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New directions in art

Three modern artists have taken photography, painting, and video to a new level. William Sasnal, Jacob Kassay and Piplotti Rist are proving to be masters at adding new twists to these traditional art forms.

While painting and photography may seem to be competing forms of art, William Sasnal has skillfully combined the best of both forms. He takes his inspiration from newspaper photographs. But he adds his own take to the pictures.

A photo of a Palestinian woman holding apples becomes a woman who appears to be wearing the belt of a suicide bomber. A photo of farm buildings now looks like a painting of a death camp. A painting of a beautiful young woman was inspired by a photo of a person accused of being involved in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

Sasnal, born in 1972 in Tarnow, Poland, is a painter of contrasts. His works combine beauty with an underlying darkness, goodness with a sense of malignancy. His paintings are drawn from contemporary events, yet transcend those events to become universal.

A photo of a young woman, covered in a filthy blanket and standing in the midst of the debris left by the tidal wave that hit Japan this year, becomes a painting of the same woman now surrounded by a whirlpool of abstractions, suggesting that her plight is universal, one that has been experienced by many.

Jacob Kassay combines painting with chemistry. He primes his canvases, then electroplates them. The process gives his monochromatic paintings a silvery sheen which allows the viewer to almost see themselves in the painting. His work is on display at the ICA until November 13.

Pipilotti Rist takes video art and turns it on its head by adding psychedelic colours and unusual effects. One video features a chandelier made out of women’s underwear. Another video depicts a woman swallowing a camera, which immediately appears out of her backside, only to come around to her mouth again. Rist is currently displaying over 30 works at the Hayward Gallery until January 8.

 

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