Anything but Ordinary

27.02.2012 | Art , Blog | BY:

There are many words to describe Claude Cahun: feminist, political activist, Surrealist artist, poet, writer, photographer, actress. However, the word thought-provoking seems to say it best.

Born in 1894 as Lucy Schwob in Nantes, she began practicing her most well-known form of creative expression, self portraits, at 18 years old. Produced under her pseudonym and playing between the extremes of androgyny and hyper-femininity, Cahun’s images express the idea that gender and sexuality perhaps aren’t always an A or B answer.

Involved in a life-long romantic and artistic partnership with her stepsister, and as a member of Georges Bataille’s left-wing organisation Contre-Attaque in Paris, Cahun was no stranger to controversy. In protest against the fascist regime of WWII, she distributed oppositional pamphlets combining governmental critic and poetic rhythm among the soldiers.

At a time where not even religious freedom was granted, Cahun’s defiance of political, gender, sexual and aesthetical conventions within society is remarkable. In her anti-realist, autobiographical work Aveux Nos Avenus, she wrote:  “I will follow the wake in the air, the trail on the water, the mirage in the pupil … I wish to hunt myself down, to struggle with myself.”

This internal struggle, both emotionally and on the artistic surface, helped make Cahun not only an intriguing artist, but also an inspirational legend.

Entre Nous: The Art of Claude Cahun is on display from February 25 to June 3 at The Art Institute of Chicago.
www.artic.edu

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The Art of Fantasy

23.02.2012 | Art , Blog | BY:

Ever since the likes of Salvador Dali and René Magritte began blurring the lines between the worlds of fantasy and reality, the creative arts have had a special relationship with surrealism.

Opening today, the Mythologies exhibition at Rivington Design house, curated by Marlo Kronberg and Christine Bílý, continues to explore this correlation through photography, sculpture and film. Featuring the work of artists Bek Andersen, Wendy Bevan, Stefan Milev, Jordan Sullivan, and Paulina Otylie Surys, the group show aims to explore a muse that exists in this duality of fantasy and reality, ancientness and modernism, masculinity and feminism.

Twin spoke to photographer Paulina Otylie Surys on the eve of the exhibition’s opening about the power of artistic collaborations, her muses and surrealism in the arts…

How would you describe your photography work in a few words?
An expression of the most precious thoughts of a moment. The pursuit of old traditional techniques and a never ending experiment, a quest for perfection in the craft.

How does it feel to be exhibiting in a show of such diverse artistic talent?
When Marlo Kronberg, the curator of the Mythologies exhibition,  approached me,  I really liked the idea of the show. I also admire a lot the other artists who are participating  in the project together with me, I think that their works are great, really powerful. I appreciate any form of great art, all the artists in the exhibition have a similar sublime vibe of reverie. I believe it is going to be a really beautiful event.

The theme of the exhibition is magic realism. What does the term mean to you in regards to your work?
I really enjoy creating surreal and unique situations in my works—merging the world of reality with that of imagination, illusion and hallucination. I have always been a big fan of the Lo Real Maravilloso [meaning marvelous reality in Spanish, the term was first coined by Alejo Carpentier in his 1949 novel The Kingdom Of This World] motif in film, literature and art.

The exhibit also explores the idea of paying tribute to the spirit of the muse in the ancient sense. Who or what is your muse?
I have been exposed to fine literature, films and paintings since I was a child. My mother would take care of these matters, it would always be a very important part of our life, so I was already attending operas and theatre at a young age. Even our home in Poland is filled up with books, we had to transfer the less precious ones to the basement because they literally filled up every inch of free space.

Looking towards the future, what projects do you have lined up?
I am having an exhibition in London around April courtesy of Supperclub London. I will probably exhibit in Greece soon too, as I am doing a collaboration with an amazing artist, Pascale Pollier. I am also shooting for my monographic album which will be launched during PARIS PHOTO in November, where I will be showing my works in a group exhibition, but I will unveil more details about that within the next few months…

Mythologies opens today at Rivington Design House, 129 Rivington St., New York, N.Y. 10002.
rivingtondesignhouse.com / paulinasurys.co.uk / bekandersen.com
wendybevan.com / stefanmilev.com / jordan-sullivan.com

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Fantasy Woman

23.08.2011 | Art , Blog | BY:

Artist Penny Slinger weaves narratives of life and death. In the Seventies her photographic collages challenged many of her peers with their anarchic approach to life and explicit depiction of feminine power. A new exhibition, A Photo-Romance, at the Riflemaker gallery focuses on her seminal surrealist images. in Presenting herself as both subject and object, Slinger used Surrealism to penetrate the feminine psyche. Her images of a deserted country mansion and empty rooms represent the many chambers of women’s being and consciousness. While the introspective drama of her work places her alongside artists such as Francesca Woodman and Leonora Carrington, Slinger’s collages are an encircling story of the ultimate romance – the death and rebirth of Self.

Penny Slinger: A Photo-Romance is at the Riflemaker from Monday 12 September – Saturday 30 October 2011.
riflemaker.org

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