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Art

Bizarre Installations and Figurative Sculptures by Mark Jenkins Upend Notions of Reality

May 9, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Mark Jenkins, shared with permission

“I think my art is at its best when it’s subconscious-driven,” says Mark Jenkins. Veering from the witty and absurd to the disorienting and bizarre, Jenkins’ body of work confronts perceptions of reality through the surreal: a life-sized figure climbs a fire escape upside down, limp legs hang from a dumpster, and toast springs up from a sewer grate.

Whether installed in alleys and urban areas or within the stark, white space of a gallery, Jenkins’ sculptures are theatrical and logic-defying, and each piece mimics “life to the point where it becomes real, to me,” he shares. “Creating an alternative reality has been the solution for my mental health. I find reality a bit depressing with death and all, politics, war, celebrities, etc., and that all the stars are so far away we can never really get to know the universe.”

Jenkins is currently working in Los Angeles and soon headed to Le Havre, France, for his next project. You can follow his practice and explore an expansive archive of his sculptures on his site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

A Miniature Arcade, Art Museum, and Dock by AnonyMouse Squeeze into Malmö's Streets

April 11, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © AnonyMouse, shared with permission

The traveling collective known as AnonyMouse squeaked through Malmö’s bustling streets the last few weeks installing the latest additions to its tiniest cultural scene. After working in cities across Europe, the unidentified group visited the Swedish coast to wedge a miniature art museum, arcade, and shipping dock just big enough for a few mice into the long-established architecture. Built at street level, each minuscule creation is an elaborate and witty rendition of its human-sized counterpart: games like “Feline Fighter 2″ and “Cheese Invaders” are packed into the glowing arcade, while small boats, a cafe, and an ominous flag printed with a mouse and crossbones appear at the inland port.

AnonyMouse is currently headed to its next unannounced destination, and you can follow its latest adventures on Instagram.

 

 

 



Animation

The Endearing 'Marcel the Shell with Shoes On' Returns with a Feature-Length Mockumentary

April 6, 2022

Grace Ebert

An adorable little shell with one googly eye, pink shoes, and a charming sense of humor is back in the limelight this summer. Announced this week, a feature-length mockumentary from A24 will follow the iconic “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On,” whose debut stop-motion short directed by Dean Fleischer-Camp was a viral sensation a decade ago when it garnered myriad awards, prompted two sequels, and spurred an illustrated book.

Once again voiced by actress Jenny Slate, the quirky character is found living with his grandmother Connie and pet lint Alan. Their life involves watching hours of 60 Minutes, gardening a tiny window box, occupying tiny treehouses designed by Jedediah Corwyn Voltz (previously), and now, searching for their long-lost family following a mysterious tragedy. Watch the heartwarming trailer above, and find “Marcel the Shell with the Shoes On” in theaters on June 24. (via Uncrate)

 

 

 



Art Craft

Classic Cartoons Suspend Tense Moments of Sabotage in Embroidery

April 5, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Performance Anxiety.” All images © Peter Frederiksen, shared with permission

From Looney Tunes and Mickey Mouse to The Simpsons, cartoons have a long history of imagining the most ridiculous, chaotic moments possible and dramatizing them into absurdity. The animated characters and their hijinks are rooted in humor, and yet, as artist Peter Frederiksen recognizes, they also have a more sinister side. “Violence is a shorthand for conflict, confrontation, fears,” he tells Colossal, noting that many iconic cartoons were created post-war or have been produced during times when “violence was in the ether… I don’t put guns in embroideries because I like guns. I put guns in embroideries because they’re an escalation. They’re overcompensation. They’re anxiety and fear.”

Frederiksen has spent the last few years zeroing in on the antagonism in these classic scenes and preserving their short-lived nature in dense embroideries. He renders knives piercing a closed door, tied bedsheets pulled taught as they drop out of a window, and hands twisting into knots while attempting to play the piano. Tightly stitched onto a canvas with a machine, the works are true to their original source in color and style, although Frederiksen precisely crops each scenario from its surroundings.

Decontextualized and infused with action, the nostalgic works are simultaneously familiar in their imagery while unrecognizable in the scope of a larger narrative. “They tell a story in as ominous a way as I’m aiming for, maintaining the sort of tension I’m building with a scene,” he says. “I also enjoy thinking about rendering these tight little scenes as a mirror to what I’m physically doing, using my hands in small little ways to make something happen.”

The Chicago-based artist has a number of shows scheduled for this year, including at Postmasters Roma in May and a solo exhibition at New York’s Massey Klein in September. Until then, follow his work on Instagram. (via The Guardian)

 

“Set Up For Failure”

“Won’t Hold Forever”

“You Don’t Need a Reason”

“Some Time Outside”

“The Trap Has Been Set”

“What Have I Done?”

“It’s Exactly As Bad As You Think”

“All My Suspicions Confirmed”

 

 



Art Design

'Real Time' Uses Amusing Manual Techniques To Track the Passage of Each Minute

March 18, 2022

Grace Ebert

Part of a series of performances centered on cumbersome and surreal timekeeping devices, Maarten Baas’s “Sweeper’s Clock” chronicles two men as they track each passing moment with heaps of garbage. The aerially shot film follows the pair as they push lines of trash representative of the minute and hour hands around a large circle faintly defined in the landscape, keeping time as they go.

Released in 2009, the video piece parallels other clever works in Baas’s Real Time series, including a painter manually unveiling a digital display and another showing the Dutch artist trapped inside a grandfather clock. Visitors to the international terminal of the Amsterdam airport in 2016 were also greeted with “Schiphol Clock,” an analog device suspended from the ceiling in which a man adjusted the time by hand. “The worker’s blue overalls, yellow rag, and red bucket pay homage to the famous Dutch artist, Mondrian,” Baas writes.

Watch more of the artist’s works at the intersection of art, film, and design on Vimeo. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



Art

Ironic Self-Help Titles Painted by Johan Deckmann Cure Existential Woes

March 15, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Johan Deckmann, shared with permission

A trained psychotherapist, Johan Deckmann (previously) has stacks of books to remedy our most painful emotional struggles and existential dread. His collection includes the massive “Your chances of changing the world,” the much slimmer “Your chances of changing yourself,” and the dismally timely “How to take a deep breath and go on even though everything feels so wrong.”

Often painted on soft, cloth covers evocative of vintage self-help manifestos, Deckmann’s ironic titles are steeped in our culture of incessant improvement and tend to be brutally honest about human limitation. His straightforward messages are not unlike those found in a therapist’s office and harness the power of simple language to confront contemporary dilemmas. “The idea of writing on books comes partly from my work as a psychotherapist, a music composer, and lyricist. I like the idea of distilling words to compress information, feelings, or fantasies into an essence, a truth,” said the Copenhagen-based artist.

Deckmann is participating in a group exhibition up through May 15 at Sala Amós Salvador in La Rioja, Spain, and will be at the Venice Biennale next month with the Gervasuti Foundation. He also has a solo show later this year at San Francisco’s Modernism, and you can find an expansive collection of his poignant messages on Instagram.