“Like going to war.” This is how one of the wrestlers in photographer Ken Hermann and art director Gem Fletcher‘s project Bökh, describes Mongolian wrestling. Shot in the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, the resulting portraits and short film pay respect to this ancient tradition. It’s a tradition that is still very much alive in the nomadic communities that account for 30% of the country’s population.
No, you’re not looking at a photograph of a woman donning a large piece of saran wrap like a cape. What you see is, in fact, a hyperrealistic painting of a woman with an equally realistic sheer sheet of plastic, creasing and clinging to her body. London-born, Australia-based artist Robin Eley is the painter behind these highly sensual renderings that crave close inspection to appreciate their fine craftsmanship.
The large-scale oil paintings are expertly executed on Belgian linen and immediately draw the viewers attention with its, at times, risqu content. Using the naked form covered in a translucent material also raises many questions. What is the meaning behind the man-made element coating the man himself, yet truly concealing nothing? How does one interpret the work?
Eley says, “Inspired by history, I extract from the present. Artifacts and textures that reflect the beauty and nobility of decline and question the modern obsession with perfection. While my subjects and technique are intentionally very real, the context in which they are painted is less defined.”
Check out a time-lapsed video of the intricate, time-consuming process behind one of Eley’s paintings, below.