A heartful thank you to the Netherlands!

yes-letter

This entry was written by Pinar&Viola, posted on October 9, 2014 at 9:08 am, filed under Amsterdam, Art, Published. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink.

P&V Sweatshop

To install our last show, Blue Jeans On Thin Ice, we were in Los Angeles for two weeks. Essential elements of this new installation were 62 denim teddy bears. One by one, we crafted the bears by hand in our own, LA based, denim sweatshop. This terrific amount of craftsmanship was done under the supervision of the amazing Christi Baquet.

This post gives a glimpse of all hours spend in the making of the Blue Jeans On Thic Ice teddy bears. We could only achieve the beautiful result thanks to the help of these unforgettable people: David Charles, Melinda Gorham, Christi Baquet, Malvin Wix, Sean Costello (= the builder of the shooting gallery), Lady Karson, Noah Paul, BULLETT, Michelle Watson, Nico, Emi Tamaru, Joanna Rosso, Kali Nikitas, Gabe, Jeroen, Mike Gamms, Remy Brixton and the entire KKLA Family thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! <3

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This entry was written by Pinar&Viola, posted on November 26, 2013 at 12:26 pm, filed under Art, Craftsmanship, Exhibition, Pinar&Viola, Surface Collection. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink.

Blue Jeans on Thin Ice – P&V Shooting Gallery

We’re now in Los Angeles to prepare our upcoming show at KesselsKramer.

The opening Pinar&Viola’s Blue Jeans On Thin Ice
PRESENTED BY KK LOS ANGELES
Opening Party: November 14th 7PM – 10PM
Showcase runs: Until December 20th !

“Obama owns a pair of jeans, us too. And anyone can also own a gun.”
– P&V

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European multi-media artists Pinar&Viola are having their debut show in the US and their coming out with a
bang. Their show “Blue Jeans On Thin Ice” is an interactive installation that shines a light on the handgun
violence issues we face in America. They will create a dome and shooting gallery entirely out of denim and
people will not buy the art, but shoot with a rifle to win it. The prize, or artwork in this case is a custom made
denim teddy bears. They’ll have a total of 62 teddy bears symbolizing the amount of mass gun shootings
that occurred in the US since the day Pinar&Viola were born.

Pinar&Viola state:
“We find it such an imminent, important subject and we are surprised that due to the traditional narrowmindedness
of the country and the established gun companies that the country keeps on failing to take
action.”

The exhibition suggests a ground where people are free to satisfy their shooting needs, in a fantasy fun fair
format, while not harming anyone. They decided to take jeans as a metaphor and obsessively cover the
gallery because they find gun and jeans are both democratic. “One represents the American dream and the
other America’s nightmare.”
Pinar&Viola’s Blue Jeans On Thin Ice !
PRESENTED BY KK LOS ANGELES
Opening Party: November 14th 7PM – 10PM
Showcase runs: Until December 20th !
“Obama owns a pair of jeans, us too. And anyone can also own a gun.”
– P&V

NOTES TO EDITORS

ABOUT PINAR &VIOLA
As an eclectic young duo, coming from Istanbul and Amsterdam, currently living in Paris, they live, reflect
and initiate fast changing trends in their practice. This made them become today’s experts of avant-garde
image creation, working with galleries, publications and institutions who are the leaders in their line of
expertise.

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Photo credit: Isabella Rozendaal and Pinar&Viola

ABOUT KK GALLERY
KesselsKramer is an outlet for renowned artists to explore new stories, aesthetics or mediums they cannot
usually exhibit in a commercial gallery space. Work that is meaningful to the artist and to people who love art
and really good stories. KK Los Angeles is at 963 Chung King Road and has a sister gallery on Hoxton
Square in East London.
KK Los Angeles is at 963 Chung King Road and has a sister gallery on Hoxton Square
in East London.

CONTACT
Press materials + more info: david@kklosangeles.com
963 Chung King Road, Chinatown, LA, 90012

logos

This entry was written by Pinar&Viola, posted on November 4, 2013 at 3:45 pm, filed under Art, Exhibition, Pinar&Viola, Various, Vernissage. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink.

The dA-Zed guide to selfies

Our 26 point guide to 21st century narcissism

We were asked by Dazed & Confused to made an in-depth study on the selfie and to create an A to Z guide. Initially spawned by the webcam, the selfie has become an on-the-go medium of self-celebration and envy, and a form of self-portrait accessible to everyman and everywoman – as long as he or she has a smartphone. No wonder selfies, the democratized casual cousin of the auto portrait, have became one of the most popular cultural elements of our generation.

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Image courtesy of @nighcoregirl

A IS FOR ANIMAL BEARDING

Cats are like heroin to a junkie on the internet. They both need each other to exist. So a cat, the internet and you = pretty much the perfect storm – and what’s more fun than having your pet cover half of your face so its chin and neck looks like a massive beard? First known as cat bearding, the trend later on spread to dogs, and now even more animal crossovers are possible.

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DIY bearding with pet cats and dogs

 

B IS FOR BENNY WINFIELD JR

MrPimpGoodGame is the Instagram handle of Benny Winfield Jr, a man who is happy to show his happiness wherever he goes. He gained the internet’s affection by being completely ignorant of the social principles of making a selfie. From the name he choose for his profile, MrPimpGoodGame, to his uncreative selfies with a remarkable heartwarming smile, he reminds us of the times when we didn’t spend 10 minutes before making a post. Benny Winfield Jr makes us all jealous by being himself.

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MrPimpGoodGame, the Instagram alias of Benny Winfield Jr

 

C IS FOR COP SELFIES

Alongside with naked mom selfies, cop selfies are the selfie oxymoron. The authority of a policeman, combined with your average banal selfie pose, makes for perfect entertainment. We associate the picture-taking moment of a selfie with fun times, relaxation or some kind of punch-the-air, exceptional occasion. When that applies to a police officer, your mind can’t help but conjure up some pretty dark things.

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A typical example of a cop selfie

 

D IS FOR DOLLAR

The exclusive presence of $$$ alone is a solid reason to make a selfie. Itslavishbitch is the Instagram account of Param Sharma, the heir of a wealthy Indian family, also known as Lavish. What would a bored-out-of-his-mind kid with access to Rolls Royces, Rolexes, an American Express card do? He’d make selfies! Here are a few comments highlighting his now-global douche status: “More money on my chest than in yo bank account”, “These peasants keep hating while my money keep calculating” and “You made your bed so sleep in it, peasant”.

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Itslavishbitch, real name Param Sharma, is 17 years old

 

E IS FOR ELEVATOR SELFIES

You’re dressed to kill, fresh, waiting alone for 15 sec (such a long time for kids of the internet age), alone with a mirror – yes, it’s the supreme moment for a selfie! In the short minute before the elevator doors open onto the real world, you’re private in a public space and it’s not a toilet. The elevator selfie can be made in any elevator, but it’s extra fabulous when its architecture reveals its exclusivity or the people you’re sharing it with have more followers than you do.

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Make full use of that mirrored elevator wall

 

F IS FOR FAIL SELFIES

Making a selfie has become something so banal and quick that we often do it as a reflective behavior. Mirror, front cam, I feel great, OK, let’s do it. Freezing that very moment, however, can be a fatal embarrassment for those who aren’t attentive enough or who haven’t yet mastered the art of selfie making. Trying too hard, overkill, being too sexy, overconfidence, a photo bomb, revealing something inappropriate in the background, and the annoying humblebrag… All violate the golden rules of the modern self-portrait and will land you on the selfie blacklist.

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Always check the background of your selfie

 

G IS FOR GUYS WITH FRIES

Our favorite! Two years ago, we featured this Tumblr with skillfully made collages on the Pinar&Viola blog. Your abs, the best project that you’ve been working hard on, combined with french fries, the top of the #cheatfood, the king of the forbidden food. I’m lovin’ it!

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French fries and abs – the perfect combination of excess and virtue

 

H IS FOR THE HILL SISTERS

Kayleigh, Emily and Torrie Hill are the sisters who known for sprinting onto the field to make a selfie during the College World Series baseball finals in June this year. Not only did they throw themselves into the game, got arrested and paid a fat fine, they also livetweeted their act under #freeteamhill and became a web-ternational troll. This proves that the internet will consider your selfie a fail if it’s too farfetched or braggadocious, but you’ll be hailed for your spirit and considered a hero if it involves a crime, TV and jail.

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The Hill sisters invaded the College World Series baseball finals

 

I IS FOR IPAD SELFIE REFLECTIONS

The iPad selfie is an internet meme that began with people taking the ridiculous look of the iPad selfies one step further. It reflects in different creative manners, as mirror selfies while holding an iMac, TV, white board or even a Xerox machine.

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iPad selfies: a variation on iPhone selfies

 

J IS FOR JUDGING

Clearly there’s a love affair between selfies, social media, and judging. The power of being judged for your selfie can be measured by that shivery kick when your screen gets filled with hearts, likes and comments on a picture of yourself. When you think about it, someone took the effort of pushing a button over something as unsurprising as your face, something they’ve probably seen a thousand times. Selfies help to empower our self-esteem while making us attention junkies. Definitely nothing wrong with that. Being judged on social media has made us become the channel, host and the only competitor of our own private X Factor.

 

K IS FOR KEVIN RUDD

The Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd made it to the internet mainstream with his selfies, varying from a shaving accident to a snap with a homeless person at the background. During a public appearance in August, his words “Just line up for your selfies” echoed over the speakers. As we have witnessed over the last few years, politicians with a fatal management of selfies and their public apology has become the sport en vogue. Thankfully in the case of Kevin Rudd, there is no weiner, nor vulgar nudity involved, but making the headlines for his selfie strategy and not his political ideology makes us think it’s time to fire his social media advisor.

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Kevin Rudd taking a selfie with a constituent

 

L IS FOR LEAKED SNAPCHATS

2012’s sweetheart Snapchat made it to our daily consumption list of social media with its magic trick of making photos vanish in less than 10 seconds. Not only did that crucial tweak change our interaction with the image, it also shaped our understanding of intimacy and prompted us to introduce nudity to our selfies. At first, each attempt to make a screenshot would fail and be reported to the sender – but you could still screencap it. It’s rumored that you won’t even be notified of screenshots if you’re running ios7. Yet some still believe in the magic and continue sending images which aren’t originally made for public consumption, only to be found on snapchatleaked.com.

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X-rated snapchats: not as private as you think

 

M IS FOR MONEY SELFIES

Believed to be deriven from sleeveface meme, money selfies are a creative way to spice up your auto portraits. With a small creative effort, you entertain your followers and be part of a royal currency context. Plus, it’s fun. Check out more examples on the Pinar&Viola blog.

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Insert yourself onto currency with moneyface

 

N IS FOR NAKED MOM SELFIES

This collection of naked mothers making selfies with their kids accidentally captured in the background makes the number one of oxymoronic selfies. Why are they quite so awkward? The problem isn’t that the mother’s attention is somewhere else than her kid for a second, it’s more that while she’s pleasing an unknown beholder while her child’s busy knocking his head on a wall. If you want to flaunt yourself on the sexier corners of the internet, keep your kid out of the studio set. Or maybe read this guide for parents taking selfies.

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Childcare sometimes comes second to selfies

 

O IS FOR ORIGINALITY

We’re all familiar with the few existing golden selfie rules, like no duck/cheese face, be natural, be nonchalant, look like you’re having a ball, find your best angle, etc. But on the path to making a great selfie, the hardest is composing yourself in the presence of a famous person. Pretending that it’s all cool is passé as our eyes are well trained for the humblebrag. Transparency is something rare and to be admired these days. Be original, be calculatedly sweet and express how nervous you are while holding back tears like a cute little child.

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Taking a selfie with a celebrity requires some talent

 

P IS FOR YOUR PERFECT ANGLE

If you already don’t know your perfect angle, we don’t know what you’re doing with your life. Let’s give few tips before you start exercising in front of the mirror. The experts point out that the majority of people look best when their face is tilted at a slight angle to the camera, as opposed to straight on. Also, a study shows that your left side is more photogenic. But limiting yourself to your face for the best angle is also quite conservative. Watch Kim Kardashian and learn. Look over the shoulder, have the pseudo-unconscious sexy gaze, puckered lips and for extra points, try to include your A-list booty.

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Various examples of Kim Kardashian’s perfect angle

 

Q IS FOR THE QUIET SELFIE

Back in 2008, Rihanna got a ‘Shhh’ tattoo and flaunted her creative ink with multiple selfies. In 2009, Lindsay Lohan and Lily Allen allegedly got the same ‘Shhh’ on their index finger. Since these three It girls, the quiet tattoo has made its way to the creative mainstream. It’s quite enigmatic how Rihanna didn’t make a scene out of these two copying her idea in the first place – the news channels reported it as copying but we see it as the sincerest form of flattery. But hey, let people mind their own business. Shhh!

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Rihanna’s ‘shhh’ tattoo sparked a selfie trend

 

R IS FOR THE ROBBERY SELFIE

We’re all familiar with this bathroom selfie of the robbers’ home-made balaclava with the kitchen knife. These two teenage girls are two cousins from the south of Sweden who decided to get their kicks by stealing and robbing a burger place, and decided that there’s nothing wrong with making a picture of the moment thrill supreme. A pre-robbery selfie, where you look like a criminal, screams out for likes. But here’s what puzzles us: did they take the selfie to get likes, or did they rob the restaurant to make the perfect selfie?

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If you a commit a robbery and don’t selfie it, it didn’t happen

 

S IS FOR SHERMAN, CINDY

In the history of art, several artists like Frida Khalo, Van Gogh and Freud used themselves as model. But it’s Cindy Sherman’s photography that is most relevant to the selfie. The introduction of photography, especially with a small apparat stuck in your hand, changed the dynamics of an artistic auto-portrait and blurred the line between art and vanity. While the artistic auto-portrait intends to reveal something darker that reflects an underlying insecurity, the selfie is all surface: coded as your own personal sales pitch, it screams what you see is what you get.

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Cindy Sherman, the originator of the 21st century selfie

 

T IS FOR TEARS

Photographing yourself crying is the rarest of selfies, but it does exist. Why would you do it, though? Posting a picture of yourself crying can attract likes for multiple reasons: you get to have extra attention and affection, people write more comments, and you even get to make artistic pictures. You are the best art director of yourself. The only danger here is that one day you may become The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

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Crying selfies: a cry for help?

 

U IS FOR UGLIFY YOURSELF

It can be hard to be a pretty girl. Every time you make a selfie, you make your less-pretty friends jealous. But if you can uglify yourself, you prove that you have a decent level of self confidence while getting everyone to laugh with you. When you make an ugly selfie, you emancipate yourself from the how-to-look-good social codes, but within certain limits. These selfies of girls who uglify themselves are often combined with a pre-ugly cute expression on the left, just to make sure you know they really are beautiful and that it’s all part of the joke.

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Cara Delevingne demonstrates the uglified selfie

 

V IS FOR THE VACATION SELFIE

If you don’t have a selfie from the holidays, it’s like you never went, right? Lying on the beach while facing the ocean, your legs are trim from your spring #10K records, sun burning up your tanned skin while the rest of your friends at the office hate you. Yes, you need to document this! On the other hand, you’re not the only one who came up with this artistic idea. Even though we laugh at it, every girl recognises something in the hot dog legs Tumblr.

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Hot Dog Legs is a Tumblr devoted to the most common vacation shot

 

W IS FOR THE WEBCAM

The webcam is one of those doomed technologies close to their expiration date, like the floppy disc or CD. Webcam entered our lives before the smartphone front camera, enabling us to make a snap self-portrait in the digital realm and sharing it without going through a bunch of cables and uploads. What is very specific to the webcam selfies is that they’re often made privately, via a desktop computer located in your bedroom. They reveal a very webcam-typical angle of your face, complete with personal information in the background.

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A typical webcam shot

 

X IS FOR XXX-RATED

The naked selfie has been critically interpreted as the rise of narcissism, self-objectification or the pornification of teenage youth. It may all be true, but objectified or not objectified, the XXX-rated selfie is a source of self-empowerment in the vain times we live in. Especially for certain people who’ve made exercise, sports and living a healthy lifestyle their full-time job and are looking for a certain type of attention. The self-confidence to try to make it to the top ten of #hotgirl is payback for all the time you spent improving your shape.

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Nude selfies often resort to creative ways to avoid the full-frontal shot

 

Y IS FOR THE YOGA SELFIE

Does checking your phone get in the way of your safety, like making a Vine while driving? If that’s a yes, in that case you can completely relate to the yoga selfie trend. Whether you’re running outside, in a hot bath, on Mount Everest, or in space, a moment for yourself means a moment for a selfie. Especially in these times, where the line between spirituality and distraction has never been so thin.

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Two girls show off their yoga pose

 

Z IS FOR ZZZ SELFIES

Caught Me Sleeping, often intentionally misspelled as “Bae Caught Me Slippin”, is a global inside joke involving a sleeping selfie that deliberately shows the mirror in which you took your own photo. It is born as a reaction to leaked real-fake sleeping selfies, and it consitutes such a meta use of the selfie that the motivation and the humor behind it may not be understood by the ones who are not internet-flexible.

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A prime example of ‘bae caught me slippin’

 

This entry was written by Pinar&Viola, posted on September 18, 2013 at 9:36 am, filed under Art, Craftsmanship, Digitalization, Internet, P&V for Dazed Digital, Selfies. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink.

The perfect gift for yourself

Make-up artist and art school graduate Vladimir Sushkevich makes dolls 2011. These miniature women replica dolls are used as home decoration. Each one is hand-made and hand-painted, making each production unique. The artist works with pictures of real people to sculpt the figure’s shapes. Everyone can order there own custom-made doll from his website by sending a photo or choosing between different creations.

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More information on artist’s website.

This entry was written by Pinar&Viola, posted on September 12, 2013 at 9:28 pm, filed under Art, Craftsmanship, Fetish, Folk, Lifestyle, Uncategorized, Various. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink.

Webcam Venus

Are Botticelli and Hugh Hefner really that different?
A project by Addie Wagenknecht and Pablo Garcia where they asked online sexcam performers to replicate iconic works of art. This piece is an experimental homage to both fine art and the lowbrow internet phenomenon of cams.

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Webcam Venus project is developed for FAT lab by Addie Wagenknecht and Pablo Garcia. Webcam Venus is a work in two parts and will be shown in its entirety at FAT GOLD April 1-13 2013 at Eyebeam NYC.

This post is made possible thanks to Remco van Bladel

This entry was written by Pinar&Viola, posted on April 16, 2013 at 12:25 pm, filed under Art, Craftsmanship, Dematerialization, Digitalization, Internet, Selfies, Various, Video. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink.

A conspiracy theory

Are we the only one who had to think of Gloria, the artwork Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla presented at Venice Biennale, after hearing the terrorist attack at the Boston marathon? Art inspiring reality is a given, but this time we cannot not speculate that it inspired evil.
All our prays are with the marathon attack victims and their families.

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This entry was written by Pinar&Viola, posted on at 9:14 am, filed under Art, Dematerialization. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink.

Rijks Museum is now open

Thanks to our dear friends at BULLETT Magazine, we were invited to take part in the grande re-opening of the Rijks Museum Amsterdam, with a seat at the from the front row, as part of the international press. Hereby few snaps from the day. Follow us on instagram for more daily entertainment.

That moment… #RijksMuseum
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#HerMajesty #TheQueen #Beatrix is looking at me #sup @rijksmuseum
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Caribbean swag at #RijksMuseum opening
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Dutch prince #WillemAlexander Instagramming the press #RijksMuseum
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The queen arrives!!!!!! #RijksMuseumOpening
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Police dogs smelling the press before the #queen arrives #RijksMuseum #Opening
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This entry was written by Pinar&Viola, posted on April 13, 2013 at 10:01 pm, filed under Amsterdam, Art, Exhibition, Photography, Pinar&Viola. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink.

Halloween costume inspiration 2: Art Lover














This entry was written by Pinar&Viola, posted on October 30, 2012 at 3:11 pm, filed under Art, Craftsmanship, Dematerialization, Fashion, Folk. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink.

A classic fit

Style boosting classicistic jeans editorial:






This entry was written by Pinar&Viola, posted on October 4, 2012 at 10:27 am, filed under Art, Fashion. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink.

2013 Collection: Scandal Aqua















Exhibition of Pinar&Viola’s Ecstatic Surface Collection 2013 at Pilevneli Project, Istanbul

Ecstatic Surface Design duo Pinar&Viola are generators of commentaries in the margins of visual culture. Every year they launch an autonomous collection that explores excessive events in politics, culture and economy. With their Ecstatic Surface Collections, Pinar&Viola aim to encapsulate the beauty and horror of the contemporary in flat singular surfaces. The duo is strongly focused on the aestheticized and commercialized designed surfaces that surround us. With their works, they seek to investigate the latent violence and the power structures behind today’s idealized surfaces. 
Pinar&Viola have collaborated for three years, their previous collections were The Credit Card CollectionDiva Opaque and the love message service 4eva

This year’s collection, Scandal Aqua – Thrill Seekers Leaked, is a visual scenario inspired by the latest political sex scandals. The collection expresses the mediatization and tabloidization of politics. The hyper detailed collages explore the influence of real-time transparency of social media in politics, therefore narrowing the gap between politicians and citizens. Pinar&Viola’s over-filled hyper detailed surfaces in Scandal Aqua are attempts to conquer empty space in a metaphorical sense: empty (political) rhetoric and tabloid journalism, that by its sheer abundance becomes meaningless. 

Scandal Aqua comprises a series of teenage style, girly pink beach towels that display overly self aware portraits of a fictitious politician. Alongside these towels are a series of mirror self-shots of teen girls in their bathrooms, wrapped in these ecstatic pink towels.
The portraits display the confusion about women’s sexual liberation and sexual objectification fitting today’s casual attitude towards sexual explicit imagery.

Scandal Aqua provokes the suggestion that political sex scandals seem to be the perfect fit for our highly sexualized culture and it’s constant flow of entertainment spirit.
The exhibition is open until the 22nd of September.

This entry was written by Pinar&Viola, posted on September 12, 2012 at 6:58 pm, filed under Art, Craftsmanship, Ecstatic Surface Design, Exhibition, Glam Chaos, Graphic design, Pinar&Viola, Vernissage, Visual ecstasy. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink.

Launch of our new collection: Scandal Aqua



Next Thursday, September 6th, our new Ecstatic Surface Collection 2013, Scandal Aqua will be launched at Pilevneli Project in Istanbul. Hereby two images from the collection and our portrait taken by the photographer of the gallery, Isik Kaya, together with our personal video invitation and the text written by the curator of Cobra Museum, Hilde de Bruijn.
We hope to see you with us at 7pm at Pilevneli Project.

Scandal Aqua
Ecstatic Surface Collection 2013
Thrill Seekers Leaked

Collection 2013 is the third Ecstatic Surface Design Collection by Amsterdam-based graphic design duo Pinar&Viola. Their collections are non-commissioned, autonomous projects based on current events in politics, culture and economy, encapsulating the beauty and horror of the contemporary. As the recurring term ‘Ecstatic Surface Design’ indicates, the collections (like Pinar&Viola’s other work) are strongly focused on the aestheticized and commercialized designed surfaces that surround us, and with their design they seek to investigate the latent violence, the power structures, behind these surfaces. In their own words, the 2011 Collection for instance staged oversized credit cards as “toxic pieces of plastic, shown as an all-encompassing metaphor for shattered dreams, disappointment, the changing notion of value and the mutating concept of ‘credit’”.
The 2012 collection consisted of images that belong to “the secret collection of the fictitious persona Scarf_whiz80. Snapshots, carefully manipulated pictures and skilful photomontages, all portraying veiled divas built a critique on societal norms of gender, race, religion and sexuality, including destructions of stereotypes and ideologies.”

The bath towels of the 2013 Collection are lavishly decorated with an overload of symbols, icons, and gadgets taken from popular and vernacular culture. Let me list some of Pinar&Viola’s main ingredients for this project:
Think pop star posters. Think Justin Bieber towels gone wrong. Think Tumblr.
Think Twitter. Think teen girls experiments with blingees.
Think webcam chats. Think Wikileaks. Think sexting.
And now we’re at it anyway: think Berlusconi, and the man whose name was mentioned so often in the press that we now, with an oddly intimate ring to it, refer to him as DSK. Two men whose sexual scandals are too well-known to be repeated here. Think the image of Democratic Congresman David Wu, dressed in a tiger suit with his hands in the air to a female aide. (Wu resigned after being accused of having an ‘unwanted sexual encounter’ with the teenage daughter of a friend.) And last but not least think of Congresman Chris Lee, who photographed himself shirtless in a bathroom mirror and sent the pictures to a woman he supposedly contacted on Craigslist.

The towels directly speak to our senses. In fact, at first, their pink-purplish backgrounds might even have a slightly nauseating effect. On top of that, the abundant amount of kittens, icons from Blackberry’s love theme, blingbling items, and other kitschy elements seem to have little to do with the frame of reference of the average grownup. And personally, I even felt a bit revolted by the idea of pressing the image of that overly self-aware looking, slick middle-aged man with fake smile who is at the heart of each towel’s composition, to my freshly showered body.

Clearly, the intended users of these towels must be the wet-haired teenage Tumblr generation girls, who’s photographs, taken with their smart phones in the private space of their bath rooms, are part of the Collection too. But then what is the relationship between the girls, each wrapped in one of the towels, and this man? There is a photograph of him in his bathroom too, at odds with the carefully controlled image he is presenting with the towels. In the photograph, he is wearing his own personal towel with a distorted pin-stripe pattern, and hashtag sign followed by the word charisma – as if to stress his popularity. Are the girls, all wearing the same necklace with hashtag medallion, admirers or maybe courtesans of this man? Well, possibly, as in the 2013 Collection “dubious moral standards ornament teenage dreams,”
as Pinar&Viola state themselves.

Yet, the pink-purplish towels keep drawing my attention, pulling me off and keeping me hypnotised at the same time. They raise my curiosity, not despite, but because they seem to present an impossible constellation of things which I would like to discuss in more detail. Instead of Justin Bieber, these towels feature our before-mentioned photo-shopped character. It would be safe now to presume that he is a fictitious politician, who upon further inspection is of course also wearing a wedding ring. He finds himself in five different, carefully designed settings, one for each towel: Domestic Affairs, Global Affairs, Sustainable Affairs, International Affairs, and Urban Affairs. In this parody realm, symbols, icons, gadgets, and decorations which would normally together make no particular sense, attain a coherent, symbolic meaning and become embedded in the suggestion of a narrative, a scandal even. Let’s get into detail with one example only, the Domestic Affairs towel:

This particular towel was highly inspired by the Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal. U.S. Congresman Weiner not only send x-rated self-portraits via Twitter but also a picture of kittens accompanied by a suggestive message along the lines of “me playing with kittens”. On the background of Weiner’s picture, a photograph of the presidential family was visible. So upon further investigation, the combination of pictures of cute kittens, empty photo frames (an indication of the empty rhetoric of a happy family life), a webcam and a ‘home’ button in the Domestic Affairs towel suddenly makes perfect twisted sense. We could also further speculate now about the threesome of a ‘home’ button, the password icon, lock and key, and the inclusion of a PC and webcam in this towel – they seem to send a warning message, and tell us that our homes, where we fulfil our need for privacy and recuperate, are not as impenetrable as we like to think. The PC and webcam do not only provide us a window to the world, it brings the world in as well. It is probably no coincidence that in the Domestic Affairs the curtains are open, and the weather outside looks grim.

The Domestic Affairs towel is exemplary for Pinar&Viola’s love for the vernacular, and what they call contemporary digital folk art, as well as for the entire 2013 Collection which is inspired by the political sex scandals that were all over the news last year – although most towels are generally inspired by these and do not illustrate specific examples. With their ‘junk’ ingredients, Pinar&Viola managed to cook-up a nourishing haute cuisine which speaks of politics, media, and strategies of manipulation and diversion, and makes us chew on the question what it actually is that the media are offering us. Are we being occupied with sex scandals instead of the information we really need in order to build well-informed opinions and make decisions as responsible, self-empowered individuals? And if so, is this type of distraction all we really want? Or, alternatively, if politicians and other powerful figures get caught in a sex scandal, shouldn’t we be treating this as serious item generating further research into the dynamics behind power structures, gender roles and class divisions? Or, when it comes to the media involved, shouldn’t we be speaking about the role of social media in the self-image of teenagers, or about the penetration of the public sphere into the private lives of people?

TO CONQUER A VACUUM
Just like Pinar&Viola’s previous two collections this collection pushes the boundaries of graphic design, though not only for its autonomous character, its rich iconography, or the quite overt political message about the mediatisation and spectacularisation of politics.
At the basis of the duo’s aesthetic language lies a philosophical approach that leads to a radical working method, and to designs that are so hyper-detailed and densely pixelated that they gain an almost tactile quality. Pinar&Viola’s ecstatic surface designs in fact testify of a great digital craftsmanship, traditionally relegated to the domestic and feminine sphere of labour, and involving a time-consuming work process that goes against the standardization and democratization of design and it’s software (in which there is no room for ‘hand-crafted’ originality).

What is interesting, is how Pinar&Viola’s strategy of creating incredibly dense surfaces is a balancing act between irony and love, between their critique of populist rhetoric with acknowledgement and acceptance of our irrational desires and needs. In their practice our need for ornamentation for instance, becomes a means through which they reveal the inherent, essential qualities of a subject. It becomes impossible to distinguish form and content, surface and depth, as Pinar&Viola are well aware of, when stating that “decoration is a means by which the inherent essential qualities of a subject are revealed. Decoration is a functional and autonomous facet in our practice, existing as stylistic elements and as a subject matter at the same time.”

Pinar&Viola’s surfaces are in fact so densely ornamented that the classic art historical term ‘horror vacui’ (Latin for ‘fear of empty space’) springs to mind, which means the filling of the entire surface of a space or an artwork with detail. The classic idea is that empty or unfilled spaces are unnatural, that they go against the laws of nature and physics and that hence we feel the need to fill these spaces. Pinar&Viola take the notion of horror vacui ad absurdum; in our visually saturated environment they manage to be even louder – something I would actually not have thought possible. This is horror vacui for the affluent and well-educated consumer, Pinar&Viola’s response to the overload of information that we are surrounded with. Maybe our desire to ‘decorate’ is not caused by fear of empty space but by “a desire to adapt a vacuum, to conquer it, to mark it with one’s presence, (…),” as this is exactly what cultivators and constructors Pinar&Viola seem to do. Moreover, their rich iconography and horror vacui strategy not only conquers white, ‘unfilled’ space on a surface but also conquers empty space in a metaphorical sense: empty (political) rhetoric, superficial journalism, and information that by its sheer abundance becomes meaningless.

Hilde de Bruijn
Amsterdam, August 2012

i All Pinar&viola citations come from email and skype conversations that we had between June 2012 and August 2012
ii See note ii
iii Tumblr is a microblogging platform and social networking website. The service allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog, named a “tumblelog”. The service is most popular with the teen and college-aged user segments with half of Tumblr’s visitor base being under the age of 25.
iv Animated pictures created using the Blingee free online photo editor which provides its users with a hotchpotch of “favorite topics from celebrities to anime, emo, goth, fantasy, vintage, and more!”
v The act of sending sexually explicit messages or photographs, primarily between mobile phones
vi See note i
vii As suggested by Asger Jorn in Against Functionalism, 1. Talk at the International Congress of Industrial Design (10th Triennale of Industrial Art, Milan), 1954. The text can be found online, for instance here: http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/asger-jorn/functionalism.htm

This entry was written by Pinar&Viola, posted on August 30, 2012 at 7:38 am, filed under Art, Decadence, Dematerialization, Digitalization, Ecstatic Surface Design, Exhibition, Glam Chaos, Graphic design, Pinar&Viola, Political glam, Published, Vernissage, Video, Visual ecstasy. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink.

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