The Small Knocking Down the Big is a 2009 installation by Chinese artist Qiu Zhijie made from hundreds of cut wooden dominoes meant to loosely demonstrate the effects of something that has become known as Domino Magnification (if you really, really enjoy physics see the recent work of J. M. J. van Leeuwen). The basic premise is that any domino can knock over another domino that’s roughly 1.5 times larger, meaning that if you gently pushed a normal sized domino into a chain of bricks that increase in size each time by 1.5, the 32nd object will be large enough to topple the Empire State Building. In the video example above it takes only 13 dominoes starting with an object the size of a bean to knock over a 100 lb. slab!
Zhijie’s installation is somewhat less mathematical and more visual, but the same mathematical principles hold true. Participants are invited to knock over the smalles dominoes at the outer branches of the installation which eventually gain enough momentum to knock over the thicker blocks at the trunk. (via lustik)
Bristol-based visual artist Joanie Lemercier has been experimenting with light projected onto 3D canvases. This lastest work created for a Birmingham gallery space was created using sheets of A4 paper folded into pyramids onto which he projected light resulting in an interesting organic effect. No video unfortunately, but you can learn more about his work here.
In his photographic self-portrait series Struggle to Right Oneself, artist Kerry Skarbakka captures himself in moments of suspended peril: falling from trees, tumbling head over heels in painfully precarious falls, slipping nude in the shower, or teetering on the edge of a fateful leap from a railway bridge. In his artist statement Skarbakka references philosopher Martin Heidegger’s description of human existence as a process of perpetual falling, and the responsibility of each person to catch ourselves from our own uncertainty. He continues:
This photographic work is in response to this delicate state. It comprises a culmination of thought and emotion, a tying together of the threads of everything I perceive life has come to represent. It is my understanding and my perspective, which relies on the shifting human conditions of the world that we inhabit. It’s exploration resides in the sublime metaphorical space from where balance has been disrupted to the definitive point of no return. It asks the question of what it means to resist the struggle, to simply let go. Or what are the consequences of holding on?
Skarbakka says that he utilizes special climbing gear and other rigging to achieve each shot, but the final images are truly convincing if somewhat ambiguous. This too is on purpose, as the images are meant to leave the viewer questioning. Do they suggest we can fly? Do we fall? What happens when we land? See many more shots from the series over on his website. All images courtesy the artist. (via not shaking in the grass)
As part of his first exhibition at Galleria Continua in San Gimignano, artist Ai Weiwei (previously) has installed 760 stacked bicycles in a sprawling installation on a raised stage within the gallery. It’s important to note that the bikes are not simply “stacked” but have been physically attached creating a single cohesive structure which can be explored from within, similar to his 2011 work Forever Bicycles. The exhibition is comprised of several sculptures, installations, video and photographs from the Chinese artist who was bestowed last May with the inaugural Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent from the Human Rights Foundation. Last year Weiwei was also the subject of the documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry directed by American filmmaker Alison Klayman, which follows the artist through several nasty scuffles with Chinese authorities while he creates several new provocative artworks and organized social actions. Easily one of the best documentaries of 2012 and I highly recommend it (stream it on Netflix).
The exhibition at Galleria Continua is on view through February 16th, and you can see many more images here. All imagery above was provided courtesy Galleria Continua.
This incredibly detailed skull made from repurposed skateboard decks is one of several new artworks from self-taught Japanese artist Haroshi (previously) who will be opening his second solo show at Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York on January 12. Don’t miss it.
South Carolina-based artist Jessica Drenk was born and raised in Montana where she developed an understanding and appreciation of the natural world that has since deeply influenced the course of her artistic career. Her installations and sculptures often imitate organic shapes, patterns, and textures even when using a medium that is often manufactured by human hands. Drenk’s most recent sculptures are a series called Implements, each of which begins with a mass of standard No. 2 pencils that have been tightly glued together. Using an electric sander she then molds the piece into a form that seems more likely to have originated in a dark cave or deep within the ocean than from a school desk. Of her work she says:
By transforming familiar objects into nature-inspired forms and patterns, I examine how we classify the world around us. Manufactured goods appear as natural objects, something functional becomes something decorative, a simple material is made complex, and the commonplace becomes unique. In changing books into fossilized remnants of our culture, or in arranging elegantly sliced PVC pipes to suggest ripple and wave patterns, I create a connection between the man-made and the natural.
French photographer Laurent Chehere is known for his commercial work for clients such as Audi and Nike, but after a change of interest he left advertising and traveled the world with stops throughout China, Argentina, Columbia, and Boliva. From his numerous photographs along the way was born his flying houses series, a collection of fantastical buildings, homes, tents and trailers removed from their backgrounds and suspended in the sky as if permanently airborne. The collection of work appeared at Galerie Paris-Beijing last year with an appearance at Art Miami in December. You can see much more on his website. (via it’s nice that)