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Art

Artist Okuda San Miguel Sets an 82-Foot Sculpture Aflame for the Falles Festival in Valencia

March 30, 2018

Christopher Jobson

Photo by the author for Colossal

Earlier this month in the city of Valencia, Spain, the annual five-day Falles Festival hosted the construction and burning of some 400 sculptures in neighborhoods across the city amidst fireworks, parades, and enormous bubbling skillets of paella. The festival is so large it requires year-round preparation. Neighborhoods raise money to hire artisans to build each falla, and plans are made for eardrum shattering pyrotechnic displays called Mascletà that occur daily at 2pm.

For 2018, the Falles Festival invited Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel (previously) to build the Falla Mayor, the largest and last falla to be burnt during the celebration. With the help of renowned falla designers Pepe Latorre and Gabriel Sanz, as well as a monumental effort from his team at Ink and Movement, the team submitted a winning design that incorporates the artist’s trademark colorful geometric style. Okuda says the 25 meter (82 foot) piece loosely addresses the relationship between people and animals, while incorporating various symbols the local community might find familiar.

Photos by the author for Colossal

Photo by the author for Colossal

“I’m inspired most by surrealist Salvador Dali and by Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights,” Okuda shared with Colossal. “I mostly describe my work as surrealism.” In an interesting twist, Dali designed and built a falla during the festival in 1954. Instead of indulging in surrealism’s darker side, Okuda’s work seems to shine a bright, happy light on the creatures and figures who populate his multicolor murals and canvases.

The festival may date back to as far as the Middle Ages when carpenters and woodworkers burnt wood scraps at the end of winter to celebrate the spring equinox, though it is now generally known as a celebration of Saint Joseph. In its present day form, the trash heaps have morphed into elaborate artworks that feature celebrities, various current events, and even abstract conceptual sculptures. Caricatures of political figures like Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and Kim Jong-un appeared frequently this year. Two years ago the event was designated as a world heritage site by UNESCO.

During the festival Okuda also opened a large retrospective of work titled “The Multicolored Equilibrium Between Humans and Animals” at the Centre de El Carme in Valencia. The expansive exhibition gathers paintings, sculptures, photos, and video works from the last 20 years. The show is free, open to the public, and runs through May 27, 2018. You can follow Okuda on Instagram, and pickup some of his original works in the Ink and Movement Shop. Video courtesy Chop Em Down Films.

Photo by the author for Colossal

Falles sculpture by Salvador Dali, 1954

 

 



Art

A Madrid Plaza Transformed Into a Temporary Park With Over 35,000 Square Feet of Grass

March 27, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

For the 400th anniversary of Madrid’s Plaza Mayor, urban artist SpY (previously) transformed the bustling square into a centralized place of respite. The temporary park titled Cesped, or “Grass,” was created by bringing in more than 35,000 square feet of sod, which formed a perfect green circle at the center of the pedestrian plaza. Over the course of its four day installation last fall more than 100,000 visitors lounged, played, and rested in the celebratory work.

You can watch a time-lapse installation of the project on the Madrid-based artist’s website, and view more urban interventions on his Instagram.  (via designboom)

 

 



Design

Gaudí’s First Built House Opens to the Public for the First Time in its 130-Year-Old History

June 9, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

© Casa Vicens, Barcelona 2017. All images by Pol Viladoms.

Built between 1883 and 1885, Casa Vicens is the very first home designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. During most of the Barcelona home’s 130-year-old history it served as a private residence, but thanks to a 2014 purchase by MoraBanc and a massive two-year renovation, the 19th-century building will be repurposed as a cultural center opening this October.

Casa Vicens was originally commissioned by the tile manufacturer Manuel Vicens i Montaner as a summer home, but sold in 1899 to the Jover family who owned the house for more than a century. The restoration of Casa Vicens began in April 2015, led by architects José Antonio Martínez Lapeña and Elías Torres, of Martínez Lapeña-Torres Arquitectes, and David García of Daw Office. The new museum will display many of Gaudís original designs while hosting both permanent and rotating exhibitions within its grand interior.

The building itself stands as an early example of the architect’s Neo-Mudéjar architecture, and is one of eight UNESCO World Human Heritage Site in Barcelona. Casa Vicens completes the Gaudí Route, a series of more than a dozen buildings designed by the architect including the breathtaking La Sagrada Familia. (via Dezeen and Hyperallergic)

 

 



Art Photography

Geometric Light Installations by Nicolas Rivals Bathe the Spanish Countryside in Red

November 23, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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As part of his project La Línea Roja, Paris-based photographer Nicolas Rivals constructed bright red light configurations installed outdoors while on a trip through Spain. Each temporary piece was captured in a series of long-exposure shots that reveal an unusual juxtaposition between fabricated objects and the natural world. You can see more from the series on his website and Instagram—and if you liked this also check out James Nizam, Barry Underwood, and this short film from 3hund.

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Art Design

A 100-Year-Old Church in Spain Transformed into a Skate Park Covered in Murals by Okuda San Miguel

December 15, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Photo by Lucho Vidales

Originally designed by Asturian architect Manuel del Busto in 1912, the church of Santa Barbara in Llanera, Asturias, was abandoned for years and crumbling from neglect. Luckily, a group of enterprising individuals lead by a collective called the ‘Church Brigade,’ with help from online fundraising and Red Bull, the church was salvaged and turned into a public skate park dubbed Kaos Temple.

As if having a skate park inside a beautiful abandoned church wasn’t enough, artist Okuda San Miguel was commissioned to cover the walls and vaulted ceilings with his unique brand of colorful geometric figures. Nearly every flat interior surface is covered with a rainbow of color, illuminated from every side by tall windows, making this a truly special place to skate. Watch the video below to see an interview with Okuda where he talks about his inspiration both for Kaos temple and his other works around the world. (via designboom)

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Photo by Lucho Vidales

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Photography

Foggy Forests of Ancient Trees Pruned for Charcoal in Basque Country Photographed by Oskar Zapirain

June 19, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Oskar Zapirain's photographs capture eerie forests cast in thick fog, hazy light descending upon the foliage in the same green shade that blankets the floor in moss. Zapirain has been attracted to this landscape for years because of the homogenous light as well as the way it forces the viewer directly into a mystical atmosphere.

The forest Zapirain features is a beech forest in Oiartzun, Basque Country in Northern Spain. This particular forest is unique due to the history charcoal production within the region. Instead of clearcutting like we do today, the trees were instead pruned to preserve the trees and maintain the integrity of the forest across generations. The trees have since regrown with short trunks and dramatically long limbs that shoot outward like arms from almost every angle, adding a ghostly feel to each of Zapirain’s photos. You can explore more of his work on Flickr.

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Art

Squiggly Figures Congregate on a Building in Spain

December 5, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Visual artist SUSO33, known for his abstract human forms comprised of quick gestural lines, recently painted this large-scale mural in Madrid depicting a hundred or so of his figures gathering to form a large one. If you liked this, also check out the work of Craig Alan. All photos courtesy Vandal Voyeur. (via This Isn’t Happiness)