Architectural Silhouettes Play With Perspective in Patrick Akpojotor’s Fragmented Portraits
Combining a love for African masks and the people and buildings of his hometown of Lagos, Nigeria, Patrick Akpojotor (previously) merges the figurative details of faces, shoulders, and arms with the geometric forms of hallways, doors, and staircases. “My surface becomes a playground where forms, colours, perspective, and space comes to play and interact,” he says in a statement. “The use of geometry and architectural elements highlight the influence of the built environment in shaping our memories, experiences, and identities in the world.”
Akpojotor draws on the art historical legacies of Cubist painters who devised a way of breaking up the picture plane into “cubes” or fragments to show multiple sides of an object or figure at the same time. His compositions utilize skewed perspectives, contrast, and color to explore the dynamic relationship between internal and external human experiences, paralleling the interiors and exteriors of architectural spaces and the transformative ways we move between them. He has recently experimented with sculpture, producing steel forms of abstracted arches and steps.
Akpojotor is currently preparing work for a solo exhibition at Allouche Gallery in September. Find more of his work on his website and Instagram.
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Monumental Bubbles Pop Up in Public Spaces in Atelier Sisu’s Inflatable Installations
Whether illuminated by the sun or spotlights, the undulating layers of Atelier Sisu’s playful installations are a presence in public spaces. The Sydney-based studio, which is a collaboration between artists Renzo B. Larriviere and Zara Pasfield, celebrates community interaction and joy in their vibrant, inflatable designs. A buttress between art and architecture, their practice focuses on the interaction between art and the surrounding environment. “Our aim is not simply to create something beautiful or a temporary sculpture but to re-interpret our public spaces through architectural choices,” the studio says in a statement.
Atelier Sisu’s self-described “bubble-tecture” is exemplified in the iridescent spheres of “Evanescent,” which features enormous, translucent orbs that stick one another and appear to tumble across lawns or plazas. Conceived during the pandemic when the artists, like many of us, were faced with uncertainty and began to more closely consider the delicate balance of stability and the fleeting nature of time, the studio “endeavoured to communicate this feeling of transient beauty and the need to live in the moment through the idea of the bubble.” The piece has been displayed in more than 22 different cities in 12 different countries.
“Evanescent” is currently on view at Leadenhall Market in London through February 10. You can find more work on the studio’s website, and follow updates on Instagram.
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Meticulous Folds Form Maze-Like Hallways and Ornate Spaces in Simon Schubert’s Paper Reliefs
In Simon Schubert’s intricate folded compositions, bars of sunlight dash across door frames, ornate cornicing, and parquet floors in a complex interplay of geometric forms. Relying exclusively on the way light rakes across the surface of paper, the Cologne-based artist meticulously folds single sheets to precisely render the angles and perspectives of architectural interiors.
The artist begins each piece with a sketch, often focusing on mirrored or symmetrical scenes in historic buildings and emphasizing the continuity of long hallways, connecting doors, and reflections. Although Schubert currently centers on the built environment, his first foray into folding the material was an experiment in making a portrait of the Irish novelist Samuel Beckett while the artist was assisting with research into the author’s text and video works at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Beckett’s wrinkles were interpreted into creases in the paper, and the artist was fascinated by the idea of drawing without using any traditional materials beyond the paper itself. “The idea was to bring the drawing to a point to where it was almost no longer a drawing,” Schubert says.
Part of a broader artistic practice that explores themes of place, experience, architecture, and imagination, Schubert’s folded paper works translate three-dimensional surroundings into monochromatic reliefs. Subtlety is essential, and there are some surprises lurking, like the ghostly form of a figure who walks up the stairs or an enigmatic shadow that plays against a wall.
Schubert’s work will be part of an exhibition with Foley Gallery in New York later this year, and you can find more of his work on his website and Instagram.
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Ethereal Light Suffuses Domestic Interiors with Surreal Hues in Alfie Caine’s Paintings
Imbued with otherworldly light and a jewel-toned palette, Alfie Caine’s dreamscapes tuck domestic architecture into the idealized surroundings of manicured neighborhoods, country gardens, and lush woodland. The East Sussex-based artist draws on his formal training in architecture to render homes and their environs in vivid hues, playing with perspective and the relationship between light and shadow in an interplay of interior and exterior.
In Caine’s vignettes of domestic life, clues to the inhabitants are found in details like a potted plant propping a door open, a pet awaiting attention, or a glimpse of a figure in the corner, nearly out of view. The precision of linear perspective and bold contrasts meet the surreal, organic forms of wispy flora and streams of chimney smoke in scenes that emphasize small moments of pleasure in everyday life, such as taking a hot bath, strumming a guitar, or lighting a candle. These instances of familiarity are often countered by uncanny light sources, which illuminate bouquets of flowers, cast long shadows, and portend an incoming storm or some mysterious, unknown event.
Caine’s solo show titled Moments of Calm is on view through February 23 at JARILAGER Gallery. Find more of the artist’s work on his website and Instagram.
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Art Craft Design
Precise Details and Architectural Contrasts Highlight Layla May Arthur’s Narrative Paper Sculptures
Wielding the fundamentals of set design, Layla May Arthur assembles elaborate architectural spaces and visual narratives from paper. The Netherlands-based artist focuses on the interplay between light and shadow in intricate, three-dimensional dioramas that emphasize storytelling in window displays, brand identities, and gallery presentations. In pieces ranging from delicate, individual sculptures of staircases to large-scale, immersive installations, she instills a sense that the viewer is a part of the interactions of figures within each scene.
Since graduating from university in 2021, Arthur has focused on projects that emulate the visual drama of theatrical presentations, setting the stage for products in boutique windows and brand collaborations in addition to museum exhibitions. “I really enjoy being able to handcraft artworks to be used in photoshoots or installations where my work reaches an audience who might not ordinarily seek out art in an art space,” she tells Colossal. “I have had incredible clients so far who have given me huge creative freedom in acting as both art director and artist.”
Arthur emphasizes each incision, angle, and pattern of the meticulously cut pieces of white paper by spotlighting or illuminating from within. “I love being able to create an artistic experience which is part of the everyday and highlights the possibilities of craftsmanship,” she says.
Find more of Arthur’s work on her website, Behance, and Instagram, where she often shares videos of her process.
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A Chinese Village’s Breezy New Library Uses Traditional Construction Techniques to Make a Social Impact
Modeled after a traditional Dong timber house, a new local library designed by Chinese architecture firm Condition_Lab highlights the region’s architectural heritage through elegant, contemporary details. Pingtan Book House is located in the village of Pingtan, Tongdao Province, Hunan, and nestles into the courtyard of a primary school that serves 400 children. The studio saw an opportunity to complement the school—a 20-year old blocky, concrete construction—with an addition that was more empathetic to its cultural and natural surroundings.
Condition_Lab conceived of the idea for a pitched, tiled roof and mortise-and-tenon construction from the local vernacular, drawing attention to the region’s disappearing historic construction. “Entire villages built over centuries from a single sustainable material, indigenous China Fir, are rapidly losing their identity,” the studio explains in a statement. “Dong’s cultural DNA is being challenged by contemporary living and the quest to modernize.”
Connection and interaction within the space and with one another is an important facet of Condition_Lab’s ethos. “Social impact does not require large amounts of financial investment, design is not limited to high-end projects, and architecture must have a purpose,” the studio says. To make the interior space inviting for children to explore, sit, and read, the designers devised a unique plan: instead of rooms and doors, the layout consists of two staircases that wrap around one another in a double helix. Landings between staircases provide wall space for books and top-to-bottom windows that peer out into the surrounding landscape. The steps provide seating for the children, with views up and down the three-story structure through airy balustrades.
Condition_Lab focuses on purposeful design as a vehicle to make change, and you can explore more of the studio’s work on its website and Instagram.
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