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The analog film stands firm on the wall, a statement against digital urgency. Inviting you in is a wall gridded with Polaroid pictures. They seem colorful, uniform, and full of fond memories captured and kept as mementos. A roughly 6 x 6 wall of photographs has been collected and reestablished to form this art piece by Simon Menner. It depicts simple images of a monotonous day. Piles of books, clothing hanging in closets, post marked mail scattered on a desk, neatly organized collectables sitting on shelves, and shoes scattered near a door. It is presented in an easy format. The blankness in each room is masked by the rich saturated colors of a film stock long gone. Only looking further, do you realize that these images are captured purposefully, by spies.

Secret House Searches, portrays a domestic familiarity within surveillance done by the German State Security Service (STASI). Urgency, is only emphasized by the chosen medium. At first it seems unclear if the Polaroid’s are authentic, or a subtle pun at the ridiculous measures German spies practiced during the cold war. One can imagine Secret Agents barging in while the coffee pot is still warm to further their mission. While some images point to the spies appearance and training, most in this work, – which is part of a larger series Top Secret – shows the surveillance of everyday citizens. Looking further we learn that these are authentic photos released to the public after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Overstepping a casual peek inside, we enter the privacy of the spaces without introduction.   Peering into these lives, the people seem violated once more. The artist makes no effort to obscure faces or names. Slowing down to investigate each photo presented to us, we are just as guilty as the STASI.

These were serious images with serious intent and consequences. The blankness of the rooms is masked by the rich saturated colors of a film stock long gone. These are lasting colors calling to mind photos of our own. They are familiar and comforting, with no filters or digital tricks.

Simon Menner makes no comment on resolving this statement on the violation of privacy. The artist participates in the very practice he seems to denounce. We are rushed in to the mission, this gallery viewing, there is no debriefing, no explanation. Nothing of their lives is off limits. By re-appropriating images of anonymous people he brings current ethical issues to light. Viewing this work we are spying ourselves, jumping to conclusions about the citizens, country, and artist.

Archived images come with a history. When using a found image its anonymous past will never be known. Context, is a priority when giving respect to a photographs history. Details become commonplace, both insignificant, overwhelming, and everything to the work presented to us.

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Je Suis Charlie

By: Michael Cavna

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Check out this artist who defies gravity with chalk!

http://blog.games.yahoo.com/blog/840-this-illusion-is-just-a-matter-of-perspective

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Van Gogh self portrait is really Theo

I guess the looks run in the family.

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With just a click you can now take virtual tours of some of the most famous art museums from around the world.  This art project by Google features an easy way to escape the winter blues.  You can zoom super close on high resolution images to view brushstrokes and paint cracks.  I’m going to be working on creating my own collection (another feature) to share with all of our Spliced Representation friends on facebook too.

Google Art Project

 

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Sign up for email updates and be entered in the scholarship drawing to take a FREE continuing education credit or non credit class at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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Happy New Year everyone!  I hope 2011 inspires new creative thoughts and ideas in everyone.  I ran across this website about ipad & iphone paintings as a new alternative to traditional materials and output.  One could paint from an airplane, subway ride, waiting rooms, on top of a mountain anywhere!  These are amazing results from this artist.   I will have to try to get a little better with my tablet first but the option is nice.

ipad & iphone paintings

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