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Art

Gripping a Plastic Bag, A Massive Fox by Artist Florentijn Hofman Towers Over Rotterdam

June 16, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Florentijn Hofman by Frank Hanswijk, shared with permission

Residents of Rotterdam’s Bospolder-Tussendijken frequently spot bushy-tailed foxes roaming their streets at night, but now, Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman has given the carnivorous animal a permanent home in the area. He recently installed a massive “Bospolder Fox” that peers over a busy intersection in the neighborhood. Spanning 16 meters, the fox holds a pink bag in its mouth, a gesture that anthropomorphizes the wild animal, as Hofman asks, “Has the Bospolder Fox stolen something? Is he clearing up litter? Or has he just returned from a shopping spree on the market?”

While the sculptural installation juxtaposes the natural world and urban landscapes, it also serves as a reminder to residents to be welcoming, although many “have developed a certain fondness for the feral intruders,” the artist said in a statement.

The fox is an interloper, a colorful and gracious nocturnal animal that imparts a romantic twist to this story; and romanticism is a longing familiar to newcomers in the city. The inhabitants of Rotterdam come mostly from elsewhere, and they, like the fox, seek a better life in the city. Rotterdam must, therefore, keep its gates open to nature, to newcomers, and to new perspectives.

Similar to the artist’s previous projects, “Bospolder Fox” was designed to allow children to play in between its paws and serve as a sort of shelter. The animal’s vibrant fur stands out against the gray concrete underneath and nondescript building nearby, further magnifying the disparate qualities of the organic and human-made. “The nocturnal creature on velvet paws does not belong in a neat little park but sneaks through the shadowy crevices of the city,” Hofman said.

This public project is part of the artist’s series of sculptural essays, or artworks that should be read as three-dimensional narratives. Keep an eye out for upcoming installations, like this massive panda, on Instagram. (via designboom)

 

 

 



Art Photography

Sprawling Roots and Richly Hued Gowns Permeate Mary Sibande’s Postcolonial Artworks

June 15, 2020

Grace Ebert

From “A Terrible Beauty is Born” (2013), archival digital print, 43 1/4 × 126 × 3 inches. All images © Mary Sibande, shared with permission

The immensity and depth of Mary Sibande’s multi-media artworks reflect the magnitude of her subject matter, which explicitly entwines the enduring effects of British imperialism and the apartheid. Through photographs, sculptures, and sprawling installations that scale floor to ceiling, the South African artist most often features a central Black woman, who is shown enveloped in purple roots or grasping thick, black thread dangling from a nearby portrait.

Named Sophie, the figure’s role is subversive and one that sheds light on the particularly “cruel history of Black female oppression and its implications in contemporary life—in particular, perception and ownership of freedom.” Sophie is dressed in color-specific costumes resembling Victorian-era clothing and often is wrapped in an apron, a garment synonymous with domestic work. Each bold hue is rich with cultural and historical contexts.

(Sophie) is first encountered in the traditional blue uniform of a domestic servant as she dreams of the possibilities denied to her by discrimination and inequality. Sophie is then transformed into a fantastical figure, enveloped in purple representing the bitter struggle against apartheid and the promise of equality. In her most recent incarnation, Sophie wears red, the color of anger, as she gives form to popular disaffection and continued civil unrest across South Africa.

Living and working in Johannesburg, Sibande shares many of her postcolonial projects and news about future exhibitions on Instagram. Get a deeper look into her work on Artsy.

 

“Conversation with Madam CJ Walker” (2009), fiberglass, resin, fabric, and steel, 104 1/2 × 104 1/2 × 10 inches

“Conversation with Madam CJ Walker” (2009), fiberglass, resin, fabric, and steel, 104 1/2 × 104 1/2 × 10 inches

“A Reversed Retrogress: Scene 1” (2013)

“A Reversed Retrogress: Scene 1” (2013)

“A Terrible Beauty is Born” (2013), archival digital print, 43 1/4 × 126 × 3 inches

 

 



Art

Unusual Interventions by Artist Stefan Visan Juxtapose Leaves, Cutlery, and Everyday Objects

June 15, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Stefan Visan, shared with permission

Stefan Visan fashions surreal interventions out of mundane objects: a silver safety pin pierces verdant leaves, a burning candle is sliced and positioned at a tilt, and limp spaghetti lengthens fork prongs. The artist spends hours tinkering in his studio each day, constructing bizarre combinations with no prior intention for what he’ll create. Often sharing his unusual projects on Instagram, Visan doesn’t limit his artistic process to one medium. “I’m always exploring different things, from painting to collage, video collage, photography, illustration… For example, collage is a break from painting and reverse. Everything that I create is hand-made, nothing digital,” he tells Colossal. The result is a series of interventions that merge the ephemeral aspects of nature with enduring, manufactured objects.

 

 

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Art

Constellations of Found Electronics Shape Faces on Vintage Rackets by Artist Leonardo Ulian

June 14, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Leonardo Ulian, shared with permission

London-based artist Leonardo Ulian (previously) merges two disparate elements in his sprawling assemblages: he speckles analog equipment with an array of electronic pieces found in digital devices. Created while in quarantine, Ulian’s Contrived Object series is comprised of vintage tennis rackets displaying intricate constellations of metal parts, microchips, and other found objects that form an abstract face.

The egg shape of the “head” of these vintage rackets reminded me of something yet familiar but at the moment lost. The result is a composition that resembles vaguely a human face made from a recycled object from the past, the racket, clashing with the rest of the elements, electronic parts, and the found objects. Then, an anomaly called “pareidolia,” the mechanism that leads our brain to bring things and objects of all kinds back to known and sensible forms does the rest. Will these be the faces of the future?

To view more of Ulian’s precisely arranged projects, follow him on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

30 Hand-Cranked Machines Comprise Amusing Series of Miniatures by Artist Federico Tobon

June 12, 2020

Grace Ebert

Similar to Lalese Stamps’s personal challenge to create 100 ceramic mug handles, a Los Angeles-based artist has crafted an amusing series of hand-cranked automatons in just 30 days. Federico Tobon, of wolfCat Workshop, used popsicle sticks, metal clips, paper, and scrap material for One Month of Small Machines, a four-week-long project that generated different, moveable figures and animals each day. “The A-HA moment from these projects was when I discovered that using paper gives these machines a very organic feel,” he said. “Some of them would look very stiff and mechanical otherwise.”

Since November 2017 when Tobon created these miniature apparatuses, he’s taken on more month-long challenges, which he often shares on Instagram. Check out the full collection on his site or by watching the video below. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



Art Photography

Hundreds of Photos of the New York Sky Pinned to a Massive, Spherical Sculpture by Sarah Sze

June 11, 2020

Grace Ebert

” Shorter than the Day” (2020), powder-coated aluminum and steel, 48 x 30 x 30 feet. All images © Sarah Sze by Nicholas Knight

Artist Sarah Sze explores the myriad conceptions of time and space through a tremendous, new spherical sculpture. Titled “Shorter than the Day” —a reference to Emily Dickinson’s poem “Because I could not stop for Death,” which considers the comfort found in life’s finality—Sze’s piece weighs five tons and was unveiled Thursday at LaGuardia Airport. It is suspended above an atrium in Terminal B.

The New York-based artist captures the magnitude of the upper atmosphere as it changes from bright blue morning to a vibrant sunset to the rich hues of the night through nearly 1,000 photographs of the sky. Each printed image is fastened to the aluminum and steel with alligator clips and is revealed as viewers move around the massive work, just like the earth circles the sun to mark a day. The piece was fabricated in collaboration with Amuneal.

Along with three other projects from artists Jeppe Hein, Laura Owens, Sabine Hornig, “Shorter than the Day” was commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners and Public Art Fund. To find out more about Sze, whose work involves countless individual objects positioned in precise arrangements, watch her TED Talk and visit her site. (via ArtNet)

 

 

 



Art Craft

Rope Twists into Massive, Fibrous Circuit Boards by Artist Windy Chien

June 10, 2020

Grace Ebert

(2019), cotton, 24k gold vintage Japanese thread, and walnut. All images © Windy Chien, shared with permission

California-based artist Windy Chien began her career with macrame before becoming frustrated with its limitations. “I gave myself an assignment to learn one new knot every day for one year, and thereby increase my vocabulary of knots and become fluent in what I now recognize to be a language—the universal language of knots,” she says. The year-long exploration spurred her more recent series of Circuit Boards, large wall hangings of winding rope with gold, red, and white thread wound around the strands’ ends. 

Spanning up to 24 feet, the fiber pieces resemble conductive pathways and tracks made from metal. While broadly inspired by electronics, Chien also is influenced by Massimo Vignelli’s 1972 redesign of the New York City subway map and fashion editor Diana Vreeland’s belief that “the eye has to travel.”

I find the metaphor of the journey to be potent and relevant here. For me, the visual pleasure derived from the Circuit Boards comes from choosing one rope end and following it to the conclusion of its journey through the work. Electronic circuit boards connect and conduct power; subway maps (maps in general) provide a kind of simulation of a journey, a guide to choices and paths. 

The artist tells Colossal that by examining the inherent tension in knots, she hopes to consider both their physical function and aesthetic value. “The neurosurgeon Leonard Shlain pointed out that art interprets the visible world, while physics charts its unseen workings. I think of my work as a fusion of the two,” she writes. “Art matters because it voices the unvoiceable—it is human experience distilled.”

Follow Chien’s work that imbues traditional craft techniques with technology on Instagram, and take a peek inside her studio.

 

(2020), 48 x 72 inches

2020), 48 x 72 inches

(2019), synthetic sailing line, leather, and walnut, 3 x 10 feet

(2019), sunbrella line and trim, walnut, 4.5 x 24 feet

(2019), sunbrella line and trim, walnut, 4.5 x 24 feet

“Lava Flow” (2019), synthetic sailing line, leather, and walnut

 

 

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