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.

 

 

 



Craft Design

A Whimsical Ad Uses Conductive Thread to Light Up Miniature Scenes Made of Yarn and Fabric

September 8, 2021

Grace Ebert

Simple landscapes dotted with felt trees, miniature power lines, and spool-propelled ambulances become twinkling nightscapes and whimsically glowing scenes in “Connecting Thoughts.” The advertisement, which was created to promote the Japanese infrastructure firm Kandenko’s “Everyone Lights up the Future” message, uses Smart-X conductive thread to send electric currents through figures stitched into gloves and around yarn-based architecture, illuminating each scenario with tiny bulbs. This short piece follows the company’s 2016 ad, which used a conductive marker to create a dazzling pop-up book.

 

 

 



Art

A Public Art Project Linking Environmental Concerns and Social Justice Brings Eight Murals to Essex

September 7, 2021

Grace Ebert

Aches. All images by Doug Gillen and courtesy of Re:FRAMED, shared with permission

A spate of public art is flooding the streets of Basildon in Essex, England as part of a new initiative that falls at the intersection of social and environmental justice. Throughout the summer, curators Doug Gillen and Charlotte Pyatt, who are operating together as Re:FRAMED, tasked eight artists with creating large-scale murals and smaller painted works as part of Our Towns: Climate. The resulting pieces reconsider some of today’s most pressing issues through the lens of local art and include a glitched technicolor horse by Aches, INSA’s floral windows, and Michele Curtis’s bright message of support.

Established by the government to house relocated Londoners following World War II, Basildon is marked by its Brutalist architecture and a lengthy history of braving devastation. “This sentiment forms the heart of the Our Towns programme, engaging culture to consider new solutions to old problems in addressing our relationship with public space and each other,” a statement says.

Our Towns will kick off in-person programming on September 11 with workshops, tours, and live artmaking, and you can follow its progress on Re:FRAMED’s Instagram.

 

Insa

Gabriel Pitcher

Franco Fasoli

Erin Holly

Marina Capdevila

Michele Curtis

Erin Holly

 

 



SVA’s Fall 2021 Continuing Education Courses Begin September 20

September 7, 2021

Colossal

Artwork by Flora Bai, SVA Alumnus, SVACE Student

Whether it’s to advance your career or try something new, the Division of Continuing Education at the School of Visual Arts offers more than 170 courses to choose from. Visit sva.edu/ce to view free events and all virtual and on-campus courses, which begin September 20.

Online courses are available in:

Free Virtual Events & Information Sessions

Registration Details

Course Advice
If you need advice or have questions, please email [email protected] to connect with a course advisor.

About the School of Visual Arts

School of Visual Arts has been a leader in the education of artists, designers, and creative professionals for seven decades. With a faculty of distinguished working professionals, a dynamic curriculum, and an emphasis on critical thinking, SVA is a catalyst for innovation and social responsibility. Comprising 6,000 students at its Manhattan campus and 35,000 alumni in 100 countries, SVA also represents one of the most influential artistic communities in the world. For information about the college, please visit sva.edu.

School of VISUAL ARTS
Division of Continuing Education
sva.edu/ce
Email: [email protected]

 

 



Craft

Dried Floral Arrangements Sprout from Elaborate Tulle-Based Embroideries

September 7, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Olga Prinku, shared with permission

Using simple white tulle as her base, Olga Prinku creates lush arrangements of flowers, seedpods, berries, and other organic materials teeming with color and texture. She fastens the preserved florals, which she often grows or forages and then dries herself, to the mesh webbing, encircling an embroidery hoop with elaborate patterns or depicting figurative renderings of birds and individual blooms. Many of the pieces replicate the motifs found in nature or those prevalent in eastern European folklore, which the North Yorkshire-based artist ties to her upbringing in the Republic of Moldova.

Formerly a graphic designer, Prinku says her creative process is similar in her now-tactile medium, relying on trial and error and an understanding of color, shape, and overall composition. “I learned in graphic design to be willing to experiment with different ideas that I wasn’t sure would work, and then to be willing to give up on the ones that aren’t working and refine the ones that seem promising,” she says, sharing that her typographic hoops directly connect both practices.

Prinku teaches workshops and offers tutorials for those interested in learning her botanical craft and is releasing a book titled Dried Flower Embroidery that will be published this October by Quadrille. Find more of her luxuriant embroideries on Instagram. (via Lustik)