Art

Nick Cave's Energetic 'Soundsuits' Dance Along the New York City Subway in a 360-Foot Mosaic

September 10, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Each One, Every One, Equal All” (2022). Photo by Photo by MTA/Trent Reeves. All images courtesy of MTA Arts & Design.

Spanning the 42 St. Connector between Times Square and Bryant Park in New York City is a troupe of dancing figures dressed in vibrant costumes of feather and fur. The ebullient characters are based on the iconic series of Soundsuits by Chicago-based artist Nick Cave (previously) and are the first part of a massive permanent installation titled Each One, Every One, Equal All in the public transit corridor.

Stretching 360 feet, “Every One” is the first in the mosaic trio and displays more than two dozen of the adorned figures inlaid in ceramic tiles. The pieces are based on James Prinz’s photos of Cave’s original designs, which are soulful and energetic forms that blend fashion, sculpture, and performance in full-body coverings. Soundsuits “camouflage the shape of the wearer, enveloping and creating a second skin that hides gender, race, and class, thus compelling the audience to watch without judgment.” Cave describes the impetus for the project.

Times Square is one of the busiest, most diverse, and fabulously kinetic places on the planet. For this project, I took the aboveground color, movement, and cross-pollination of humanity, bundled it into a powerful and compact energy mass that is taken underground and delivered throughout the station and passage. ‘Every One’ places the viewer within a performance, directly connecting them with the Soundsuits as part of an inclusive community of difference.

“Every One” was officially unveiled today with a short video work showing the colorful figures in motion playing every 15 minutes outside the corridor. “Each One” and “Equal All” are scheduled for 2022, and once complete, the project will stretch 4,600-square-feet with more than four dozen dancers. It will mark both Cave’s largest permanent installation and the MTA’s most expansive commissioned mosaic to date.

To learn more about Soundsuits and the project’s history, read this explainer in Public Delivery, and follow the artist’s work on Instagram. (via Kottke)

 

Photo by MTA/Trent Reeves

Photo by MTA Arts & Design/Cheryl Hageman

Photo by MTA Arts & Design/Cheryl Hageman

Photo by MTA Arts & Design/Cheryl Hageman

Photo by MTA Arts & Design/Cheryl Hageman

 

 



Art

A Verdant Rainforest Lush with Plants and Giant Macaws Blankets Annabel's Facade in London

September 10, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Annabel’s, shared with permission

Sprawling from sidewalk to roof and lining the entrance to Annabel’s in London is a luxuriant installation teeming with ferns, florals, and a flock of vibrant, oversized birds hovering nearby. Evocative of an abundant rainforest habitat, the staggering piece is part of the club’s inaugural Annabel’s for The Amazon initiative, which launches later this month in collaboration with One Tree Planted and The Caring Family Foundation.

Together, their goal is to combat deforestation by planting one million trees by March 2023, a number that equals about 600 hectares of forests otherwise lost, and renew biodiversity in the Araguaia Biodiversity Corridor, which currently consists of patchwork plots destroyed by agriculture, logging, and other devastating projects. With continued restoration efforts, this region is slated to become “the largest nature corridor in the world, connecting the Amazon and Cerrado over a distance of 2,600 kilometers—the same distance from Moscow to London,” a statement says.

 

 

 



Animation Music

A Mesmerizing Animation Spins Through Banknotes From 23 Countries in a Hypnotic Look at What Cultures Value

September 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

An endless loop of lines, ornate motifs, emblems, and historical figures converge in a hypnotic animation by Los Angeles-based director Lachlan Turczan. Paired with Blake Mills’s subdued track “Money Is The One True God,” the music video is comprised of high-resolution scans spliced together in a mesmerizing rotation. The compilation reveals colorful snippets of currency from 23 countries dating from the 1800s to the present day—these include a portrait of rebellion leader Samuel Sharpe on the Jamaican 50 dollar bill, an engraving of Tenochtitlan on a 100 peso, and a kaleidoscopic sunset on China’s 5 yuan—that show how notions of value have evolved over time.

Turczan writes that he used replacement animation techniques to highlight the guilloché patterns embedded within the bills. While much of the animation focuses on the abstract, it’s also indicative of cultural trends and shifts. “The age of exploration leads to industrialization, wonders of the world are replaced by office buildings, and icons of freedom stand in stark contrast to images of slavery,” he says. “The project culminates with the collective eyes of all world leaders staring back at the audience.”

Having worked with talents like Phoebe Bridgers, Sam von Horn, and Flock of Dimes, Mills’s “Money Is The One True God” is just one of Turczan’s music videos, which you can watch on Vimeo and Instagram. You also might enjoy this stop-motion short at the intersection of culture and economics. (via Booooooom)

 

 

 



Craft

Elaborately Constructed Figures by 'People Too' Create a Cast of Quintessential Characters in Paper

September 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Nitro.” All images © People Too, shared with permission

If you ran into Nitro, Lotto, Sully, or the rest of their troupe on the street, it’d be easy enough to imagine their respective personalities and lifestyles: Nitro is the lax skateboarder who’s always in some state of disarray, Lotto the eccentric and elusive creative, and Sully the file-toting employee who spends her days sitting in meetings, optimizing her schedule, and adding tasks to her to-do list. Easily recognizable and maybe even uncomfortably relatable, the archetypal characters are the creations of artists Alexey Lyapunov and Lena Erlich, who are known for their illustrations and elaborate constructions made from paper.

The Novosibirsk, Russia-based duo works as People Too (previously), and originally designed the figurative sculptures for a now-postponed commission that would turn the paper models into animated characters. Head to Behance to see more of the series and to Society6 to shop prints of their illustrated works.

 

“Bills”

“Bills”

“Sully”

“Lotto”

“Ninka”

“Ninka”

“Ninka”

Left: “Esc.” Right: “André”

 

 



Art

Nondescript Human Heads Appear Burned into Large-Scale Matches by Wolfgang Stiller

September 8, 2021

Grace Ebert

Group of five Matchstickmen (2019), wood, polyurethane, paint, each 155 centimeters. All images © Wolfgang Stiller, shared with permission

Often propped up in a row or symbolically arranged, the ongoing series of charred matches by Wolfgang Stiller are oversized and surreal renditions of the book-bound lookalikes. The German artist sculpts human heads in bright red or gradient-lined black signaling previous use that sit atop the square posts standing about five feet tall. Aptly titled Matchstickmen, the nondescript figures span the gamut of human emotion, ranging from pained expressions and distress to joy and calm.

Stiller began the series more than a decade ago when he was living in China, and the earliest wooden iterations reflected his surrounding community. Today, they encompass a broader swath of identities and are sometimes cast in bronze for larger outdoor installations. Whether tucked in a large-scale box resembling a coffin or arranged as emblems like the Star of David to memorialize historic atrocities, the Matchstickmen series can be somber and even morbid, although Stiller tells Colossal they’re also speaking to the unpredictability and impermanence of life. He explains:

It is an undeniable fact, which we like to forget, that our present existence, (our) body is going to fall apart. We all have a certain lifespan. The Matchstickmen serve as a friendly reminder of this fact. That might scare a lot of people, especially those with a very materialistic worldview who think everything ends with the death of our physical body, but it could be also seen as an encouragement to live a more meaningful life.

Stiller’s solo show at Miart Gallery in London is up through September 21, and you can find more of his metaphorical works on his site and  Instagram.

 

Group of three Matchstickmen (2019), wood, polyurethane, paint, each 155 centimeters

Detail of “Matchbox” (2018), wood, polyurethane, and paint, 160 x 71 x 20 centimeters when opened

Detail of “Matchbox” (2018), wood, polyurethane, and paint, 160 x 71 x 20 centimeters when opened

Group of five Matchstickmen (2020), wood, polyurethane, paint, each 155 centimeters

Matchstickmen (2011), wood, polyurethane, acrylic, and gouache, 155 to 158 centimeters

Bronze installation of Matchstickmen at the Changwon Sculpture Biennale Korea (2018)

Matchstickmen installation (2010). Photo by Achim Kukulies

 

 



Art Craft Design

Imaginative Cartoon Characters by Yen Jui-Lin Express Playful Moods in Carved Wood

September 8, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images ©Yen Jui-Lin

Sporting waggish smiles or wide grimaces, Yen Jui-Lin’s wooden carvings are expressive characters that appear straight from a storybook. The Taiwanese craftsman (previously) stretches quirky figures, slices their bodies in half, and sprouts plant-like growths from their heads, exaggerating their cartoonish qualities in a playful and whimsical manner. Whether a character or plant, each work is evidence of his imaginative style and skillful process, which starts with a pencil sketch and gnarly hunk of wood—he shares more about his technique on Instagram—before becoming fully realized form. Although Yen originally began carving the smooth designs for his children, they’ve become collaborators on some of his pieces, like this wide-eyed monster.

 

 

 

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