Sound Waves from Contemporary Music Become Traditional Chinese Landscapes in Du Kun's Scroll Paintings
“Playing music is my only hobby,” says artist Du Kun, who pairs his longtime passion for the auditory art form with the traditional Chinese landscapes his father taught him to paint as a child. This compilation takes shape in his sprawling, layered scenes that follow lush groves and steep rock formations across silk scrolls stretching nearly nine meters. Each one of the natural features is the artist’s translation of a sound wave, which turns an eccentric array of tracks into wide, serene landscapes.
In a short video detailing his multi-faceted process, Du (previously) strums an acoustic guitar and taps percussive beats that he then digitally manipulates to form arched bridges or a whimsically rendered cloud that blows the length of the scroll. He combines multiple instruments and tracks for greater perspective and depth than a single recording would provide, rendering rich works that transform sung melodies into birds and clouds or the repetitive rhythms of electronic music into segmented architecture.
There’s an implied conversation between the visual and audio elements, Du says, describing how he uses “the mood of the painting as an initial guiding foundation to break away from the conventional routines of music arrangement.” Painting styles typically associated with the Song Dynasty and contemporary audio converge in the works in a seamless mix of time and sensory experiences, which he explains:
By using painting to influence music, the elements of music are transformed into these landscape paintings, becoming a new kind of music score. This series of works bring traditional Chinese paintings and modern music together, where ‘static’ and ‘noise’ are simultaneously present in the works—causing mutual influence, interdependency, and translation with one another. Just like two people who speak different languages but find a special way to communicate with each other.
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'Fake Food, Real Garbage': A Satirical Store is Fully Stocked with Groceries Made Entirely of Plastic
Wander into a new pop-up grocery store in Downtown Los Angeles, and you’ll find all of the typical options with an unusual twist: freezers stocked with tubs of “Bag & Jerry’s,” a robust produce section with bananas and tomatoes printed with advertisements, and mysteriously gray “polluted sausage” stuck to styrofoam trays.
Dubbed “The Plastic Bag Store,” the witty and satirical installation is the project of Robin Frohardt, who repurposed scores of bottle caps, packaging, and other single-use materials into a full-fledged grocery. Each of the non-edible items—many of which have undergone clever rebrands, meaning you’ll find family-sized boxes of Yucky Shards cereal, cases of Bagorade bottles, and clamshells of Earthbag Farms non-organic spring mix in the aisles—is made entirely with discarded waste that the Brooklyn-based artist, puppet-maker, and designer collected from garbage bins and trash sites.
Paired with a performative component that envisions how future generations will interpret the inordinate amount of waste produced in today’s world, the installation literally displays the longevity of the items many of us use on a daily basis. According to recent estimations, the amount of plastic in the ocean is predicted to exceed the volume of fish by 2050, an ongoing crisis Frohardt wants to make more apparent. “’The Plastic Bag Store’ is a visually rich and humorous experience that hopefully encourages a different way of thinking about the foreverness of plastic, the permanence of the disposable and that there is no ‘away’ when we throw something out,” she says.
The grocery, which debuted in Times Square last fall with the tagline “Fake Food, Real Garbage,” is open at UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance through July 11. You can find more of Frohardt’s projects, many of which critique mass consumerism and capitalism through a humorous lens, on her site and Instagram. (via Hyperallergic)
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A Dreamy Fiber Installation by Vanessa Barragão Transforms a Medieval Bridge into a Patch of Oversized Orchids
In the small town of Paderne, Portugal, a whimsical valance of crocheted leaves, dangling tendrils, and petals dyed with subtle gradients encircles the stone archways of a battered medieval bridge. Titled “Algarvensis,” the dreamy installation is by Portuguese artist Vanessa Barragão, who’s known for her large-scale textured tapestries that recreate landscapes and gardens with tufted fibers. The bowed entanglement recreates oversized orchids native to the region with wool from nearby sheep and recycled yarn, resin, and other materials in a celebration of the local environment where the artist spent much of her childhood.
“Algarvensis,” which the municipality of Albufeira commissioned to help elevate the Geoparque Algarvensis to the status of a Worldwide UNESCO Geoparque, will be up until September 12, and you can the process and installation behind the piece on Barragão’s Instagram.
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Stephen Doyle describes his interconnected book sculptures as “miniature monuments, testaments to the power of language and metaphors of imagination.” Featuring angled scaffolding and interlocking constructions that appear to grow directly from the bound pages, the sprawling sculptural forms that comprise his Hypertexts series are unruly and enchanting reimaginings of how information is communicated.
The New York City-based artist lobs off parts of sentences, tethers phrases together with an unrelated word, and generally obscures the author’s intended meaning, producing arbitrary and striking connections within the text. Although the paper sculptures are tangible manifestations of language, Doyle tells Colossal that he originally envisioned the spliced works as satirical commentaries on digital diagramming. “I first started when ‘hypertext’ was a novel term of the internet: blue underlined text was a portal, linked to another document in the ether. Linking one text to another seemed rather DADA in intent, abstract, random, and capricious,” he says, explaining further:
I conjured sculptures in which the lines of text shook off the shackles of the page, leapt up, out of the book, and started conferring with their neighboring lines of text, creating an aerial network of language, turning text into synapse, circulation… I soon realized that these three-dimensional diagrams seemed to have a poetic power of their own, recontextualizing language and ideas into sculptural forms, inspired by the books themselves.
A graphic designer by day, Doyle has spent the last few years expanding his Hypertexts series, which has been featured in The New Yorker, Wired, The Atlantic, The New Republic, and other publications. If you’re in New York City, you also might have seen the triptych he created for the subway a few years back. You can follow his works on Instagram. (via swissmiss)
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Wide spoons become muscular hind legs, pointed handles fan out into wings, and fork prongs curl around a branch like talons in Matt Wilson’s wildlife assemblages. Using found flatware and other metal objects, the Charleston-based artist (previously) welds sculptural renditions of birds, insects, and other small animals that appear lifelike and primed for movementt. He mounts the metallic sculptures on pieces of driftwood or smooth plaques—many of which are handcrafted by his friend Jacob Kent—that contrast the shining metal with the natural, grainy material.
Wilson has spent the last few years broadening his practice and working on multiple birds simultaneously, allowing for more cohesive, well-rounded flocks. His next collection launches at 9 a.m. EST on July 9 in his shop, and his works sell quickly so keep an eye on Instagram for early looks at the 100 creatures set for release.
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Whether nestling an iridescent tunnel inside a Georgian-style church or encircling a concrete walkway with multicolor ribbons, Liz West transforms whatever space she approaches into a dynamic field of kaleidoscopic light and shadow. The prolific British artist (previously) is known for her large-scale pieces that use reflection and refraction to create dazzling immersive environments. Often utilizing translucent panels and a combination of natural light and LEDs, West’s intention is to enhance sensory awareness, showing the potential the full spectrum of color has to impact both psychological and physical reactions.
On view through August 21 at Canary Wharf in London, “Hymn to the Big Wheel” (shown above) is an architectural installation comprised of two concentric octagons that cast layered jewel-toned shadows depending on the viewer’s position. The piece draws its name from Massive Attack’s “Hymn Of The Big Wheel” and has what West calls a “sun-dial effect” that changes how the light streams through the panels depending on the time of day.
Other recent projects include “Aglow,” which arranged 169 fluorescent bowls in a hexagon outside of the Musee Nissim de Camondo in Paris. The individual elements were designed to catch rainfall, which once pooled in the base, added an extra layer of color and illusion to the patterned grouping. Similarly deceptive is West’s 2021 piece titled “Presence” at Christ Church in Macclesfield, which produced an obscured and prismatic path through the historic site that presented the existing architecture through the lens of colorful panels.
West is currently working on two permanent installations launching in August and September in Salford, while “Hundreds and Thousands” (shown below) will be taken down this fall. You can follow her vibrant constructions on her site and Instagram.
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