There is no denying that memes have been crowding our Facebook threads, Twitter feeds and even the most dignified websites as an occasional ‘mental health break’. The institute of the Internet meme has been conspicuously on the rise over the past decade, resulting in an enormous library of recycled and re-imagined ideas. And while it can be difficult to take them seriously, the trend escalated in such fashion that it affects the way we look at traditional art today.
With so much of this kind of visual communication circling the globe, photojournalist Lasse Bak Mejlvang and visual artist Anders Bendixen decided to join forces in an eye-opening photo compilation, Unforeseen, ready to tell a global story of pop art. Drawing inspiration from the online phenomenon of memes and using rendering techniques that downplay the expressive hands of the artists, the end result is a vivid manifestation of pop culture backdropped by the Indian reality, where text and images together help create a whole new look.
“I hope people will be inspired by the fact that it is not ‘just’ a photo or ‘just’ a traditional painting. The merging styles couldn’t be any more different from each other, seeking to capture an image of India that people might not expect. Hopefully the work will offer the viewers something they could not pick up from just hearing the song and seeing the picture on its own. And it’s certainly not trying to do one better than the other – we only wanted to create something completely different”, says Lasse Bak Mejlvang.
Among the collection’s 20 works decorated with snippets from popular songs from the past decades, one can find references to everything from Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ to Justin Bieber’s ‘As Long as You Love Me’. The motifs were taken with an analog pocket camera over the extension of two trips, showing any facet of Indian lifestyle but what you would normally see in travelling brochures – from goofy tourists in front of the Taj Mahal, to young children in their checkered school uniforms and gender-segregated trains. In the language of modern art, the achievement of this rare collaboration broke new ground and revealed a different side to the artistic and cultural spectacle, one that’s reflected in vibrant colors and busy, sometimes hardly recognizable, artistic approaches.
Painted extremes of Indian schoolchildren and Taj Mahal tourists juxtaposed with pop culture lyrical references are meant to be visually stimulating to anyone who appreciates the beauty of polar opposite environments, and to foster interesting conversation and broaden artistic comprehension. Unforeseen connects the dots of how pop is never just a celebration of western consumer culture, but often an international language of progress – a language that has never been more relevant than today.
For more information about where to purchase the artwork, please contact Tomorrow Management.