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Jack Fischer Gallery
Jack Fischer Gallery

Life-Size Graphite Skeleton Draws Itself Into Oblivion

Jack Fischer Gallery
Jack Fischer Gallery

If the news cycle has got you down, we’ve got some good news: Someday, we’ll all be dead and gone and none of this will matter. If that sentence was actually comforting for you, you’re going to love artist Agelio Batle’s “Ash Dancer,” a full-size graphite skeleton that gradually vanishes like the point of a person-shaped pencil.

The San Francisco-based artist works in all kinds of media, from sculpture and painting to installation and performance art. He describes “Ash Dancer” as a form of “material investigative work,” partially inspired by his love of science and nature.

Batle’s choice of graphite as a medium is doubly significant. Graphite is best known as the stuff of pencil “lead,” and indeed many of the drawings accompanying “Ash Dancer” on display at the Jack Fischer Gallery in San Francisco were done in graphite. But the mineral is also a part of the planet, naturally occurring in igneous and metamorphic rocks. In an ashes-to-ashes, dust-to-dust path, Batle’s graphite was removed from the earth only to take the shape of disintegrating human remains.

And the skeleton will disintegrate; Batle’s made sure of it. “Ash Dancer” will be hung just above a moving, paper-covered table. As the graphite bones bump against the table, the soft mineral will transfer to the paper, dissolving the body even as it creates a visual record of its own demise.

The skeleton is not Batle’s first work in graphite. Previous projects have included ephemeral feathers, hands, leaves, and animals, some of which are available in his online shop.

“Ash Dancer” will be on display at the Jack Fischer Gallery in San Francisco from November 5 to December 29, 2016.

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Art
Art Lovers in England, Rejoice: France's Famous Bayeux Tapestry is Coming to the UK
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

One of France’s most prized national treasures, the Bayeux Tapestry, is officially heading to England for exhibition. The loan will mark the first time the fragile 11th century work has left France in nearly 1000 years, according to The Washington Post.

French president Emmanuel Macron announced news of the loan in mid-January, viewed by some as a gesture to smooth post-Brexit relations with Britain, ABC reports. The tapestry depicts the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, a historically important event replete with guts and glory.

Stretching for 210 feet, the Bayeux Tapestry’s nine embroidered panels tell the tale of Harold, Earl of Wessex, who swore an oath to support the right of William, Duke of Normandy, to the English throne once King Edward (a.k.a. Edward the Confessor) died without an heir. But after Edward's funeral at Westminster Abbey, Harold breaks his oath to William so he could be crowned king instead. Believing he was the rightful ruler, William—today remembered as William the Conqueror—decides to wage war and ultimately defeats Harold at the Battle of Hastings.

The historical narrative has endured for centuries, but the tapestry's provenance has been lost to time. Experts think that the artwork may have been created in England, shortly after the Battle of Hastings, although it’s unclear who designed and embroidered the scenes. Its original owner, Bishop Odo of Bayeux, the half-brother of William the Conqueror, may have commissioned the Bayeux Tapestry. He became Earl of Kent after the Battle of Hastings, and this new title would have afforded him access to skilled artisans, The Guardian explains.

The Bayeux Tapestry is currently on display in the town of Bayeux in Normandy. It likely won’t leave France until 2020, after conservators ensure that it’s safe to move the artwork. According to The Telegraph, the tapestry might be be displayed at the British Museum in 2022.

[h/t The Washington Post]

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Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.
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Design
This Snow Sculpture of a Car Was So Convincing Cops Tried to Write It a Ticket
Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.
Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.

Winter is a frustrating time to be on the road, but one artist in Montreal has found a way to make the best of it. As CBS affiliate WGCL-TV reports, his snow sculpture of a DeLorean DMC-12 was so convincing that even the police were fooled.

Simon Laprise of L.S.D Laprise Simon Designs assembled the prank car using snow outside his home in Montreal. He positioned it so it appeared to be parked along the side of the road, and with the weather Montreal has been having lately, a car buried under snow wasn’t an unusual sight.

A police officer spotted the car and was prepared to write it a ticket before noticing it wasn’t what it seemed. He called in backup to confirm that the car wasn’t a car at all.

Instead of getting mad, the officers shared a good laugh over it. “You made our night hahahahaha :)" they wrote on a fake ticket left on the snow sculpture.

The masterpiece was plowed over the next morning, but you can appreciate Laprise’s handiwork in the photos below.

Snow sculpture.

Snow sculpture of car.

Snow sculpture of car.

Note written in French.

[h/t WGCL-TV]

All images courtesy of Simon Laprise.

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