November 20, 2015

ART | PHILIP OB REY | HUMANTROPY

Icelandic artist Philip Ob Rey creates the most amazing, haunting, sasquatchy, and lovely sculptures. Ob Rey’s photographed sculptures are assembled from VHS rolls, stones, feathers, shells, and dry seaweeds and then are photographed in his Icelandic habitat. Besides being completely fascinated by his sculptures and the Icelandic landscapes in his photographs we were also delighted by what a cool human he is. Thank you Philip Ob Rey please stay in touch. Make sure to check out Ob Rey’s website http://www.humantropy.com/

Humantropy of Philip Ob Rey
Interview: Liz Rice McCray

Would you call yourself a multimedia artist?
Multimedia is one of my substitutes. After my exhibition in Berlin, and after making sculptures and thinking of art installations, I consider myself more like a Visual Artist, close to a proteiform craftsman.

How would you explain your art form?
It is all about materializing my visions, like a daydream. I build a physical and sensorial atmosphere where people are in between. As a craftsman, I need to materialize; I create sensitive cocoons, installations where the visitor looses control and needs to trust his primitive senses to go further. As an artist, the photographs and videos I create are a poetic and raw vision of a future for humankind. I just let the viewer fall in a mesmerizing world or stay in an intellectualized comfort zone. My goal is not to trap feelings or meanings in a mono perception but to play with the extremes, the opposite, and find axis – the perfect non-gravity reactions, using a mix media form.

What materials do you mainly work with?

I’m very inspired by infamous or difficult-to-use material, which most of the time has a past story behind them. Because of my experience in the Parisian High Fashion, I am feeling very confortable with the idea of transforming raw materials and giving them a gorgeous, new effect. For example, by using the VHS tapes I bring my project to another “consciousness.” Using the tapes like dark, silk ribbons brings out an obscure luminous, glossy effect of a black leather or metal.

We must say that your sculptural Sasquatch creatures created from discarded VHS tapes left us with so many questions. How did this project come about?
This project is a part of Humantropy – play on words, morphing Human and Entropy. I built the world of “V” and these sculptures as a definition, a vision of the future of humankind. Inspired by dark romanticism and the symbolism, I created giant, primordial elements evolving in nature, dead and arid or alive and frightening. Iceland was the perfect stage. I mixed my favorite writings of Nietzsche, Orwell, Maupassant, Holy Scriptures, Buddhism Philosophy and Buto and decided to create a Genesis, a modern scripture with artifact. Like an alchemist, I connected my inspiration to an environmental and political subject. It’s the reaction against the mass media, consequences and the overconsumption of the new technologies. Then, these five sculptural monoliths appeared.

Besides the VHS tape, what else are these beasts made of?
I’m a collector and I love the idea of finding everything in the nature. In Iceland I used to collect all kinds of plants during my trips in different fjords, such as stones and sulfur close to active geothermal areas, feathers from atop of hills, shells in a far away lost village and dry seaweed from the shores. I collected everything I needed from all around Iceland in very special places and towns. Collecting day after day, the simple objects took on deeper meanings for me. I used these treasures and gave them all to these beasts, the elements they deserved to be alive.

Please tell us about these wonderful, wondering creatures… What do we call them?
I made these creatures as essential elements. They are my visions of a post-apocalyptic world. Five personas, delivering messages from the past in a captivating journey. Coming from the seas, the forest, the sky and the lava they are called: The “Submarine Wings and Seeds” (water), The “Shadows of Bedrock Children” (earth), The “Thousand of Njord’s Feather” (air) and The “Lavas’ Whisper” (fire). And there is V, the fifth entity, “Unknown Ashes, Unknown Voices.”

After you make these creatures you photograph them wondering around Iceland?
The places I’ve selected in Iceland are very special, powerful and connected to the energy of each dark giant. Making these creatures alive in such places, and it gave them a kind of “logo” during the shooting. And every creature transformed the landscape into an eerie planet just for few hours.

You live in Iceland now, but is this where you grew up? Can you tell us a little about living there? It seems like everyone wants to go there these days.
I used to live in Paris where I grew up, but Iceland was my secret obsession when I was a child. When I decided to move to Reykjavik, everything became clear. I felt connected to this culture, this country. It is now my cherished homeland. Living in Iceland is living with elements; you need to follow the rhythm of the weather, sun, volcanoes, ocean and storms. You need to act like a wild animal sometimes; it’s a completely unpredictable land. There is something brutal and poetic at the same time. And I can understand why so many people want to visit Iceland; it’s a mysterious, breathtaking magnetic island.

What’s next for you?
Right now I m preparing the next Humantropy project in Iceland. “V”HS was just the beginning of a vision; this new world will appear in 2016 with an installation. I’m also working on a visual and digital art project. I’m collaborating with Mark Klink, an ultra-talented “entity” from California, creating gorgeous and dreamlike dimensional images.

Where can people check out more of your art?
You can find my work, visions and videos on my website at www.humantropy.com and also on humantropy.tumblr. You can also follow my latest news, videos, and images on the Facebook page “Humantropy.”