handbags and 14 right footed shoes) were stolen, and the word “Dumb” and the phrase “Dum Dum” were spray painted on the sides of the structure. The sculpture was quickly repaired, repainted, and restocked. The new Prada purses do not have bottoms and instead hide parts of a security system that alerts authorities if the bags are moved
This is only one of a number of great(?) stories about the installation. In late-2009 the New York Times writer Daphne Beal was passing through the isolated stretch of Highway 90 when she stopped by the installation. For her, the work’s punch-line felt a little pat, yet when she discovered a series of business cards lined up along a ledge at the bottom of the installation she couldn’t help but feel a strangely moved. “The idea of so many people passing through” she said “was strangely moving”. For Beal there was something special about all these people who passed by and wanted to prove they were there.
You can take what you will from Elmgreen and Dragset’s installation – from the stories above it’s clear that people already have. Personally I think it’s an interesting and unique piece of art. Standing on it’s own, this Prada shop is isolated from its usual urban surroundings. Elmgreen and Dragset have taken a symbol of luxury and juxtaposed it with the romantic landscape of the Texan desert. It’s a surreal and jarringly image, and one which is filled with a dry sense of irony and a strange sense of odd isolation.
There’s a lot to love about this Nicolas Jaar remix of Shlohmo’s ‘Rained the Whole Time’. Appearing on Shlohmo’s Vacation EP 12″, the remix proves once again that Nicolas Jarr really can do no wrong. His take on Henry Laufer’s track is just wonderful and I was delighted to see that the guys at Video Marsh had created an accompanying video for it.
Its combination of visuals and music really bring the whole thing to a new place and both elements together end up creating an experience which is best to just let wash over you. What I really love here is the mystery surrounding what exactly we’re watching. The subtle fluid movements and strange color combination feel like perhaps it’s simply paint, but other times it definitely feels as though we are being taken deep inside the human body. It’s mesmerizing stuff.
Found through Gorilla vs. Bear
Sami Viljanto is an illustrator based between Helsinki and Berlin. His drawings are just bursting with energy. Each image he makes seems to be cram-packed with fun and playful characters and they jump from the page with bright and lively colors. It’s hard not to feel happy when looking at his work. I could honestly stare at the bottom illustration for an hour and not get bored – those crazy little birds of his are just so cute and crazy! Check out more of his work over on his website Grande Deluxe.
We’ve featured the German photographer Rüdiger Nehmzow on this blog before, but looking through his portfolio again, I can’t help but want to feature some more of his stunning photographs with you today. His photography is just incredible. His set entitled Cities and Roads is particularly striking and a really good example of what he does so well.
Documenting the urban-landscape, Nehmzow’s series shows the absurdity and strange beauty that exists in our modern world. His images are filled with the endless sprawl of the city and nearly every photograph in the set highlights the near never-ending nature of our modern architectural spread. Nehmzow’s work is governed by a sharp eye and one which clearly appreciates the beauty, contrasts and awe within our world. Check out the complete set over on Nehmzow’s website.
To tell the truth, I’m probably not the first person you should come to if you have questions regarding the Quantum Theory of Atoms in Molecules. In fact, if you’ve even just got some simple questions about the basics of chemical bonding then you’d probably still have to ask somebody else. That said, I really love the look of this beautiful wooden molecule set by the guys at Ferm Living.
Each set contains 24 atoms which join together to create a uniquely designed molecule. The finished piece looks really beautiful and I like the way that the set draws a nice link between design and science. Also – how could you not feel like Bruce Banner if you had one of these taking pride and place in your studio!
Last year the LA-based musician Mr. Little Jeans‘ released this excellent cover of Arcade Fire’s ‘The Suburbs’. If like me, you somehow missed this track then you really should check it out. As covers go, this is a master-class on how they’re done.
Mr. Little Jeans is the stage-name of Monica Birkeness, a Norweigan musician who is now based in the US. Recently she signed to Sony and later this summer they’ll be putting out her debut album. With a sound this sharp and a record deal with the likes of Sony, there’s really no doubt that we’ll be hearing a lot more of her in the coming months. Indeed, just last week she released her lead single Runaway which is already starting to make waves on the Internet. Check out more of what she does over on Soundcloud.
Hengki Koentjoro is an Indonesian fine art photographer who takes stunning photographs of the natural world. His images explore the beauty of nature and the mysteries that it holds. For Koentjoro, photography is not just a way of expressing his most inner soul, for him – he says – it is also “a window to the world where through his pictures the unseen and the unspoken can be grasped”.
Koentjoro’s portfolio really does hold an overwhelming amount of good work, and he displays a real understanding and sensibility when it comes to shooting in black and white. If you are a fan of black and white fine art photography then you really should make sure to check out more of his work. Koentjoro also keeps a Flickr page and has a large collection of photographs over on Art Limited.
The color schemes and patterns on these postcards are just so cool that I just had to share them with you. Designed by the London based designer Agata Grela, they were created last year to promote GF Smith’s new color range.
There’s really something kind of fresh about them but they also have a very retro vibe to them too. For me, Agata’s patterns really makes the color schemes work together and her use of pattern is designed to explore different aspects of color theory – so one postcard looks at juxtaposition while another explores advancing and receding colors. It’s this use of color theory that I think really pulls the colors together and creates a striking set of beautifully abstract images.