Art History

New Photos from the ‘Sistine Chapel of the Ancients’ Reveal Details About Prehistoric Amazonian Life—Like a Fondness for Bungee Jumping

December 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © José Iriarte, shared with permission

Who knew people have been flinging themselves into open air since ancient times? Earlier this week, we reported that archaeologists discovered a massive collection of prehistoric art deep in the Colombian Amazon, and new photographs of the findings reveal early humans bungee jumping just like modern adventurers.

Spanning nearly eight miles, the paintings date back about 12,500 years when people first arrived on the continent. Thanks to José Iriarte—who is a professor of archaeology at Exeter University and an expert on the Amazon and pre-Colombian history—we’re able to share up-close images of the terracotta-colored renderings. Scroll down to see a range of extinct animals, oversized armadillos and sloths, and group ceremonies that make up the 100,000-plus individual paintings, which will be part of a documentary titled Jungle Mystery: Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon airing this month.

 

 

 



Animation

SMILE: Ride an Emotional Rollercoaster with These Perpetually Grinning Characters

December 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

The googly-eyed cast in Lucas Zanatto’s new looped animation is all of us this year: Beaming one moment, bummed the next. “SMILE” follows an array of pastel characters as they quickly twist from one mood to another. Whether spurred by a downward spiral or rollercoaster ride, each movement turns the pastel creature topsy-turvy, leaving it with a perpetual grin.

Watch more light-hearted projects from the Helsinki-based director (previously) on Vimeo and Instagram, where he also shares tutorials and behind-the-scenes shots. Check out his recent collaboration with KAWS encouraging folks to vote in the U.S. election, too.

 

 

 



Design

A Flurry of New Notebooks from Field Notes Features 99,999 Unique Snowflake Designs

December 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Field Notes, shared with permission

U.K.-based artist Brendan Dawes channels the infinite crystalline shapes of snowflakes in a new collaboration with Field Notes. For its 49th limited-edition series, the Chicago-based notebook manufacturer tasked Dawes with designing an algorithm that mimics the atmospheric process that forms the icy grooves and feathered shoots. After a lengthy development inspired by the work of physicist Kenneth G. Libbrecht, Dawes created 99,999 unique snowflake illustrations to wrap around the deep blue covers. Just like the real crystals, no two are the same.

Support Colossal by picking up a three-pack of Snowy Evening in the Colossal Shop, along with Field Notes’ United States of Letterpress, which features notebooks designed by nine printers across the nation.

 

 

 

 



Art Illustration

Intense Emotions Overwhelm the Figures in Stefan Zsaitsits's Graphite Illustrations

December 3, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Stefan Zsaitsits

Despite their uncanny elements, the black-and-white worlds of Stefan Zsaitsits (previously) deftly encapsulate the ennui and angst of modern life. The meticulously cross-hatched scenes depict solitary figures in states of psychological stress as they wrap their bodies around docks, cry profusely, and find themselves stuck under a thundercloud. Some of the lethargic, anxiety-ridden figures literally are overwhelmed by the atmosphere or shown putting on a happy face.

Zsatisits recently compiled 21 illustrations in a collection titled Wherever, which is available for purchase on his site. All works are 21 x 21 centimeters and printed on 350 gram/meter² cardboard. Explore an extensive collection of his earlier pieces on Instagram and Behance, where he also shares a behind-the-scenes video of his process.

 

 

 



Art

Paper Torsos Covered with Ancient Chinese Paintings by Peng Wei Reimagine Femininity

December 3, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Peng Wei, courtesy of Tina Keng Gallery, shared with permission

Through delicately layered flax and cotton paper, Peng Wei (previously) reconceptualizes common notions of femininity. The Chinese artist casts figurative sculptures depicting only the human torso, which are shapely in front and abstractly gathered in back. Inky tableaus of spectral figures, scenes of war, and domestic tasks all evoking ancient Chinese narratives—like Paragons of Feminine Virtue by Ming-dynasty thinker Lv Kun and Qing-dynasty novelist Pu Songling’s Strange Tales from the Chinese Studio—envelop the exterior. Combined with evocative poses, Peng’s freehand paintings subvert traditional understandings of women’s roles by removing their original context and displaying them anew.

Many of the delicately sculpted works shown here are part of Feminine Space, a collection that “privileges the female vantage point,” a statement says. Peng’s “stance is less an insouciant look from afar than an earnest gaze that pierces through the ancient works of Chinese literature.” If you’re in Taiwan, Feminine Space is on view through January 30, 2021, at Tina Keng Gallery. Otherwise, explore more of Peng’s work on Artsy.

 

 

 



Art Design

An Oversized Zipper Ship Opens the Sumida River Flowing Through Tokyo

December 3, 2020

Grace Ebert

Japanese artist Yasuhiro Suzuki long has wondered about what lies beneath the surface of Tokyo’s Sumida River, a question he’s symbolically remedied with a sleek vessel that unzips the middle of the waterway. Suzuki’s “Zip-Fastener Ship” mimics the ubiquitous closures as it separates the central river with a wake that splays out just like the teeth-lined tape.

Completed in 2004, the silver vessel grew out of an idea Suzuki had in 2002 after he watched a ship glide down the waterway while flying overhead. “The undertow of the boat, which travels back and forth between Azuma-bashi Bridge and Sakura-bashi Bridge, opened up the water like a zipper to connect the other side of the river,” he says. “(I hoped) that it would change the way we look at the city landscape.”

Suzuki began an annual launch on the Sumida in 2018 and plans to shift his focus to the water’s molecules in a future iteration, which you can follow on Instagram. (via Laughing Squid)