Art Photography

Futuristic Portholes Capture the View from France’s Aging ‘Tours Aillaud’ Apartment Towers

December 5, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Series “Les Yeux des Tours” (2015 – 2017). Tours Aillaud, Nanterre, France. All images courtesy Laurent Kronental.

Eighteen towers filled with more than 1,600 apartments were built by architect Emile Aillaud between 1973 and 1981. The housing complex is found in the Pablo Picasso district of Nanterre, an inner suburb of Paris. The residential towers range from 7 to 38 floors, yet each share peculiar windows shaped like futuristic portholes. French photographer Laurent Kronental has long been fascinated by these windows and their towering hosts which serve as the subject of his 2015-2017 series Les Yeux de Tours.

Kronental shoots through these windows to capture the landscape that lies far below their sky-high positions. Many of the images in the series simply focus on the exterior view, while others include  a glimpse into the lives of residents. Curtains and bed linens hint at the owners’ aesthetic preferences, while a few photographs capture more telling objects such as pianos and dishware.

“The mundane and the magic intermesh and merge through the porthole that acts as a two-way eye, the window of a flying living room, of a spaceship galley,” explains a statement about Kronental’s series. The futuristic details built into the architecture are now elements of the past, yet their inhabitants still share the dream of a bright future. The more homely elements of their lives severely contrast the flashy design elements of the buildings’ exteriors, aging wallpaper set against the sleek skyscrapers that exist right outside.

Kronental’s work from his earlier series Souvenir d’un Futur will be exhibited in the group exhibition French Landscapes, a Photographic Experience (1984-2017) at the Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand in Paris through February 4, 2018. The exhibition includes more than 1,000 photographs from 160 artists in order to provide a diverse depiction of the French landscape as seen over the last 40 years. You can see more of Kronental’s work on his website and Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 



Art

80-Year-Old Wooden Escalators are Repurposed as a Sculptural Ribbon by Artist Chris Fox

December 5, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Photos by Josh Raymond / Chris Cox

Artist Chris Fox was tasked with repurposing two pairs of timber escalators that were first installed at Sydney’s Wynyard Station in 1931. The escalators have carried passengers for over 80 years and slowly became an iconic symbol of the city’s identity. Fox’s solution is Interloop, a twisting, accordion-like ribbon that is now suspended from the station ceiling, stitching together 244 wooden escalator treads in an otherworldly design.

Fox says Interloop is intended to permanently enshrine the motion of the escalators while also communicating that passengers remain stationary while riding them. The piece is the final step in a significant overhaul of the station that now features new elevators and escalators, a larger concourse, and improvements to ventilation and ticketing.

You can read more about Interloop and the history of Wynyard Station in the Sydney Morning Herald, and see more photos and behind-the-scenes process shots on Chris Fox’s website. (thnx, Evan!)

 

 



Illustration

Meet Tatsuo Horiuchi, the 77-Year-Old Artist Who ‘Paints’ Japanese Landscapes With Excel

December 4, 2017

Christopher Jobson

For over 15 years, Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi has rendered the subtle details of mountains, cherry blossoms, and dense forests with the most unlikely tool: Microsoft Excel. The 77-year-old illustrator shunned the idea of paying for expensive painting supplies or even a basic drawing program for his computer, saying that he prefers Excel even over Microsoft Paint because it has “more functions and is easier to use.” Using simple vector drawing tools developed primarily for graphs and simple shapes, Horiuchi instead draws panoramic scenes of life in rural Japan.

Great Big Story recently visited Horiuchi at his home for a brief interview and a behind-the-scenes look at how he works in the video above. If you’re even slightly skeptical, here’s two of his earlier Excel artworks you can download and explore yourself:

Cherry Blossoms at Jogo Castle (2006)
Kegon Falls (2007)

You can explore more of Horiuchi’s Excel drawings on his website and at Spoon & Tamago.

 

 



Art

Irregulars: A Short Documentary Traces Cyrille Kabore’s Harrowing Journey as a Refugee Set Against a Mannequin Factory

December 4, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Irregulars is a 2015 documentary by Fabio Palmieri that traces the first-hand immigration experience of a 20-year-old Ghanaian refugee named Cyrille Kabore. The short film is set within a mannequin factory, which provides all of the visuals seen in the condensed documentary. Kabore narrates his journey across land and sea, including harrowing details such as clinging to the bottom of a highway-bound truck, and being held out of the water by his older sister after falling out of a capsized boat.

The audience listens to his words as his actions and heartache are projected onto various mannequins in the surrounding factory. The story is a deeply personal tale, however its greater message is one that can be compared to the hundreds of thousands of refugees who painstakingly flee unsafe and oppressive forces in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East each year.

The film was produced by independent production company NotWorkingFilms, and since its debut has won 19 awards at film festivals across the globe. Watch the fascinating depiction of Kabore’s arduous journey in the video above.

 

 



Design

A Japanese Home Designed Around a Climbable Earthquake-Proof Bookshelf

December 4, 2017

Johnny Strategy

Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves are lovely, and can act as a robust focal point in any home, though accessing the high shelves can be a problem. The common sidekick has always been ladders which can also add character and charm, but for smaller homes like in Japan they can be a nuisance, occupying too much space for not enough usage. Japanese architect Shinsuke Fujii came up with a simple, yet brilliant solution that solves another problem too: earthquake safety.

The “House in Shinyoshida,” as it’s called, named for the neighborhood in Yokohama where it stands, was conceived shortly after the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake. The client, who happened to be an avid book lover, approached Fujii with the task to design a home around a large bookshelf that’s both easily accessible but also one that won’t spill all the books if there’s ever a tremor.

The solution was to slant the entire western-facing façade and create a built-in slanted bookshelf whose shelves also function as a ladder. The slant allows family members of all ages to climb up and reach books, but also keeps the books from falling should an earthquake ever shake the home. The slanted façade also has the effect of creating an open feeling in the family room, where the home’s high perch allows for plenty of sunlight to enter through the large windows. (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)

 

 



Art

Towering Hyperrealistic Cactus Paintings by Lee Kwang-ho

December 1, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Cactus No.95, 2015. Oil on canvas. Courtesy Johyun Gallery.

Korean painter Kwang-ho Lee (previously) depicts larger-than-life cacti in oil paintings that stand up to 8-feet tall. Every thorn, bloom, and branch is painted with excruciating accuracy, bringing the most minute elements into hyperrealistic focus. Lee studied painting at Seoul National University and is represented by Johyun Gallery.

Untitled 1266, 2017. Oil on canvas. Courtesy Johyun Gallery.

Untitled 6202, 2016. Oil on canvas. Courtesy Johyun Gallery.

Untitled 1212, 2017. Oil on canvas. Courtesy Johyun Gallery.

Cactus No. 93, 2015. Oil on canvas. Courtesy Johyun Gallery.

Cactus No. 91, 2015. Oil on canvas. Courtesy Johyun Gallery.

Cactus No. 92, 2015. Oil on canvas. Courtesy Johyun Gallery.

Cactus No. 98, 2015. Oil on canvas. Courtesy Johyun Gallery.

Cactus No. 71, 2011. Oil on canvas. Courtesy Johyun Gallery.

Cactus No. 96, 2015. Oil on canvas. Courtesy Johyun Gallery.

 

 



Art Photography

‘The Art of Flying’ Captures the Shape-Shifting Wonder of a Murmuration of Starlings

November 30, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

A murmuration is the intricately choreographed movements of a large flock of starlings as they swoop through the sky. The phenomena appears like an undulating cloud, quickly shifting directions, density and shape as it traverses overhead. Due to a relatively warm winter in the Netherlands between 2014 and 2015, many starlings stayed in the country rather than migrating south. Filmmaker Jan van IJken captured one such air show in his short film The Art of Flying, which can be watched in full on his website. Watch the condensed version above to observe the fluidity of the birds’ movements, as well as listen to the soothing sound of the flock’s flapping wings. (via Laughing Squid)