Revived renaissance – James Kerr GIF art

Visiting an art museum can be exhausting. You walk through galleries to see the grates of past times and admire, but… would it be even better if all those characters hang on the walls could move and speak… and what story would they tell? Probably disappointed by a museum visits, James Kerr let his imagination run free and found a way to give these characters a voice. When he started posting digital collages on Tumblr in 2012 under pseudonym Scorpion Dagger, he wasn’t aware that this hobby would bring him fame.

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The GIFs he makes are inspired by Italian and Northern European Renaissance art. The characters of these paintings are put into different context, usually resembling everyday life of 70s and 80s. One of his favourite characters is Maarten Nieuwenhove portrayed by Hans Memling, but also Adam and Eve, Jesus Christ, Mary, apostles and others.

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He makes biblical narrative prosaic and appears to be cynical about the whole thing. It also seems that his GIFs are a humorous critique of today’s consumer society.

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James Kerr did some animations for Jim Jarmusch’s recent film, Gimme Danger about punk group Iggy Pop and The Stoogies. The director was missing some biographical scenes for the movie Kerr’s so digital animation compensated.

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Kerr puts effort in to promoting his art and encouraging young artists. He published a book of collages which become GIF with use of AR application. Also he is a curator of online galleries of digital art. Some of this work could be seen in asa nisi masa  online galleries’ virtual exhibition STOP AND GO.

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We may assume that Scorpion Dagger is exploring the boundaries between high art and digital collages, questioning the use of GIF as art by mixing it with high art. He certainly is a part of modern visual culture, but…will it ever be considered high art?

Modernism social housing in the Berlin-Falkenberg garden city

Modernism housing estates with colorful facades, ornamented with geometrical patterns, red brick roofs, charming wooden windows, shutters and balconies, surrounded with bloomed gardens… this well designed housing estate may be something out of a Disney films, but just as beautiful was the idea behind it.  SdM_4267_RET_300x0 Falkenberg Garden city was created by German architect Bruno Taut between 1913-1916 and was listed on UNESCO World Heritage list in 2008. Industrialization during the 19th century caused migrations from villages to towns which caused many problems. While becoming a metropolis, not only did Berlin faced problem like overcrowding, but also social problems such as unemployment and pollution. Dark and cramped flats without basic hygienic facilities had to be replaced in order to solve housing problem. Taut’s responded was this beautiful social housing project.falkenberg_04_530

6e59530dd4d996689c994138572cc7c4 Its design is based on Bauhaus straight and geometrical style including colorful patterns and wooden or brick decorative  elements. Housing blocks are organized around an acacia courtyard mostly in rows.fullfile1611 “The paint box housing estate”, is what it’s usually called; and it draws from the English idea of the Garden City which should consolidate rural and urban life. Renowned landscape architect Ludwig Lesser was hired to design the estate’s gardens and public spaces which provided lots of fresh air.  100_0238

This was not an isolated project. Other modernist architects followed this idea and some of their housing estate projects are also under UNESCO protection. Unfortunately, when Nazi regime took over Germany modernism aesthetics lost its value and the period of democratic housing building came to an end. The idea of garden city is somehow present today in Berlin as its residents are environmentally conscious with many having private or community gardens beside Berlin’s vast green areas of parks.

Uselessnism of everyday conformity – industrial design of Jasper Morrison

English designer Jasper Morrison, born in London, started his carrier in 1980s, and since then he has been designing products and furniture for many famous manufacturers of furniture, lighting, electronics, shoes, wristwatches. Rowenta, Samsung, Punkt, Camper, Muji, Vitra and Tate Modern are just some of his clients. In 2001 he has become Royal designer for Industry in UK.  00_projects_architectural_tate_tate_edit

architectural_tate_tate_edit_02 Tate Edit, Tate Modern shop in London, 2016; Photography: Nicola Tree

  00-projects_instrastructure_vitra_bus_stop_01 Bus Stop, Vitra’s Weil am Rhein site, 2006; Produced by Vitra, Switzerland; Photo: Jasper Morrison Studio

 00-projects_infrastructure_fsb_1144_handle_01 1144 Handle, 1990; Produced by FSB, Germany; Photo: Tim Rautert

It shouldn’t surprise us that Morrison’s design philosophy incorporating idea of Bauhaus movement. While he was attending postgraduate studies at Royal College of Art in London, he spent a year at Berlin’s Collage of Art. The main principles of Bauhaus school of design are to keep the creativity in the manufacturing process and to maintain the functionality of the object.00-projects-seating-maruni-t1-chair T1, 2016; Produced by Maruni, Japan; Photo: Maruni

00-projects_chairs_cappellini_thinking_mans_chair_01 Thinking Man’s Chair, 1986; Produced by Cappellini, Italy; Photo: James Mortimer

Inspired by the simplicity of hand-blown wine glasses from junk shops, Jasper Morrison defined what design should be – “Super Normal” or the “artificial replacement for normal”. By this he meant that there is no need for attention attracting designs by vibrant colors, shapes or superfluous details.00-projects_tables_vitra_rise_table_01 Rise, 2014; Produced by Vitra, Switzerland; Photo: Miro Zagnoli

00-projects_accessories_punkt_dp01_01 DP-01 Dect Phone,2010; Produced by Punkt, Switzerland; Photography: Jasper Morrison Studio

Precisely observing the object Morrison develops its form subordinated to the functionality. Main aim of his designed objects is to make pleasant atmosphere of everyday modern life. His rounded and smooth forms mostly made in wood, glass, stone and stainless steel are appealing to a viewer. To ignorance of fundamental goal of designing an object to be useful he gave a therm “Uselessnism”.

00-projects_kitchenware_rowenta_brunch_set_02 Brunch Set, 2004; Produced by Rowenta, Germany; Photo: Christoph Kicherer

 Since 2015, his first retrospective exhibition “Jasper Morrison. Thingness” of his 35 years lasting carrier has been shown at Grand-Hornu in Belgium, Museum für Gestaltung in Zurich and Tate Modern in London, and currently is on view at the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin.  00-exhibitions_2010_2019_grand_hornu_thingness_2015_07

exhibitions_2010_2019_grand_hornu_thingness_2015_05 Photo: Tim Van De Velde