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Contemporary art

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Artist and photographer Richard Mosse reveals the stories behind the making of his latest film, 'The Enclave' (2013), in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which will be shown in the Irish Pavilion at this year’s 55th Venice Biennale.

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Dextro-list

In an perpetuating series of beautiful and abstract stills, animations, films and applied graphics, Dextro – an original internet artist – has been using the most basic of visual tropes even the earliest web-ready computer could offer; generative algorithms, boid-like figurations and specific pixel display. And with them he has created some of the most extraordinary images that are analogous of so many things in the real world, like waves and light and sand dunes and other poetic commonalities and it’s ongoing! If you haven’t come across this work before, though you’re likely to have seen his imitators, then now is the time to let the almost meditative cumulative artworks remind you of how freaky-cool technology was/is/will be.

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Since the late 19th century, photographers have honed their craft to expose social and political truths existing in their surroundings. The use of collage has expanded on this exploration by allowing artists to reconfigure, cut and fragment photos to create entirely new images and conversations

Utopia/Dystopia: Construction and Destruction in Photography and Collage, a new exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (MFAH), features 150 years of collage, as well as photomontages and moving images, to present “alternative realities” of utopia or dystopia.

The exhibit has more than 100 works, from as early as the 1860s to the present, with origins spanning Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe. The show is organized around three themes: urban visions, figure construction and the quest for a utopian world, and contains pieces drawn from four museums and private holdings.

Utopia/Dystopia is the brainchild of MFAH associate photography curator, Yasufumi Nakamori. “In breaking and reassembling found images to create a new vision, artists have found collage and montage ideal for expressing utopian dreams and dystopian anxieties,” said Nakamori. Featured artists include El Lissitzky, Okanoue Toshiko, Herbert Bayer, Matthew Buckingham, Tom Thayer, among others, and although their work stems from different artistic movements—from Dada to Constructivism—all the artists embrace the compelling process of photography construction and destruction.

Utopia/Dystopia will be on display through June 10 as part of the FotoFest 2012 Biennial, the largest international photography festival in the U.S. 

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In the early 20th century, around the time cars filled our streets, planes found their way into our skies and cameras began to capture our daily life, we started to see space being cut up and transformed in art works. Inextricably linked to this rise of modern technology, collage art took on a new role. While once strictly fantastical, now collage could be utilized to visually pull together reality-based images of day-to-day life. In keeping with the fast pace of 20th-century life, multiple ideas could now exist within one frame.

This new way of creating photo collages took many forms in the past hundred years—seen most distinctly in the works of the Surrealists in the 1920s and the pop artists in the 1960s. Today’s generation of photo collage artists use everything from found images on the Internet and historical reportage to references appropriated from mass global media. Dutch artist Ruth van Beek’s newest book and installment of photo collages, Hibernators, represents this new direction of collage art.

Van Beek uses found photographs, amateur family photographs, newspaper clippings and magazine tears in her work, in which she tries to create something that never existed before. “I try to make the animals come to life again by cutting and folding the paper,” she says. “I restrain them in a new shape. This way I turn them into creatures that are silent like stones, but are also showing a tension.”

Van Beek’s work represents a more controlled, more intimate breed of collage work. Hibernators cuts and folds common domestic pets and animals into creatures that exist somewhere between photography and collage. Through van Beek’s handy work, the facial features of the animals are often removed—further abstracting them from a sense of space. With the loss of distinguishing features, the altered animals begin to take on new identities.

The Hibernators was published this month by RVB books.

Ruth van Beek graduated from the renowned Gerrit Rietveld Academie in 2002. She has shown her collage work both in her native Netherlands, as well as throughout Europe and North America.

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Influenced by surrealism and Dada as well as constructivism, collage was firmly established as an art form in the 1920s and 1930s through the work of artists such as John Heartfield, El Lissitzky, and Hannah Höch. A new title from Gestalten, Cutting Edges showcases a fresh generation of young artists and illustrators using photo-based media in collage.

Curated by artist James Gallagher, starting from his personal collection, Cutting Edges is a selection of current artwork that unites unrelated elements to create something new. Although the artists also use the computer for the purpose of montage, most of the featured collages are made by hand and often include found objects and photographs.


Virginia Echeverria, untitled


Randi Antonsen, “How to Read a Magazine”


Mario Wagner, “Learning”


Célio Braga, untitled


Jelle Martens, “Natuur”


David Wallace, “Lost”


Virginia Echeverria, untitled

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Art historian Diana Poulsen takes a closer look at the "are games art?" discussion, bringing in an academic perspective steeped in knowledge of games to help untangle the thorny question of what art, precisely, is, and what relationship games have with it.

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"The Murderer of Your Heritage" is a immense new site-specific installation piece from Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas. The work, which is currently on display for the 54th Venice Biennale, took almost two months for multiple sculptors, builders and engineers to assemble using clay, cement and wood. The piece also makes 31-year-old Rojas the youngest artist to be nationally represented at the Biennale.

Source: Yatzer

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