Carnovsky is the Milan-based artistic duo of Francesco Rugi and Silvia Quintanilla, responsible for the trippiest wallpaper and scarves you are ever likely to set eyes on. Their RGB series of artworks combine independent colored images into fabulous, multi-layered bestiaries and jungles. From their website:
RGB is a work about the exploration of the “surface’s deepness”.
RGB designs create surfaces that mutate and interact with different chromatic stimulus.
RGB’s technique consists in the overlapping of three different images, each one in a primary color. The resulting images from this three level’s superimposition are unexpected and disorienting. The colors mix up, the lines and shapes entwine becoming oneiric and not completely clear. Through a colored filter (a light or a transparent material) it is possible to see clearly the layers in which the image is composed. The filter’s colors are red, green and blue, each one of them serves to reveal one of the three layers.
The images look more like CMY (cyan, magenta, yellow) than RGB (red, green, blue), but I’m not complaining.
Below is Vesalio, one of my favorite Carnovsky images which is based on the 16th century anatomical drawings of Andreus Vesalius.
After producing a series of prints and wallpapers on a white background, the duo began exploring the RGB aesthetic on black. Here’s Animalia II.
As beautiful as the still images are, I think video does a much better job of showing the interactive nature of these artworks. When illuminated by light of changing colors, the subjects shift, appear, and vanish. In a word, trippy. Check out this video of their art installation, “La Selva” ( The Jungle), which incorporates RGB representations of both day and night, at a London venue called DreamBagsJaguarShoes.
How would you like to have a glass of wine (or something stronger) and watch that animated wall for an hour? Hard to believe it’s really a static surface under colored lights, and not an animation projected onto the wall.
If you’re interested in hearing from the artists, here’s an interesting interview where they mention Henri Rousseau, Rudyard Kipling, and Werner Herzog as artistic influences. The influence of the painter Rousseau is unsurprising; the installation above is even named The Jungle, and most of Rousseau’s famous works are jungle scenes teeming with exotic plants and animals. Ditto for Kipling, whose most famous stories center on, in the words of the artists, “The merciless law of the jungle, the complex hierarchies between animals and nature that have to be respected in order to maintain an equilibrium.” But the connection to the filmmaker Herzog is a bit more subtle. The artists explain:
Herzog is one of our favourite filmmakers: we consider him probably one of the few last heros of our age. It is impossible to see one of his films or documentaries without having in mind how it has been done. When Fitzcarraldo’s ship is dragged over a mountain, it’s such a powerful image that makes you feel like you could do anything if you really wanted to. When the ship is really dragged, we think that no special effect could ever give you this sensation of greatness, it is the author behind the character that’s the real hero. We also love his vision of nature, again merciless, cruel, egoist, but magnificent.
If you’re as enamored with their work as I am, consider buying a phone case or wall graphic! They have also applied their RGB aesthetic to make breathtaking silk scarves which I love but cannot afford. I’ll leave you with a couple of those images.
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