Photography is frequently used more and more as a substitute for reality and for such apparent accuracy, that the adage; “The camera does not lie” has become somehwat of a cliché. But what happens when someone has invented a way to manipulate what seems to be always a certified truth. Read on to see how Julius Von Bismarck keeps the past present..

The first ‘gun-like’ version of the inconspicuous Fulgurator.

This young German artist/inventor uses ‘new media’ – a mixture of old and new technology – to create some provoking images, highlights the ease at which our perception and representation of reality can be reconstructed, often to our downfall.

His most recent invention, the ‘image fulgurator‘, a sort of anti-camera furtively projects images and embeds them into other people’s photographs. How you might ask?.. I actually can’t answer that. In fact, you’re probably much better off watching the video below.

Check out Julius Von Bismark’s other work here.

Von Bismarck’s attack on our belief in the truth of photography communicates to me, that we spend too much time behind the camera and not enough time experiencing the world we snap pictures of. The stunt showed how technology can alter something which seems to always be a certified truth and consequently how people need to be more aware, and maybe sceptical of supposed realities.


Artist Andreas Heikaus has superimposed the pixels of Ninetendo’s Super Mario Bros. onto the pavement to create his incredible video, which highlights a technique called matchmoving.

Is advertising art?

September 5, 2010

I recently watched a brilliant series called Modern Masters on BBC 2. Each episode featured the work of four artists: Dali, Matisse, Warhol and Picasso. Presented by art critic, Alastair Sooke, he demonstrates how each artist’s work has influenced modern society and continues to this day to saturate our everyday world; from fashion design to product design, architecture to, advertising.

The more you look, the more you realise that modern art is everywhere. Take for example, the work of Matisse. Matisse exerted great influence beyond the world of fine art, and towards the end of his life, he developed a new technique known as the paper cut-out, characterised by bold, simplified shapes and pure, bright colours. Over the following decades, his late compositions influenced a number of different fields, including advertising, interior design, fashion and even children’s picture books.

Think of the recent Apple iPod advertisements that featured silhouettes of sinuous dancers against blocks of vivid colour.

Apple iPod

They are extraordinarily similar to some of Matisse’s cut-outs, such as Icarus (1947).

Henri Matisse, Icarus 1947

Now let’s move onto Salvador Dali and surrealism. Dali was an international celebrity. He was one of art’s great showmen, with a genius for publicity. He created his own distinctive persona and frequently staged his own stunts. Today, his fame is such that TV shows such as The Simpsons and Sesame Street have parodied his work.

The Persistence of Memory (1931)

Sesame Street

During the Thirties, Dali created a number of Surreal objects that would change the nature of product design. The most famous of these is the Lobster Telephone. These sculptures were designed to provoke a reaction by combining unexpected and bizarre things, while being sexually provocative.

Dali, Lobster Telephone

Dali understood that objects, the things we interact with on a daily basis, could have a meaning that exceeded their function. Today we are surrounded by objects that are the legacy of Dali’s vision, such as, his much-copied Mae West’s Lipssofa, with versions of the latter found everywhere from hip bars to the Big Brother set.

Dali, Mae West's Lipsofa

In 1969 Dali was approached by Spanish confectioners Chupa Chups to design a new logo, and the result became as instantly recognisable as his melting clocks. Dali incorporated the Chupa Chups name into a brightly coloured daisy shape. Always keenly aware of branding, Dali suggested that the logo be placed on top of the lolly instead of the side so that it could always be seen intact.

Dali, Chupa Chups Logo

Eye-catching, bold and deceptively simple, the logo has barely changed since Dali created it.

Today, advertising incorporates surrealism in my opinion to create impact.

..whether it’s by featuring oddball characters and scenes:

..or by connecting things that don’t belong together to dramatise a benefit:

Ikea Print Ad

..or just downright unusual, yet brilliantly profound:

What are you favourite surreal ads?

Now away with you, whilst I finish eating this wellington boot.

“Art imagines the house, film ‘performs’ the house and architecture builds the house”.

This summer, the Barbican Gallery brings to life some of the surrealists’ most striking and immersive environments, in its latest exhibition – the ‘Surreal House’. The Surreal House is intended to ‘examine the relationship between surrealism and architecture” and this peculiar exhibition does exactly that. In particular, surrealism’s rejection of clean, white, modernist living spaces in favour of an exploration of the home as an analogy for the self.

The rooms in The Surreal House bear very little resemblance to those of a ‘typical’ home. Instead, they are filled with a mishmash of odd sculptures, like the ‘Femme Maison’ by Louise Bourgeois, artwork by the godfather of surrealism, Salvador Dali, and photography by Paul Nouge, Claude Cahun and Francesca Woodman, making for a somewhat disorienting yet absorbing journey.

Louise Bourgeois "Femme maison"

Claude Cahun - Self portrait (in cupboard)

Salvador Dali's - Sleep (circa 1973)

The exhibition is divided into two levels with the ground floor devoted to the exploration of ‘domestic interior space’ and the upper level representing the house ‘as seen from above’. Lighting throughout the whole exhibition is dim and moody, creating an eerie, dreamlike atmosphere as you explore between the ‘chambers’.

Things start ok. Upon entering the gallery, one is directed past a video loop showing Buster Keaton’s toppling house, via a Duschamp doorbell in the form of a suitably chosen part of the female anatomy, into the first room, in which Freud looms large: a large-scale blow-up of the hirsute ruminator’s Viennese house faces Rachel Whiteread’s ominous, segmented Black Bath.

Some of the exhibition spaces have been pointedly darkened.

The Surrealists believed that a house was more a “stage” than a “machine for living”, and such theatrical playfulness is evident in the mazey layout and sense of unpredictability. Moving through the spaces carved out of the gallery’s lower half, the voyeur comes across film projections, a chilling choir chanting from behind a toilet, and a femme maison, in which the work of Louise Borgeoius is mercifully rescued from the “spider woman” epithet so beloved of obituary writers late last month. Eerie aural intrusions come from Rebecca Horn’s Concert for Anarchy, an inverted mechanised piano suspended upside-down from the ceiling, seemingly innocent enough, but every two minutes, the piano spontaneously explodes, throwing the keys out of place and letting the lid hang loose, displaying the instruments interior, whilst simultaneously precipitating a cacophony of discordant keystrokes that echos through the space. The piano stays this way for a few minutes, before retracting all its parts back to ‘normal’, ready for its next impulsive outburst.

The Surreal House is both enchanting and intriguing, but with a disturbingly strange twist. The exhibition closes on September 12th, so get yourself down there for a such a unique exhibition.

From Rio de Janeiro to Kibera, Kenya, the guerilla photographer, or ‘wallpaper guy’, JR, aims to put a human face to the most impoverished areas of the world.

I am a massive fan of street art having lived in the hometown of Banksy. Street art has a way of making the world a place, a subject rather than an object, and one street artist I am currently consumed by is the talented, yet mysterious JR. JR’s anonymity is crucial to the integrity of his work as his art is often illegal. JR operates under the radar, taking those who live on the margin of mainstream society and gives them back their individuality.

JR first developed his trademark in Rio de Janeiro in 2008, as giant posters of staring eyes started appearing on buildings in the city’s oldest favela. The result was mesmerising.

A shanty-town on a hill transformed into a living collage.

The 3rd stage of his project “28 Millimeters” entitled ‘Women are Heroes’ really grabs my attention. JR cover’s over 2,000 square feet of rooftops and train cars with the eyes and faces of women from Africa’s largest and poorest slums, Kibera, Kenya. The emotional images are completely contrasting to the usual media images of grief and despair of life in the favelas. Instead the women project depicts a sense of pride and certainty about their own identity, which highlights the dignity, courage and noble struggle of these women. JR creatively carves his consciousness into the eyes of the women, and subsequently, the photographs, to me, make the houses almost seem alive with the intricate emotional details of his subject’s faces popping out. In addition, it’s visible from space and can be seen on Google Earth.

But however successfully JR’s installations work as art, they also have a social conscience. The images are actually practically beneficial to those who took part. In Kibera the photographs of women on the rooftops were printed on to vinyl, waterproof material so, in addition to beautifying the slum, the photographs will also protect inhabitants by keeping the brutal downpours of the rainy season out. The sheets of corrugated iron used in another part of the shanty town were also distributed afterwards to those who had taken part, free of charge.

I love JR’s work, and street art in general as it liberates the experience of viewing art. The art penetrates your everyday space, which provokes and inspires people. JR has proved that a little bold creativity and technical application can transform the regular into the spectacular.

So far, Women has exhibited in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Kenya and Belgium, and plans for installations in various other Western countries are underway. In the coming year, JR also plans to develop Women Are Heros in India, Cambodia and Laos. He is currently in Brazil putting together another action for the project.

Check out JR’s website to find out more! ->