Japanese artist Isana Yamada' s project Samsara is composed of six translucent whales mounted on thin pedestals that give each of the sculptures an illusion of movement. The whales, illuminated from within, provide a window to strange worlds locked inside their resin-coated bodies: churning submarine volcanoes, fluffy white clouds, and even polar bear skeletons that float within. The project, staged at Tokyo University of the Arts, references the circle of existence found in Buddhist traditions with each whale displaying a separate scene. The whale that represents the human dimension contains a sunken sailboat, imagery that symbolizes a difficult voyage or plight.
By day, Virgina-based glass artist Kiva Ford (previously) fabricates one-of-a-kind glass instruments designed for special applications in scientific laboratories. By night, he retires to his home art studio where he utilizes his vast skillset to create curious glass vessels, miniatures, goblets, and other unusual creations working entirely by hand. Ford says his artistic practice is heavily inspired by his interests in mythology, history, and science.
Ford’s artistic observations of the natural world have begun to merge directly with his scientific glassblowing abilities in a number of new hybrid pieces. In Metamorphosis and Metamorphosis II, we see the sequence of a caterpillar morphing into a butterfly and an egg turning into a frog, all seamlessly encapsulated by handmade glass instruments, evoking the mystery of a ship in a bottle.
You can follow more of Ford’s work on Instagram and he sells hundreds of glass objects—mostly miniatures—through his Etsy shop. (via Hi-Fructose)
Ai Weiwei‘s (previously here and here) first exhibition in France is not staged at the Centre Pompidou nor the Palais de Tokyo, but within Paris’s Le Bon Marché, the city’s oldest department store founded in 1852. At its center the exhibition includes 20 illuminated silk and bamboo creatures that float above the cosmetics department, a contradiction of subject matter that Ai embraces as he allows the two vastly different worlds to collide momentarily during his store-bound exhibition.
The show, titled “Er Xi” or “Child’s Play,” is in many ways tied to the artist’s family and childhood. His father, the Chinese poet Ai Qing, passed on stories to Ai of his time spent living and studying art in Paris in the 30s. Thinking about his father’s history within the city, Ai also contemplated his own background with the art of kite making, enlisting 12 kite makers from the Shandong Province in China to build the sculptures from similar materials he used to make his first kite at the age of ten.
In addition to these hanging sculptures, Ai also installed work in the department store’s front windows and throughout the store, including a 65-foot dragon on Le Bon Marché’s ground floor. Weaving together 2D and 3D works, Ai illuminate’s the mythology found in the 2,000 year-old “Shan Hai Jing” (Classic of Mountains and Seas), a series of traditional Chinese children’s fables that reference birds, fish, and dragons.
“Introducing the fantastic within a retail space strikes the imagination of customers, visitors, passersby,” said Ai in a statement. “We all lead parallel lives in this other world of dreams, fantasies and feats. We must learn to coexist with them as they are an integral part of our humanity; to embrace our mythology. Children know how to do this naturally. This exhibition speaks to our inner child,” the artist said in a statement.
“Er Xi” runs at Le Bon Marché in Paris through February 20, 2016. (via Designboom)
“Flora 1” – Steel rods and ebonized wood, 72cm x 72cm x 20cm
Artist Gavin Worth (previously) works with repurposed steel rods and wire welded into two dimensional sculptures appear as illustrated line drawings. Some of the artworks are meant to be viewed against the dramatic backdrop of the sky, or can be amplified through projected light and shadow. Other pieces, like his 2012 sculpture Thirst, have a kinetic component and can be rotated to reveal opposing images.
Worth recently lived in Egypt for three years and has since relocated to Switzerland. He opens a new exhibition of work at Barbara Frigerio Contemporary Art in Milan starting later this month.
“Flora 1” – Steel rods and ebonized wood, 72cm x 72cm x 20cm
“Flora 2” – Steel rods and ebonized wood, 59cm x 65cm x 20cm
“Flora 3” – Steel rods and ebonized wood, 56cm x 69cm x 20cm
“Flora 4” – Steel rods and ebonized wood, 40cm x 69cm x 20cm
“Flora 5” – Steel rods and ebonized wood, 45cm x 66cm x 20cm
“Flora 6” – Steel rods and ebonized wood, 82cm x 148cm x 20cm
“Sophia” – Steel rods, 182cm x 485cm
“Thirst” – Repurposed steel rods, 48″x92″x92″
“The Egyptian Sibyl” – Steel rods, 20 feet by 17 feet
Di-Octo. All stainless steel kinetic wind sculpture. Silent operation. 25’6″h x 10’w x 4’6″”d (7.8m h x 3m w x 1.4m d) 1,600lbs (725kg)
Artist Anthony Howe (previously) continues to amaze with his gargantuan kinetic sculptures powered by wind or motors that cycle continuously through hypnotic motions that resemble something between the tentacles of an octopus and an alien spacecraft. Weighing up to 1,600 lbs (725kg), each artwork is first built digitally to test how it will move and react to the force of wind once fabricated in the real world. Seen here are three new sculptures titled Di-Octo, In Cloud Light III, and Switchback. You can see more recent work in his portfolio.
In Cloud III. 7.6 meter tall all stainless kinetic wind powered sculpture. Engineered for extreme high winds yet spins in 2mph. (25′ h x 10’w x 5’d, 1,500lbs), shown here not on pedestal.
Switchback. Gear motor powered, variable speed, all stainless kinetic sculpture for interior or exterior installation. 112″h x 60″w x 34″d.
Perth-based artist Paul Kaptein works with large blocks of laminated wood to reveal warped and distorted human figures, some pierced with a smattering of holes linked with drawn lines like star constellations. The hand-carved busts and figurative sculptures are additionally punctuated by gaps formed from the laminating process, creating the impression of digital glitches or images skewed by poor reception. Kaptein says he’s interested in examining the undefined area between expansion and contraction, or interconnection and incompleteness. Even as the viewer walks around each piece, it continues to surprise as the warped nature of each artwork continues to push and sink in seemingly every direction.
Artist Victoria Wagner works with large pieces of reclaimed wood sliced into geometric forms and painted to resemble large gemstones. Titled Woodrocks, the cut facets of each piece are covered with delicate oil paint gradients that evoke mostly natural tones found in sunsets, water, or outdoor landscapes. The incongruous nature of wood and stone is something that fascinates Wagner. “There is something confusing to the senses in combinations that vacillate between interval and tone, allowing for optical engagement and a perceptual unpredictability,” she says. You can explore more of Wagner’s work on her website and on Instagram. (via Cross Connect, Supersonic)