Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Archive for the Design category

Three Quick Thoughts About the Organisation of Things

by Suzanne on June 29th, 2011

- I -

Courtauld Gallery, London

I was supposed to go see a Toulouse-Lautrec & Jane Avril exhibition (apart from some St Vitus Dance pictures from the Salpêtrière, it wasn't worth it) but ended up staring at the gorgeous ceilings and floors of the Courtauld. Magnificent and esoteric.

- II -

Japanese Divers

The amazingly talented and ever inspiring Amrei Hofstätter of Verticospuppets posted this on my Facebook wall the other day. Watch it - it's like Leni Riefenstahl only wetter and portrays human robotics at its finest.

- III -

Miners' Hymns

A few months ago, Sir Substrom was kind enough to share Jóhann Jóhannson/Bill Morrison's The Cause of Labour is the Hope of the World with me which visualises everything summarised by the term "epic" and I'm glad to say that the commentary-less documentary it serves as a trailer to, The Miners' Hymns, is now available on DVD from the BFI.

Take that, neofolk!

Polly Morgan at Workshop Arte Contemporanea, Venice, Italy

by Suzanne on June 5th, 2011

Systemic Inflammation by Polly Morgan, taxidermy canaries, steel, leather, 2010 - click to enlarge

In the past year or so, Polly Morgan has shown a great degree of innovation and adaptation in a genre that doesn't always bring out the best in people (and animals!), see Etsy and eBay.

Despite my criticism of her work in earlier years, I have to admit there are only a few taxidermy artists who have managed to successfully and aesthetically merge the sculptural (Black/Blue Fever, below) with the decorative (Systemic Inflammation, top, and Departures) with the humorous (Receiver), with the bittersweet (To Every Seed, bottom, and Vestige) with the... uhmm... well... stuffed.

Black Fever (left) and Blue Fever (right) by Polly Morgan, taxidermy crow/pigeon wings, wood, wire, 2010 - click to enlarge

Maybe releasing editioned Still Birth taxidermy sculptures was not the brightest thing to do and will definitely infuriate many, but all I can say is that I've been following her work over the years and went to many of her exhibitions and she really did learn how to enchant, amaze and startle (admittedly without reinventing the wheel) and I have hardly seen works of a more olfactory pleasing manner. Seriously.

Her Psychopomps show at Haunch of Venison made that clear even to the haters, I believe.

Besides, her etching of Blue Fever is just glorious and for an edition of 50 actually cheaper than lots of shit street art prints in this city. Just sayin'.

So maybe I'm getting mellow, but I'm putting the hate aside for once.

Just for once.

To Every Seed His Own Body (right) by Polly Morgan, 2006 - click to enlarge

AAAAANYWAAAAAYS, Polly is currently showing new works at Workshop in Venice, Italy - not really at the Biennale, but I guess the timing is pretty obvious. All details below.

On show: Jun 3 - Jul 22, 2011

Address: Workshop Arte Contemporanea, Dorsoduro, 2793/A, 30123 Venice, Italy, tel: +39 041 099 0156, email: info@workshopvenice.com | Map

Press release

Artist's website

Polly Morgan's monograph

Michael Hansmeyer at Smallspace, Berlin

by Suzanne on May 10th, 2011

Hall of Columns by Michael Hansmeyer - click to enlarge

Featured back in March and much admired since then, ETH Zurich architect and programmer genius Michael Hansmeyer, famed for his dystopian, neo-neo-gothic, mandelbrotesque computational architecture pieces is now showing his Deep White column at Berlin's Smallspace Gallery in an exhibition entitled Knots & Facets.

Michael gives us an insight into the fabrication process of the subdivided columns:

"A full-scale, 2.7-meter high variant of the columns is fabricated as a layered model using 1mm sheet. Each sheet is individually cut using a mill or laser. Sheets are stacked and held together by poles that run through a common core.

The calculation of the cutting path for each sheet takes place in several steps. First, the six million faces of the 3D model are intersected with a plane representing the sheet. This step generates a series of individual line segments that are tested for self-intersection and subsequently combined to form polygons. Next, a polygon-in-polygon test deletes interior polygons. A series of filters then ensures that convex polygons with peninsulas maintain a mininimum isthmus width. In a final step, an interior offset is calculated with the aim of hollowing out the slice to reduce weight. [...]"

Sounds beautiful? Looks beautiful! So go see it if you're in Berlin!

Hall of Columns by Michael Hansmeyer - click to enlarge

On show: Apr 28 - May 28, 2011

Address: Smallspace, Brunnenstrasse 178, 10119 Berlin, Germany, email: anna@smallspacegallery.com

Gallery hours: Fri - Sat: 2 - 7 PM, or by appointment

Press release (PDF)

Artist's website

Sandrine Pelletier at Fette's Gallery, Culver City

by Suzanne on September 12th, 2008

© Sandrine Pelletier - click for details

I'm the last person to ever get patriotic about anything (okay... maybe neat machines like the LHC and good old Helvetians like Hans-Ruedi Giger or Albert Hofmann do make me a tiny bit proud sometimes.. ), but when I found out the other day that long-admired multitalented young embroidery/lace/taxidermy/sculpture/photography/collage artist Sandrine Pelletier is actually Swiss, I felt a sudden warm pride grow in my tummy. Or maybe that was the little bug family I swallowed by mistake. I will probably never find out.

Aaaanyway, not that you readers really care about Sandrine's origin, I do, because Switzerland has in many ways been leading in the innovation and production of beautiful lace & embroidery - particularly the city of St. Gallen in the eastern corner of Helvetia which has been one of the main centers of the European textile industry ever since the 15th century. By 1714, the St. Gauls produced 38,000 pieces of cloth yearly and later developed some of the world's first embroidery machines. Yup.

However, Sandrine herself is not actually from the Swiss East, but the West Coast and studied art at the prestigious École Cantonale d'Art de Lausanne (ÉCAL).

So if you're in Culver City these days, make sure to pop by Fette's to immerse yourself in Sandrine's embroidered dreamscapes.

Insekts opens tonight and will remain on view through October 18.

Opening reception: Tonight, Friday, September 12, 2008, 6 - 9 PM

On show: September 12 - October 18, 2008

Address: Fette's Gallery, 4255 Baldwin Ave., Culver City, CA 90232, USA, tel: 310 559 7733

Preview show

Artist's website

Blaschka Glass Models & Photographs Touring Germany

by Suzanne on May 17th, 2008

© Leopold & Rudolf Blaschka | Photograph by Heidi & Hans-Jürgen Koch

The incredibly detailed and highly fragile tentacled glass invertebrate models (and photographs thereof) created by Leopold (1822 - 1895) & Rudolf (1857 - 1939) Blaschka's supernaturally gifted hands are currently touring Germany's natural history museums.

Closing tomorrow at Technische Sammlung in Dresden, the show entitled Gläserne Geschöpfe des Meeres will travel to Reutlingen, Bremen and finally Munich (c.f. dates and locations below).

Even though - as far as I understood the announcement - the exhibition will mainly focus on Heidi & Hans-Jürgen Koch's photographs of the glass sculptures, a few very delicate Blaschka sea creatures have been loaned from Museum für Naturkunde Berlin to go on show.

This is a very rare opportunity to see them in all their otherworldly fragility and delicacy.

Exhibition Dresden: Closing tomorrow, Sunday, May 18, 2008 | Location: Technische Sammlung Dresden

Exhibition Reutlingen: July 10 - October 19, 2008 | Location: Naturkundemuseum Reutlingen

Exhibition Bremen: November 15, 2008 - January 15, 2009 | Location: Ãœbersee-Museum Bremen

Exhibition Munich: February 12 - April 30, 2009 | Location: Museum Mensch & Natur München

Art Magazin review

Catalogue: Blaschka. Gläserne Geschöpfe des Meeres by Heidi und Hans-Jürgen Koch. Hamburg: Verlag Dölling & Galitz 2007.

Find out more about the Blaschkas:

Blaschka-Haus e.V. - Blaschka Association in Dresden

Out of the Teeming Sea - Cornell University's website on Leopold & Rudolf Blaschka's glass invertebrate models

The Glass Aquarium - Blaschka article by the Design Museum

Botanical Wonders - Article by the Corning Museum of Glass about the Blaschkas' Harvard Glass Flowers

The Glass Menagerie - Frieze feature on the life and work of the Blaschkas

Flowers Out of Glass - Beautiful article by Nancy Marie Brown

Sea Creatures of the Deep - Nice picture gallery of the Blaschka glass models

The Blaschka Marine Invertebrates - William Warmus article about the Cornell Blaschka collection

Glass Jellyfish, Squid, Flowers & Other Marvels... - Thread over at the ever educating WurzelForum®

Strange News From Another Star

by Suzanne on August 26th, 2007

(via Dark Victoria)

Please excuse my long web absence. It was/is mainly caused by two incidents:

i) Long working hours due to the preparations for the Rachel Khedoori opening reception at H&W Zurich.

ii) An adorable humanoid male entity I fell in love with, who forms the other half of my Aristophanian globular sphere, who changed my sleeping habits to those of Elias Alder and who's responsible for the medical phenomenon that my body started growing again. 2cms in 2 weeks. o_O

Oh, and he makes things. With his clever hands. Out of brass, wood, glass, leather, silicone, glue and.. well, steam. Ingenious inventions that inventors of bygone days forgot to invent because they were too busy inventing other inventions. Ermm.. anyway.. I think you should see for yourself:

Necropathic Spectregraph © Alex CF

Available from eBay UK until Aug 29

The Inquisitor #2 © Alex CF
Available from eBay UK until Sep 2


GasMask - only one of an impressive series of unusual ties crafted by Bethany Shorb

Ada Lovelace - Thank you for gracing my desktop, you sexy geek!

Alexander Pichushkin - Hmm.. doesn't every woman have a soft spot for mass-murdering chess players in plaid shirts?!

• Annika from Neurotitan Berlin - Quite possibly the cutest creature I've ever met and the only girl I've ever seen vanishing in a SBB suitcase locker. It was a pleasure meeting you, Annika.

Bethany Shorb from Cyberoptix Tie Lab - Beth creates the greatest ties known to mankind and made my brother look 230% more handsome in no time. Chapeau!

Chic blood clot - Subject line of a spam email I received today. Great name for a fashion brand for haemophiliacs (that I'll launch sometime in the future).

Giant Cosmic Nihil - Echoooo-oooo-ooooh!

Giant Rubber Duckie - *sings Alan Moore's "March of the Sinister Ducks".

Isabelle Huppert - Probably the only living actress who dies convincingly and constantly seems to be aware of her own mortality. I adore her for this emotional intensity, for moments like her slow and painful death from arsenic poisoning in Madame Bovary.

Katie - My neighbour's crazy white fox terrier that looks precisely like Milou. My newest furry friend. Huzzah!

Meredith Yayanos - Mer's sheer existence on this planet makes me unspeakably happy.

Northern Hairynosed Wombat - My alter ego. It knows things.

Patrick Müller from Silent Cooking on 3sat - c.f. Alexander Pichushkin and replace "chess players" with "cooks" and "plaid shirts" with "aprons".

Radioactive Boy Scout - Awww! Cute!

Whip it!

by Juju on April 7th, 2006

I have wandered the digital wasteland for many months and I can tell you I've been cold damn cold - but I have found my way back and have brought some dubious gifts...

This is so wrong in so many ways

Something I saw on We Make Money Not Art a while back - I suspect that trying something similar now may result in the artists being shot but I could be wrong... This living hell is also worth a look...

Things to make here on Wurzeltod - I bought someone some of these for Christmas but via the magic of consumer electronics you can print and make your own.

Nice little Fortean article on the dance macabre that is the tarantella (ahhhhh ergot - explanation for so many fun things throughout history lycanthropsy and Salem to name two more). I know the Fortean site makes you register to read the article, I know this is pain... but life is pain and the Fortean site is worth registering with

Justin Mullins (this is not some sort of name based nepotism - honest) has some interesting work over here

BoingBoing ran a nice little post about a site detailing spectacles throughout the ages - for your convenience and ocular pleasure you can find it here

Ummmm Suzanne wants me to write a bit about myself to prove I'm almost real and not just a figment of her fevered imagination... this will be forthcoming and most probably dull...


The rabbit of Caerbannog

Smaller than your fondest expectations . . .

by Suzanne on September 28th, 2005

Today, Thee Temple ov Psychick Blah proudly presents another intriguing compilation of (more or less) scientific nature-defying curiosities from ye olde days...

Deafness In Disguise

(Model wearing body aid hearing device and leg harness for the batteries - via Hugo)

"In America the users of hearing devices seem to be more inclined to accept the electrically amplified instruments. It is also noticeable that comparatively few use any form of camouflaged trumpets ... "

Radar Men From The Moon

(Image © Internet Archive - via We Make Money Not Art)

12 episodes of Radar Men From the Moon to enjoy for free on Internet Archive.

1930 Fraternal Supply Catalog

(Ferris Wheel Coaster Goat - via We Make Money Not Art)

From 1895 to 1955 DeMoulin Bros. Co. produced paraphernalia, costumes, gag devices, and furniture for lodge organizations and fraternal orders.

In 1930 they issued a Fraternal Supply Catalog No. 439 selling items such as a Ferris Wheel Coaster Goat, trick guns, bird cages, a guillotine, etc.

The London Necropolis Railway

(Damaged London Necropolis train at 121 Westminster Bridge Road - via MetaFilter)

During the first half of the 19th century, London's population more than doubled and the number of London corpses requiring disposal was growing almost as fast. Cemetery space in the city had failed to keep pace with this growth, and so the vast new Brookwood Cemetery - the London Necropolis - was built in Surrey. Brookwood was the largest burial ground in the world when it was opened in 1854 by the London Necropolis & National Mausoleum Company. To get there, the deceased and their mourners - segregated by class - could catch a train from Westminster. The Necropolis Railway survived until World War 2, when it was heavily damaged.

Sword Swallowers

(Mimi Garneau, ca. 1940 - via We Make Money Not Art)

"One must not hiccup while sword-swallowing..."


Knitted by Dozens of Grannies Out of Pink Wool

by Suzanne on September 22nd, 2005

© Isabel Samaras, who's currently exhibiting her works at the Shooting Gallery in S.F. - click to enlarge


Amy Crehore | Anita Kunz | Candy Killer | Gary Taxali | Gina & Matt | Justin Wood | Mary Emma Hawthorne | Organic Level | Origami Bunny | Scott Scheidly | Serge Seidlitz | Super Deux | Todd Lawson


Madsaki and Jun Takahashi (published by YouWorkForThem) | Manuel Manilla: Monografia (published by YouWorkForThem)


Above interview (by Crown Dozen) | Chris Ware interview (by the BBC Collective) | Jeff Soto interview (by Fecal Face) | Nathan Jurevicius interview (by Crown Dozen) | Sylvia Ji interview (by Fecal Face)


Norwegian Black Metal - Stunning photography project by Peter Beste


© Sean Cheetham

Glenn Ness, Sean Cheetham, Paul Rogers at the Mendenhall Sobieski Gallery in Pasadena, USA.

→ Finissage: October 4, 2005

© Sam Weber

Bedtime Stories - an online exhibition over at Sekushi.com.

→ Featuring: Sam Weber, Az Star, Björn Andersson, Bob Fisher, Robert Hardgrave, et al.

→ Finissage: December 21, 2005

© Stéphane Blanquet

The BLAB! Show at Track 16 Gallery in Santa Monica, USA.

→ Featuring: Stéphane Blanquet, Tim Biskup, Gary Baseman, David Sandlin, Fred Stonehouse, Christian Northeast, Jonathon Rosen, Laura Levine, Spain, Drew Friedman, et al.

→ Vernissage: September 24, 2005 | Finissage: October 8, 2005 | Link: BLAB! anthology archives

© Haunted Memories

The Perfect Medium - Photography and the Occult at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, USA.

→ Vernissage: September 27, 2005 | Finissage: December 31, 2005

NYT review on the exhibition: Ghosts in the Lens, Tricks in the Darkroom

N.B.: Festival goers shouldn't miss Resfest 2005 in London, Small Press Expo in Bethesda, the World Beard Championships WHY BERLIN! No. 4 in Berlin and Maschinenfest 05 in Krefeld.

Oh, and in other most thrilling artsy news, UbuWeb is back online, the Outré Gallery finally launched its new website and the Italian Colletto Fava mountain just got a tad pinker & fluffier. Weeeee!

And a final note to all Helvetistani readers: Even if you don't care the slightest µ about surrealism, make sure you don't miss this exhibition - featuring a breathtaking motherload of cher monsieur René Magritte's works. Also, the Fondation Beyeler painted the gallery walls in the most enchanting shade of lilac - probably the most flattering colour to exhibit Magritte's works. Reduced admission fees on Mondays and Wednesdays.

A Moth Delivers Her Message

by Suzanne on September 6th, 2005

© Audrey Kawasaki, who's currently exhibiting her works in a duet show with Lisa Alisa @ 1988 Gallery, L. A.

"[...] All who see you will say that you are the prettiest little human being they ever saw. You will still have the same floating gracefulness of movement, and no dancer will ever tread so lightly; but at every step you take it will feel as if you were treading upon sharp knives, and that the blood must flow. If you will bear all this, I will help you.”

(Excerpt from "The Little Mermaid" by Hans Christian Andersen, 1836)


© Dave Cooper

• Dave Cooper's Observations on the Soft Underbellies of Mostly Pillowy Girls at Billy Shire Fine Arts in Culver City, USA.

Nothing Between Us featuring new works by Heather Culp, Fumi Nakamura, Pamela Henderson, Sylvia Ji & Caitlin Kuhwald at the Subject Matter Gallery in Costa Mesa, USA.

• Kara E. Walker's Song of the South at Redcat Gallery in Los Angeles, USA.

• Barbara Kruger's Twelve at the Tramway Gallery in Glasgow, Scotland.

• Bernd & Hilla Becher's Typologien industrieller Bauten at Museum für Gegenwart im Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, Germany.

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec - Das graphische Werk at Kunstmuseum in Bonn, Germany.

Harem – Geheimnis des Orients at Kunsthalle Krems in Krems, Germany.


© Scott Musgrove

Fantoche Animation Film Festival in Baden, Switzerland.

→ opens TONIGHT! (I'll be there. Who's with me?)

Gary Baseman & Scott Musgrove at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery in NYC, USA.

→ opens September 9

• Mark Mothersbaugh's Beautiful Mutants at Roq La Rue in Seattle, USA.

→ opens September 9

• Shepard Fairey's Visual Disobedience at Voice 1156 Gallery in San Diego, USA.

→ opens September 9

Semi-Permanent 05 in NYC, USA.

September 9 - 10

Culture Shock - Art of the New Movement at Pop Art Studios in Miami, USA.

→ opens September 10


© StuntKid

Clandestina #38 | Illustration Mundo | Lisa Falzon | Lizz Lopez | Misprinted Type | Paper Bullet | Refill Mag 05 | Sam Weber | Shift 106 | StuntKid | Tara McPherson | The Royal Magazine - Issue 6 | Wag Mag N° 0 | Yoko Tanaka


© Akinori Oishi

Akinori Oishi Micro Films (via Wmmna) | Hello Kitty Claymation Video (by Saiman Chow) | Lose weight with AIDS (via b3ta) | Neomuet Movies | The Little Girl Who Was Forgotten By Absolutely Everyone (Even The Postman) (by Childrin R Skary) | The Unfortunate Alphabet (by Chris Walker)


Jason Sherry