“Okja” is a 2017 film directed by Bong Joon-ho. Although it did not rake in awards like the subsequent “Parasite“, “Okja” ranks among the South Korean director’s best works and features an ensemble cast that includes Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Lily Collins, Giancarlo Esposito, and Jake Gyllenhaal.
The film tells the story of a young girl who for most of her life has raised a genetically modified “super pig,” building a bond of mutual affection with him. But their lives are set to change drastically as the industry that actually created the animal must take it back to begin the slaughtering process. This is an exposing film against the mistreatment of animals within the meat industry that manages to deal with the topic by focusing on empathy and friendship. For this very reason in 2019 it was named one of the most influential films of the decade by the New York Times.
In “Okja,” the state of mind of the protagonist and her animal are reflected in the colors of the sets and the choices related to the cinematography, curated by Darius Khondji (Seven, Midnight in Paris, Uncut Gems), which manage to completely capture the viewer.
You know the sky on certain summer days, when you couldn’t find a cloud miles away and everything above our heads is a delicate blue, the color of the sweetest of spun sugars? IllustratorKentoIIDA finds in this atmosphere of calm the inspiration for his works, images of tranquil landscapes but leaving an atmosphere of suspicion, as if something unforeseen will happen soon, or as if something unforeseen has just happened, far from the eyes of possible witnesses. In these vignettes there are always elements or signs that suggest a movement that breaks the calm, sometimes the movement has already happened or is in progress, as in the case of cars launching from bridges or space missiles lifting angular clouds to the sky like marble sculptures.
Kento IIDA (who is based in Tokyo) incorporates elements of Japanese tradition in his illustrations, thus traditional buildings and views of snow-capped peaks that hint at Mount Fuji appear in these ambiguous scenes, as well as baseball players, a national sport in Japan and probably the artist’s favorite. There are not only clear skies in the views, however; poetry is also provided by clouds, often single and isolated, or by gloomy skies that sound like an omen, in an increasingly suspended and uncertain time.
Artistic expression is now no longer bound only to manual gesture, and in some cases not even to the artist’s choice. VickieVainionpää‘s works in fact follow that artistic strand in which works are the result of codes, of an algorithm that creates unpredictable solutions by reworking basic information. The Montreal-based artist creates his works through a generative code, which traces a certain number of points placed in a Cartesian plane. The result is that of twisted shapes like guts or extraterrestrial organic creatures, in which even the color and shades are dictated by the generative code.
The forms are then the basis for oil paintings on canvas, in which the digital forms acquire a presence and matter through the texture of the support, the shadows and the layering of color. Some of these canvases are recently on display in New York at The Hole NYC gallery for the artist’s solo exhibition entitled “Software.” In Vickie Vainionpää’s works, the relationship between man and machine merges, the physical and virtual experience become interconnected to the point of blurring the genesis of everything. Who creates? Who is created by whom? A series of questions that help read and complicate the present.
Arriving in the United States, in Los Angeles, to study at the University of Southern California, StefanoVitale sought a way to express his hitherto unexpressed ideas using the skills he had at his disposal. Art began to figure as the most precise and sincere tool through which to do so, so he began a path that led him to a career as an established artist, thanks to his colorful and metaphysical illustrations, evocative of magical worlds in which nature dialogues with man, in which figures are suspended in mid-air in starry skies and under the hot Sicilian sun.
In the early years of his career, Stefano Vitale insists on a recurring subject, a one-eyed Madonna, a subject certainly influenced by the sacred iconography he studied and explored throughout his travels in Mexico and Central America. “I have always trusted popular art more than official art,” Vitale explains. His look toward an elemental art is reflected in the style that uses simple lines, leaving the decorative component to color. The subjects are celebrations of joy or primal bonds such as that between mother and child or man and nature. Plants and leaves are superimposed on faces, while the sky is always a central subject of the compositions, signaled by the presence of bright stars or moons that make magical nights and sunsets. Stefano Vitale’s work has then been linked for more than two decades by his collaboration with Donnafugata. For the Sicilian winery, the artist illustrates bottle labels, visually representing an imagery of flavors and smells that originates in Sicily, finds its inspiration from music and the Leopard, and seeps into sensory memory. Below are some of the labels created by Vitale for Donnafugata.