Cloud Gate, or affectionately The Bean, by Anish Kapoor is probably my favorite public art installation in Chicago. No matter how many times you visit the experience is always different depending on the time of day, the weather, who you’re with, and what’s happening in the general vicinity of the giant mirrored surface. The Bean is in a perpetual state of visual flux.
For the next 10 days Chicago creative ensemble LuftWerk, the creative vision of Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero, have capitalized on the sculpture’s reflective properties by turning it into a canvas for a choreographed light show titled Luminous Field. The duo are using an array of ten projectors to create the experience, setting everything to music composed by Owen Clayton Condon of Third Coast Percussion. This is the first site-specific work involving Cloud Gate since its construction in 2004. Luminous Field opens tonight at 6pm and runs through February 20th.
A special thank you to Ken Ilio and Pete Tsai for providing their photography for this post, check out their Flickr pages for more great photos.
When I first encountered this installation entitled Suspended Together by Saudi Arabian artist Manal Al Dowayan, I took it simply at face value and assumed I was looking at a collection of 200 fiberglass doves imprinted with what looked like postcards. I got it: birds moving from one place to another affixed with notes and postage. It was pretty. But reading further I realized the piece was not nearly as straightforward or innocuous. I had been duped, and that was the artist’s intention. Though I don’t usually do this I’m going to quote Manal’s statement about the piece in its entirety:
“Suspended Together” is an installation that gives the impression of movement and freedom. However, a closer look at the 200 doves allows the viewer to realize that the doves are actually frozen and suspended with no hope of flight. An even closer look shows that each dove carries on its body a permission document that allows a Saudi woman to travel. Notwithstanding their circumstances, all Saudi women are required to have this document, issued by their appointed male guardian.
The artist reached out to a large group of leading women from Saudi Arabia to donate their permission documents for inclusion in this artwork. “Suspended Together” carries the documents of award-winning scientists, educators, journalists, engineers, artists and leaders with groundbreaking achievements that gave back to their society. The youngest contributor is six months old and the oldest is 60 years old. In the artist’s words, “regardless of age and achievement, when it comes to travel, all these women are treated like a flock of suspended doves.”
A truly chilling situation, yet executed wonderfully by the artist. Provoking yet strangely sentimental. Suspended Together was included in the Future of a Promise exhibition at the 54th Venice Biennale last year. (via kawlture)
This is kind of flying all over the internet right now, but I couldn’t resist sharing. Artist Rashad Alakbarov from Azerbaijan uses suspended translucent objects and other found materials to create light and shadow paintings on walls. The jaw-dropping light painting above, made with an array of colored airplanes is currently on view at the Fly to Baku exhibition at De Pury Gallery in London through January 29th. (via art wednesday, fasels suppe)
Some really clever work by street artist Pasha183 out of Russia. I love his playful interaction with urban surroundings, turning common structures like bridges, walls, and street lamps into places for art. See some other great pieces over on Street Art Utopia.
How fun is this? Bâtiment (Building) is a mirrored installation by artist Leandro Erlich currently on display at Le 104 in Paris as part of their In_Perceptions exhibition. The piece is clever in its simplicity: a massive building facade is constructed on the floor near a towering mirror giving anyone reflected the uncanny appearance of being weightless. Optical illusions are familiar territory for Erlich, whose pool installation appears to plunge air-breathing gallery patrons several feet underwater. Bâtiment is on display through March 2012. (via present and correct, lonely planet)
I’ve encountered a cavalcade of great geometric sculptures and installations this week, so as usual I’ve grouped them all together for your perusal. Thanks to the artists for providing information and images for this post.
FOLDS is a beautiful installation by David Mesguich and Valentin Van der Meulen that first appeared in 2009 at Maison des Arts de Malakoff, and again in 2010 at Art Paris 2010. The piece is made from numerous polypropylene shapes and creates a somewhat haunting anatomical amalgam of face and skull.
Titled Wandering Territory this new piece by Anna Garforth (previously) was created for the Pop Up exhibition at MOTI, and will eventually tour Europe. The piece also made an appearance on the front cover of Holland’s largest newspaper De Volkskrant. Anna, I would like to request on behalf of the entire internet that the rest of the animal kingdom be completed in this fashion.