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.
London-based artist Zadok Ben David created this incredible installation using 12,000 cut steel botanical specimens modeled from old textbook illustrations, each embedded in a thin layer of sand. On first encountering the sprawling array of plants they appear completely black, thus the installation’s title: Blackfield. However when viewed from the opposite side, a field of black turns into a wall of color. I would love to encounter this first-hand. A circular version of Blackfield is currently on display at Artclub 1563 in Seoul through February 2012. If you liked this, you’ll love Eiji Watanabe’s paper butterflies. (via collabcubed)
This December, in a surprisingly simple yet ridiculously amazing installation for the Queensland Gallery of Modern Ar, artist Yayoi Kusama constructed a large domestic environment, painting every wall, chair, table, piano, and household decoration a brilliant white, effectively serving as a giant white canvas. Over the course of two weeks, the museum’s smallest visitors were given thousands upon thousands of colored dot stickers and were invited to collaborate in the transformation of the space, turning the house into a vibrantly mottled explosion of color. How great is this? Given the opportunity my son could probably cover the entire piano alone in about fifteen minutes. The installation, entitled The Obliteration Room, is part of Kusama’s Look Now, See Forever exhibition that runs through March 12.