If you’re looking to escape reality for a moment, there’s no need to pick up any mind altering substances. Simply take a peek at Eugenia Loli’s surreal collages for a mind-bending adventure into another dimension. The California-based artist, illustrator and filmmaker specifically chose her poppy, whimsical subject matter over something more serious to ensure viewers got that needed escape they’re looking for. Using images cut from donated magazine pages, Loli begins with a base image and builds from there. Whether it’s a field of poppies, the planet Saturn or a women smoking a cigarette, these main images compel a story to follow in their wake. In one a particularly surreal collage, a black-and-white group of museum goers are presented with colorful 3D plant life that has a fantastical, otherworldly vibe to it. [h/t faithistorment.com]
Our vivid, contemporary reality constantly offers new visual materials with unexpected concepts. Modern audience seems to be prepared for all kinds of artistic encounters. But still the multilayered approach and skillful representation of the work of the mysterious group that operates under the title AUJIK is a jolt of fresh air. Their mesmerizing video works are pieces of art which balance between science fiction, architecture, biology and spirituality. It is rather hard to classify, so the best thing is to see it with your own eyes.
The video “Spatial Bodies” is accompanied by soft enigmatic music and definitely gives a “megalopolis” vibe. When we think of modern urban craziness and sky-high buildings, inevitably Japan comes in mind. Indeed, this short film is based on an actual Osaka skyline, which is merged in weird bionic structures resembling an autonomic organism with its own rules of existence. Moreover, the main person behind AUJIK, a Swedish-born filmmaker and digital artist, now lives in Kyoto, Japan. The group claims to have several more active participants, who descends from Japanese monks who “strive to reach a higher consciousness by transcending with technology and nature using themselves as a catalyst between these elements.”Clearly, AUJIK is building a kind of hodiernal myth that would incorporate their unique technocratic/naturalistic philosophy and express their ideas with a pinch of esoteric aftertaste. They have divided nature into refined and primitive; where the first consists of robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, DNA-manipulation, augmented reality, body enhancements, carbon nanotubes, synthetic photosynthesis; and the second combines trees, plants, soil, organism, stones, metals, minerals, foliage. AUJIK views all inventions and technologies as nature that has evolved; in fact they perceive AI as the next step in human evolution. By interlacing refined and primitive types of nature, they are basically trying to reconcile our pagan origins with technocratic and scientific progress. Unifying these polar opposites, they are hoping for a balanced harmonious reality that would benefit all.
These multi-media works reflect possible futuristic mythology of our progressive society, literally and figuratively. It poises between outer visual representation and self-expression mixed with contemplation.
This video titled “Yuki” shows us weirdly dressed kids playing with robotic trees; artwork reflects upon the interaction between organic and artificial, questioning the authority of each party. In “Plasticity Unfolding: wiggling word” we observe the collective consciousness of 4 AI’s, that imagined themselves in a landscape with a river as a nervous system; each AI has its own task and field working together efficiently. The work gives us an emotional map of artificial minds with a great deal of surrealism and biological references.
“The Ishiyama Excursion” shows us a green forest filled with all kinds of nature, robotic nature. Creatures seem to be perfectly fit for the environment and resemble regular forest dwellers. This piece, again, refers to the joint worlds of refined and primitive nature.
AUJIK concept, esoteric and technocratic all together, is an intriguing one; we can surely note an influence of the Japanese culture. Interest towards robots and machinery, combined with human-line qualities and even AI, unites with longtime traditions of nature veneration and its acknowledgement as an essential part of human life, spiritual as well as physical. While their video works are perplexing and unconventional, AUJIK’s theoretical basis dazzles even more. Who knows how accurate their concepts are – the only way to find it out is to see whether AUJIK ideas stand the test of time. We might be the lucky witnesses of new unique art and life philosophy being born.
Our world went through numerous transformations in the course of 20th century with almost every sphere of human life changing drastically. And art is no exception. From relatively simple depictions of surroundings, it moved to the complex structure full of innovation, controversy that we see today. Though the purpose of art is infinity debatable, we can say for sure that it has to show us different sides of our existence and the world… maybe even create a new one.
That’s precisely what Augustin Rebetez does in his work, introducing a viewer to a slightly creepy dimension on the edge of mythology and mysticism.
He is a true embodiment of the contemporary multidisciplinary focus of art. The dynamism of Rebetez’s works is due to his usage of various media. He creates a surreal stream of consciousness, sometimes humorous and tragicomic, but always bizarre and perplexing; he experiments with video, performances, installations, sculpture, photography, painting – the list goes on.
The peculiar feature to his art is that though it has its distinguishing mysterious and a bit dark, surreal feeling, it contains references to the variety of styles throughout art history. The nodes to the early modernism, tribal art, and even anime culture can be observed as well as some Tim Burton’s motives and grotesque aura of Franz Kafka’s literature.
Augustin Rebetez not only gives an audience a glimpse of his vivid imagination, but tries to express his experiences and influences through art, while also attempting to understand life and human nature. “I’m not religious but I want to know what life is… For this work I have this old idea that things come to us from outside, that our feelings and emotions don’t just come from our soul, that our imagination doesn’t just come from our brain, but that they connect to something beyond our bodies.”
With Carl Jung and the idea of the collective unconsciousness in mind, Rebetez’s art can be seen as a bridge between our “historical” nature and modern selves. Primal instincts and a post-modern reality combined with a unique, dreamy (or rather nightmarish) aesthetics makes these artworks exceptionally powerful.
We want to see more and more of them, to get to the bottom of the meaning, to figure out what are they standing for. And though formally we are looking at the products of artist’s mind, this journey occurs in our own inner worlds. Search for answers never stops and Augustin Rebetez definitely has set some peculiar guiding lines along the way to discover the surreal dimension of our thoughts, fears and desires.