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Design

A Gigantic Buddha Statue Emerges from the Top of a Hill in Japan

August 3, 2017

Johnny Strategy

Unless otherwise noted, all photographs by Shigeo Ogawa.

Normally a cemetery wouldn’t be on our list of recommended sites to see, but the Makomanai Cemetery is one of the most awe-inspiring places we’ve ever been. Located in the outskirts of Sapporo, a large stone Buddha occupies the sprawling landscape. All 1,500 tons of it has sat alone there for 15 years. But when the cemetery decided they wanted to do something to increase visitor’s appreciations for the Buddha, they enlisted architect Tadao Ando, who had a grand and bold idea: hide the statue.

Photo by Hiroo Namiki.

“Our idea was to cover the Buddha below the head with a hill of lavender plants,” said Ando. Indeed, as you approach “Hill of Buddha” the subject is largely concealed by a hill planted with 150,000 lavenders. Only the top of the statue’s head pokes out from the rotunda, creating a visual connection between the lavender plants and the ringlets of hair on the Buddha statue’s head.

Upon entering, visitors are forced to turn left or right and walk around a rectangular lake of water before entering the 131-ft (40-meter) long approach tunnel. The journey is a constant reminder of the weather, the breeze and the light, and is works in tandem to heighten anticipation of the statue, which is only visible once you reach the end of the tunnel.

Any time of the year, visitors will have a different experience. The 150,000 lavenders “turn fresh green in spring, pale purple in summer and silky white with snow in winter.” It really is a miraculous work of environmental art. (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)

Photo by Hiroo Namiki.

Photo by Hiroo Namiki.

 

 



Art History

16th Century Miniature Boxwood Carvings That Fit in the Palm of Your Hand

January 3, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Photo by Craig Boyko

Carved the size of a palm or smaller, these miniature boxwood carvings featuring religious iconography from the early 16th century have long been a mystery to researchers in the field. It is believed that the entire body of work was created during a 30-year window between 1500 and 1530, somewhere in Flanders or the Netherlands.

The tiny altarpieces, rosaries, and prayer beads are each produced from a single boxwood fragment, incorporating pins smaller than a grass seed that hold the pieces together. Using micro CT scanning and Advanced 3D Analysis Software, curators and conservators of Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures an exhibition at The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Rijksmuseum have gained new insight into the materials and subject matter of each boxwood carving.

Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures will showcase AGO’s collection along with 50 other loaned pieces from other museums and private collections, including some rare carvings that have never been seen in North America. One work, the eleven-bead Chatsworth Rosary (c. 1509-1526), was owned by King Henry VIII and his wife Catherine of Aragon. You can tour the full exhibition yourself at the AGO through January 22, at the Met Cloisters on February 21, 2017, or when the exhibition makes its last stop at the Rijksmuseum on June 15, 2017.

You can also follow AGO on their journey to discovering the mystery behind the boxwood miniatures in the video below, as well as see detailed images from the entire collection on AGO’s website. (via The History Blog)

Photo by Ian Lefebvre

Photo by Craig Boyko

Photo by Ian Lefebvre

Photo by Craig Boyko

 

 



Art

New Text Drawings Formed by Letters From Religious Texts by Meg Hitchcock

September 6, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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It’s been awhile since we’ve written about Meg Hitchcock‘s work (previously), first covering her practice in 2011 when she spent 135 hours gluing tens of thousands of individuals letters from the Koran to transcribe the Book of Revelation from the Christian New Testament. Hitchcock continues to produce religious-based text works that dissect the word of God, discouraging her audience from a literal reading by ignoring punctuation and spacing in the sentences she forms. Recently her text drawings have become a bit more figural, forming feet, scarves, and niqabs on paper with thousands of sourced letters.

“The labor-intensive aspect of my work is a meditation practice as well as an exploration of the various forms of devotion,” said Hitchcock in an artist statement. “A long history in evangelical Christianity formed my core beliefs about God and transcendence, but I later relinquished the Christian path. I now gravitate toward Eastern Mysticism, and am deeply moved by Islam. My work is a celebration of the diverse experiences of spirituality and the universal need for connection with something greater than oneself. In the end, the holy word of God may be nothing more than a sublime expression of our shared humanity.”

Hitchcock’s work is currently presented in the group exhibition “This is Not a Book” at the San Jose Institute for Contemporary Art through September 11, 2016. (via Booooooom)

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Art Design History

An Early Christian Church Resurrected in Towering Wire Mesh by Edoardo Tresoldi

March 31, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

©Blindeyefactory_EdoardoTresoldi_Le Basiliche_2016_09

all images © Blind Eye Factory

With hundreds of yards of wire mesh artist Edoardo Tresoldi has built an interpretation of an early Christian church that once stood in its place at the current Archaeological Park of Siponto, Italy. Built with the assistance of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and the Archaeology Superintendence of Puglia, the installation connects ancient archaeology with contemporary art. The sculpture stands on the former church’s site with a ghostly presence, looking almost like a hologram illuminated in the park. Despite its sheer appearance the installation contains detailed architetural elements including tiered columns, domes, and statues that stand within the structure.

You can see more of Tresoldi’s work on his Facebook and Behance.  (via Designboom)

©BlindEyeFactory_EdoardoTresoldi_S.MariadiSiponto_2016_001

©BlindEyeFactory_EdoardoTresoldi_S.MariadiSiponto_2016_021

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©BlindEyeFactory_EdoardoTresoldi_S.MariadiSiponto_2016_086.

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©BlindEyeFactory_EdoardoTresoldi_S.MariadiSiponto_2016_098.

©BlindEyeFactory_EdoardoTresoldi_S.MariadiSiponto_2016_103.

 

 



History Photography

A Drought in Mexico Uncovers a 400-Year-Old Colonial Church in the Middle of a Reservoir

October 20, 2015

Johnny Strategy

Licensed from the AP / David von Blohn

Licensed from the AP / David von Blohn

Licensed from the AP / David von Blohn

Licensed from the AP / David von Blohn

Licensed from the AP / David von Blohn

Licensed from the AP / David von Blohn

Licensed from the AP / David von Blohn

Licensed from the AP / David von Blohn

Licensed from the AP / David von Blohn

Licensed from the AP / David von Blohn

Usually when droughts occur and reservoir water levels recede, it’s not a good thing. But a certain drought in Southern Mexico is attracting a lot of enthusiasm. Water levels in the Nezahualcoyotl reservoir have dropped by 82 ft (25 meters), revealing the remains of a mid-16th century colonial church. Known as the Temple of Santiago, the structure was erected by Dominican friars but then abandoned in the 1770s because of plagues.

The 48-ft tall church became a relic of memory in 1966 when the construction of a dam submerged it under water. Since then it’s only emerged twice: once in 2002 and again, now. As it did in 2002, the church has become a popular destination for tourists and local fisherman have been taking spectators out on boats to get a close-up view of the rare occurrence.

“The people celebrated,” recalls a local fisherman, of the last time the church emerged out of the water. “They came to eat, to hang out, to do business. I sold them fried fish.” If the drought continues, water levels could get low enough for people to walk inside the church.

Photos by David von Blohn, used with permission.

 

 



Design Photography

Vertical Panoramic Photographs of New York Churches by Richard Silver

September 24, 2015

Kate Sierzputowski

Church-of-St-Vincent-Ferrer

Church of St. Vincent Ferrer

Richard Silver (previously) has a unique way of looking at architecture, building composite photographs from several images that seamlessly reveal a structure’s interior. His new series captures the insides of New York churches, and are perfectly timed for the Pope’s impending arrival on U.S. soil. These images are composed of 6-10 shots, forming a vertical panorama so cohesive that it might give you vertigo.

Although Silver has been to hundreds of churches during his career and many years of travel, it’s only recently that he figured out how to capture the expansive inner beauty of their architecture. “Finding the perfect location in the center aisle then shooting vertically from the pew to the back of the church gives the perspective that only architecture of this style can portray,” says Silver.

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Church of St. Stephen / Church of St. Paul the Apostle

Silver was born and raised in New York and has visited 75 countries in his life, including 13 last year alone. His previous careers involved computer science, real estate, and a stint on Wall Street, but he embraced photography full-time in 2011. You can see more of his vertical church series on his Flickr page here.

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Calvary Episcopal Church

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Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava / Church of the Village

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Church of St. Francis Xavier

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Vincent St. de Paul / Most Holy Redeemer Church

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St. Monica’s Church

 

 



Amazing Design

An Abandoned Indonesian Church Shaped Like a Massive Clucking Chicken

July 21, 2015

Kate Sierzputowski

Towering above the trees in a densely forested area of Indonesia lies a giant chicken. The gigantic structure has the body, tail, and head of the bird, even holding open its beak in what appears to be mid-squawk. Although the very old bird is quickly decaying, Gereja Ayam (as the locals call it) attracts hundreds of photographers and travelers to its location in Magelang, Central Java each year who are looking to explore the bird’s bizarre interior.

The building was originally built as a prayer house by 67-year-old Daniel Alamsjah after he received a divine message from God. Although he intended the building to resemble a dove, the locals care more that it looks like a chicken, nicknaming it “Chicken Church.” In addition to a prayer house, Alamsjah also used the building as a rehabilitation center, treating disabled children, drug addicts, and others. Alamsjah was forced to shut the center’s doors fifteen years ago after steep construction costs.

Currently five of the eight pillars holding up the building are crumbling while graffiti covers the inside walls. No longer a place for therapy, the building still serves as a place for worship and travel and according to locals—a private spot for many young couples to hide away from parents or prying eyes. (via Hyperallergic and Daily Mail)

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