All posts tagged: Various & Gold

Various & Gould: “Permanently Improvised” Temporarily in San Jose

Various & Gould: “Permanently Improvised” Temporarily in San Jose

It’s not a surprise that Various & Gould are mixing and matching bodies and faces in their new show – they’ve been doing it for years on the street.

With heads and limbs and torsos prepared in advance, the German couple are just as surprised as you sometimes to see what bionic fluorescent steampunk-inflected portraits and figures are going to emerge on a street wall overhead or around a corner. The aptly named “Permanently Improvised” show at Anno Domini in San Jose is actually compiled in part from friends and family this time out and since October they have been creating and assembling the pieces.

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Various & Gould. Process shot. (photo © Various & Gould)

More humorous than hermetic, less dreamlike than Dada, but just as atmospheric as Asimov, these futuristic looking androids are as historical as they are futurist. Gould tells us that it was an unusual 1440 masterpiece by Fra Angelico, the Italian early Renaissance artist, that was quite an inspiration for he and Various while working on the show.

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Various & Gould. Process shot. (photo © Various & Gould)

“While most parts of the picture do match with your expectations of the early Renaissance, the center part feels like a picture in the picture with very surreal details,” he says of the image he first bought as a postcard during a trip to Florence at the turn of this century. “There are loose hands and a disembodied head next to Jesus! It conveys the impression of a modern piece of art or a comic panel, being absolutely reduced to the most important elements of the story. Actually this also feels very much like a collage to us! Cut-out body parts, simultaneity of various actions and so on …”

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Fra Angelico “Cristo Deriso” C. 1440 – 1441. (photo Wikimedia Commons)

Surreally answering that Angelico call, their piece called “Brutalist Vision” (below) is just one response the duo has crafted during these winter months in their Berlin studio that merges methods of painting, serigraphy and collage. Perhaps because the faces are familiar to the authors, the distance between fantasy and reality is shortened this time in Various & Gould’s panoply of possibilities. But with V& G the poetry is always present, and closeness and farness are simply a matter of stretching and retracting their ever-pliant elastic imaginations.

As a viewer, you’ve been here before. And never before in your entire life.

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Various & Gould. Process shot of “Brutalist Vision”. (photo © Various & Gould)

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Various & Gould. Process shot of “Brutalist Vision”. (photo © Various & Gould)

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Various & Gould. Process shot of “Brutalist Vision”. (photo © Various & Gould)


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Various & Gould. Process shot. (photo © Various & Gould)

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Various & Gould. Process shot. (photo © Various & Gould)

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Various & Gould. (photo © Various & Gould)

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Various & Gould. (photo © Various & Gould)

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Various & Gould. Process shot. (photo © Various & Gould)

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Various & Gould. Process shot of “Sabotage”. (photo © Various & Gould)

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Various & Gould. The hot-off-the-press limited screen-print edition “Sabotage” (2016).(photo © Various & Gould)

 

Various & Gould Permanently Improvised exhibition will open tomorrow at Anno Domini Gallery in San Jose, CA. Click HERE for more details.

 

 

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“Face Time” with Various & Gould in Berlin

“Face Time” with Various & Gould in Berlin

80 meters from the former Berlin Wall in an area still straddling “former east” and “former west” in Berliners’ minds, Street Art duo Various and Gould have just spent 12 days on “Face Time”, a patchwork faced mural that mimics the increasing diversity of the city. Suitably for this new view of the city, it is on a new building.

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Various & Gould “Face Time” Berlin. July 2015 (photo © Hans Friedrich)

A greatly enlarged version of a collage they made from 20 or so different faces, the 250 square meter piece is their first in the city and as is the case of much of their work, contains questions about our sense of identity and exactly what defines it.

“One guy asked us, ‘What’s the name of the man?’” says Various they talk about the various comments they got from various people on various occasions. “He said, ‘That face reminds me a bit of a young Obama.’

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Various & Gould “Face Time” Berlin. July 2015 (photo © Various & Gould)

“The truth is that it is more of a patchwork identity,” offers Gould. “The result isn’t a real person with a name. We can’t even say whether it’s a man since the single face parts vary in gender.”

An unusually large size for the two, at some point the work involved was perhaps more than they realized. Luckily, some friends came by to help paint – and some strangers did too. “Twice we had the situation that very friendly – but total strangers – spontaneously climbed onto the scaffolding to offer their help!” says the wide-eyed Various incredulously.

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Various & Gould “Face Time” Berlin. July 2015 (photo © Various & Gould)

In New York this sort of random generosity means they will be a.) trying to steal your paint,  b.) asking you for some cash for drugs. In Berlin apparently, it is just the random kindness of strangers. “Both times they worked with us for a couple of hours!” says Gould.

Mural work is more grueling than most people realize, including most artists, and at some point you may lose your mind painting these dots that emulate the screen printing process that V&G fell in love with years ago.

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Lunch time for the workers Various & Gould . Berlin. July 2015 (photo © Various & Gould)

Gould explains, “It was a lot lot lot of work, painting these halftone dots … But we really needed to do it this way. We are crazy about these dots. We are passionate silkscreen printers!”

The design is actually taken from a silkscreen print collage they wheatpasted versions of on the street in Paris earlier this year. The two even used a typical silkscreen method to painting – first by painting the areas of color underneath, then carefully applying the halftone layer (all the dots) on top.

Now that its done the two say they want their work to put into question our accepted ideas about beauty as well as identity with their Dadaistic “Face Time” series. “Our aim is to create characters, not to portray actual people,” says Various. Gould agrees, “But in the end, our fictional faces seem far more real to us than many of the faces shown in the media every day.”

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Various & Gould “Face Time” Berlin. July 2015 (photo © Various & Gould)

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Various & Gould “Face Time” Berlin. July 2015 (photo © Various & Gould)

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Various & Gould “Face Time” Berlin. July 2015 (photo © Various & Gould)

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Various & Gould “Face Time” Berlin. July 2015 (photo © Various & Gould)

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Various & Gould “Face Time” This is the original poster that inspired the big mural being wheat pasted in Paris in the Spring. (photo © Various & Gould)

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Various & Gould “Face Time” Berlin. July 2015 (photo © Various & Gould)

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Various & Gould “Face Time” Berlin. July 2015 (photo © Hans Friedrich)

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Various & Gould “Face Time” Berlin. July 2015 (photo © Hans Friedrich)

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