All images, “Where are we going?” Installation by Chiharu Shiota at Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, copyright Gabriel de la Chapelle
The newest installation by Chiharu Shiota (previously here and here) is composed of nearly 300,000 yards of white yarn, woven to encapsulate the center, ground floor, and ten windows of Le Bon Marché. The exhibition, titled Where are we going?, will feature 150 boats within the French department store’s center, and the ground-floor exhibition will house a giant threaded wave that visitors are encouraged to walk through. Despite boats being a common theme in Shiota’s work, this installation will mark the first time she has used white yarn, previously creating installations with only black or red thread.
The title of the exhibition, Where are we going?, refers to the mysterious destinations that pinpoint each of our individual and collective lives. Therefore the boats in this installation represent vessels sailing towards unknown locations, the works expressing both a sense of poetry and a sense of unease over what is to come.
“I am struck by the multiplicity of interactions that we experience every day, by their connections with the past and the future,” said Shiota in an interview with Le Bon Marché. “The creation of this indecipherable mesh and its plasticity are a mystery, just like our brain, the universe, and of course, life. I have no answers, only questions. These questions are the foundations of my work.”
Last year Le Bon Marché organized a large exhibition of Ai WeiWei's work which featured a 65-foot bamboo and silk dragon in the store’s atrium. Shiota’s Where are we going? will be displayed at Le Bon Marché through February 18, 2017. (via Fubiz)
In her ongoing sculptural series titled “The Marriage,” Malaysian artist Noreen Loh Hui Miun merges elements from real and fictional plantlife to create entirely new species. The fragile works begin with dried plant components like branches and moss to which she adds cut laminate petals reminiscent of reptile scales and other colorful components. Though not intentional, the finished works look something like the wild imaginings of children’s book author Dr. Seuss. You can see more pieces by Miun on Facebook.
“Pair” (2016), all images via Laura Moriarty
Self-taught artist Laura Moriarty's sculptural paintings appear like long lost geodes, geological mysteries layered with multi-colored rings. The asymmetrical pieces reference the earth not only in their appearance but also their process, as Moriarty heats and cools pigmented beeswax is a way that references erosion, weathering, and subduction.
“Layers of color form the strata of a methodology in which the immediacy of the hand can translate a sense of deep time,” said Moriarty in her artist statement. “Working and reworking molten, richly pigmented beeswax, I build each painting/object through a slow, simple yet strenuous physical engagement, which often becomes a metaphor for the ephemerality of life and civilization.”
Moriarty’s work is included in the group exhibition A Stratigraphic Fiction at the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art in Collegeville, PA through March 19, 2017. You can see more of her work on Artspace and Instagram.
“Points of No Return” (2017)
“Heart Agate” (2016)
“Normal Faults” (2015)
“Hangover” detail (2015)
As artist John Edmark's sculptures wiggle, wobble, and twist before your eyes like some alien creature, it’s hard to believe that what you’re seeing is a real physical object—but we assure you it is, with a bit of trick photography and some heady mathematics thrown in for good measure. Blooms 2 (a year in the making) is the latest collection of wild strobe-animated sculptures that begin life as computer programs written in Python before being 3D printed and set in motion on a table, but the patterns you see are created, in a sense, by nature itself.
“Blooms are based on the same geometry nature uses in many plant forms, including artichokes, sunflowers, and pinecones, all of which share the same underlying mathematical pattern,” Edmark shares with Colossal. He explains in more detail how each sculpture is designed:
Blooms are 3-D printed sculptures designed to animate when spun under a strobe light. Unlike a 3D zoetrope, which animates a sequence of small changes to objects, a bloom animates as a single self-contained sculpture. The bloom’s animation effect is achieved by progressive rotations of the golden ratio, phi (ϕ), the same ratio that nature employs to generate the spiral patterns we see in pinecones and sunflowers. The rotational speed and strobe rate of the bloom are synchronized so that one flash occurs every time the bloom turns 137.5º (the angular version of phi).
While the strobe is necessary to witness the animation when viewing these pieces in person, for the sake of creating this video filmmaker Charlie Nordstrom set the camera to a short shutter speed that freezes individual “frames” of the spinning sculpture.
Many of Edmark’s pieces are now in galleries and permanent museum collections around the world. You can see several of his sculptures right now at the Exploratorium in San Francisco and the Technorama in Winterthur, Switzerland. You can also see some of his first designs in his original Blooms video, and for what it’s worth, we also carry his amazing Helicone sculpture in the Colossal Shop.
FedEx® Large Box ©2005 FEDEX 139751 REV 10/05 SSCC, Priority Overnight, Los Angeles-New York trk#795506878000, November 27-28, 2007
In this intriguing sculptural series spanning 2005 to 2014, LA-based artist Walead Beshty packaged his artworks in FedEx boxes and shipped them across the country to exhibitions and galleries. But unlike most artists who utilize every bit of care to protect and pad their artwork from the inevitable rough handling of mail carriers, Beshty designed his pieces to break. For his famous FedEx works he constructed laminate glass objects that fit seamlessly within the dimensions of standard size shipping boxes. Through the “normal” handling the objects would inevitably crack and shatter and it was up to curators and gallerists to carefully remove each piece for display. The fragile volumes were then given titles that specifically mention the date, tracking number, and box size of shipment.
Not only was Beshty fascinated by obtaining a “fingerprint” of sorts that documented the journey of each package to its destination, but he also found it curious that a corporation has the ability to copyright the exact dimensions of a box, essentially owning an empty shape. He shares in a 2011 interview with Mikkel Carl:
The FedEx works […] initially interested me because they’re defined by a corporate entity in legal terms. There’s a copyright designating the design of each FedEx box, but there’s also the corporate ownership over that very shape. It’s a proprietary volume of space, distinct from the design of the box, which is identified through what’s called a SSCC #, a Serial Shipping Container Code. I considered this volume as my starting point; the
perversity of a corporation owning a shape—not just the design of the object—and
also the fact that the volume is actually separate from the box. They’re owned
independently from one another.
Furthermore, I was interested in how art objects acquire meaning through their context and through travel, what Buren called, something like, “the unbearable compromise of the portable work of art”. So, I wanted to make a work that was specifically organized around its traffic, becoming materially manifest through its movement from one place to another.
Here’s a brief video of Beshty explaining the project during the 2008 Whitney Biennial. (via BoingBoing)
FedEx boxes (various), 2008. Installation view, Signs of the Time, The Whitney Museum of American Art.
Colombia-based artist Diana Beltran Herrera (previously here and here) has been fascinated by birds since she was a child, however it wasn’t until four years ago that she started working with their forms. Her incredibly lifelike depictions are built entirely out of cut paper and imitate a variety of bird species from all over the world. Each iteration of her work we have followed with intrigue, including one of her latest projects which incorporates her sculptural pieces into oversized postage stamps from countries which she has always admired.
“I always felt inspired by postage stamps as they are little windows of the world,” said Herrera to Colossal, “specifically those that contain birds which are often traveling around the word. I have collected a few and I felt that I wanted to open those stamps to a much more realistic scale to learn more about that particular animal and its landscape.”
Interested in wildlife far beyond its aesthetics, Herrera is also concerned with the ethical treatment of animals, especially when it comes to the illegal wildlife trade of birds happening in her country and abroad. You can see more of her paper sculptures of birds, fruits, and flowers on her Instagram and Facebook.