A rainbow visor: refracting, reflecting the gaze of the camera. Hues of animated pink fade into a deep navy. All interrupted by an unheard click of the shutter. Memorialized in time. Textiles of filmy lace are juxtaposed with geometric angles that clothe and cover a figure at rest. Reclining into an abyss of deep waters and rose thorns. Receding into reality.
Abuzz with fluorescent wonder, a blue neon shop sign nestled in the Johannesburg suburb of Linden sparked the notion of #ARTANDBLING. A conceptual trigger ignited by the soft curvature of words radiant in bright light. Art Director, Lezanne Viviers, describes #ARTANDBLING as, “a glitter shaker at Art fair” a sentiment that articulates their approach to visual communication.
A recent visit to René Magritte’s exhibition at the Pompidou center in Paris, called The Treason of Images, prompted a response, the some of the philosophical questions raised by the surrealist artist in his work. “Les Mémoires d’un Saint, 1960 illustrates the foundation of Magritte’s questions to the realness of any image; a philosophical problem that is explored in Plato’s ‘The Allegory of the cave,’ which Magritte strives to find an answer to.”
The Belgian artist was particularly known for placing objects in unusual contexts as a visual strategy to undermine constructed philosophical assumptions about the nature of reality. The juxtaposition of normalcy and meticulous painting technique in relation to absurdity created a dynamic tension that leads one to constantly question representations of the real.
“To us, the digital sphere draws a similar curtain to that of Magritte’s, Les Mémoires d’un Saint…we are never sure that what we are seeing is real. That in itself has become our current reality. Uncertainty. Self-doubt.” Lezanne argues that this flux has created a context in which users of digital space and curated media are compelled to construct their own reality.
In the seemingly surreal and explorative editorial, #ARTANDBLING utilized the technique of Trompe-l’œil – a practice that uses realistic imagery to create an optical illusion. “By staging a surreal image of unexpected objects, the absurdity or chance of their encounter, challenges the viewer as to how these images were created.” The dynamic between edgy criticality and whimsy creates a delightful composition of fictioned reality. “Like Magritte, we like to challenge classical ideas of beauty.”
“To achieve harmony in bad taste is the height of elegance”
– Jean Genet.
Johannesburg based creative team,
Concept and Art Direction: Lezanne Viviers
Styling: Daisie Jo Grobler and Lezanne Viviers
Post-Production: Lezanne Viviers
Clothing: MARIANNEFASSLER, DaisieJo, stylist’s own
Inspired Artist: Marlene Hettie Steyn, Georgina Gratrix