A New Book Celebrates the Playful and Imaginative Interpretations of Working ‘Out of the Box’
A new book from London-based artist and curator Tom Buchanan revolves around what he terms “box art.” Encompassing what has “evolved, been created within, or even escaped from a box,” the 336-page compendium draws together more than 500 assemblages, collections, dioramas, miniatures, and other works that play with and reenvision the limits of the humble container.
Titled Out of the Box, the volume features a wide array of mediums and styles from enchanting paper dioramas by Hari & Deepti to Ben Young’s sleek glass sculptures mimicking pools and seas to Wolfgang Stiller’s charred matchstick figures. The book is organized by the four elements—earth, water, air, and fire—and highlights the narratives that emerge from physically collecting and displaying objects, especially as life becomes increasingly digital. “We live, arrange, watch, and rest in death in boxes, and this collection is a testament to the absurdity and wonder that is life,” Buchanan says.
Out of the Box is published by Eight Books and is currently available in the U.K. Find more from Buchanan on his site.
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An Endearing Fawn Searches for the Sun in an Enchanting Picture Book Illustrated by KAA
A stunning picture book written by Joanna McInerney and illustrated by KAA follows a small fawn who embarks on a beguiling journey in an effort to chase the sun. Traveling through lush forests, groves of cherry blossom trees, wintry hills, and sunflower fields, readers accompany the young deer on his poetic journey to stop and smell the flowers.
In The Fawn Who Chased the Sun, Ho Chi Minh-based duo Phung Nguyen Quang and Huynh Kim Lien, a.k.a KAA, envision a whimsical world that translates into flourishing illustrations. Transporting readers into an exuberant environment, KAA incorporate various patterns inspired by William Morris along with surreal elements such as oversized flora and towering frogs.
The duo first creates detailed sketches, which Quang scans and hands over to Lien to begin the digital coloring process. Highlighting seasonal shifts through different palettes, they encourage the reader to enjoy the journey through multiple perspectives as the environment changes. “We have tried so many new perspectives and colors that we never used before in this book, and every experiment brought us joy while drawing it,” the illustrators tell Colossal.
You can follow more of KAA’s work on their Instagram, Behance, and website.
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Jukhee Kwon Revives Abandoned Books in Elaborate Paper Sculptures and Installations
In elaborate sculptures that range from a few inches to several feet, South Korean artist Jukhee Kwon explores the duality of destruction and recreation to give new life to abandoned books. Painstakingly manipulating old tomes by hand, she constructs intricate tendrils and chains of paper still attached to the spines, cutting between the lines so that the text remains legible and merges into new narratives.
Currently based in Italy, Kwon finds books published in Italian like Guerra e Pace—or War and Peace—to provide the starting point for her work. In others, the title of the book is obscured completely by loops and curls of paper. The artist repetitively twists, ruffles, weaves, or links the pages, creating a variety of meshes and draping forms that cascade from the binding and vary greatly from one piece to the next. In “Meditation,” she incorporates the craft tradition of jong-i jeobi, the Korean word for origami, and the original marker ribbon provides a focal point in “Red Circle Book.”
Kwon suggests there are numerous ways to comprehend what we see. A flower could also be a medallion; a series of curtain-like columns mimics waterfalls; and woven webs form baskets or provide the shelter of nests. Paralleling the way great writing contains multiple layers of meaning, the artist is interested in exploring different interpretations, visualizing how thoughts and experiences metaphorically unfurl and blossom.
If you’re in London, you can explore Kwon’s solo exhibition Liberated at October Gallery through April 22, and follow her on Instagram for updates.
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In ‘African Studies,’ Edward Burtynsky Photographs the Human Imprint on Sub-Saharan Landscapes
Renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky approaches his latest project with curiosity about the future of human impact and globalization. From the diamond mines of South Africa to the richly textured landscape of Namibia’s Tsaus Mountains, African Studies spotlights the sub-Saharan region and its reserves of metals, salt, precious gemstones, and other ores. “I am surveying two very distinct aspects of the landscape,” he says in a statement, “that of the earth as something intact, undisturbed yet implicitly vulnerable… and that of the earth as opened up by the systematic extraction of resources.”
Taken over seven years in ten nations—these include Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Madagascar, and Tanzania—the aerial photos, which are compiled in a forthcoming book published by Steidl, present a dichotomy between a region irrevocably altered by humanity and one of immense possibility. Burtynsky’s interest in the continent began in the early Aughts when working on a series about China, which he explains:
For that project, and while researching several topics including the Three Gorges Dam, urban renewal, and recycling, I learned how the new Chinese factories were being created. At the time, heavy machinery was literally being unbolted from concrete floors in Europe and North America, then shipped and refastened to the floors of gigantic facilities in China. This represented a paradigm shift of industry, and it seemed obvious that China was rapidly becoming a leading manufacturer for the world. I realized even then that the African continent was poised to become the next, perhaps even the last, territory for major industrial expansion.
Particularly since 2013 when it launched its Belt and Road Initiative, China has invested billions of dollars in expanding its global presence, with many African nations as targets. This growth, along with international competition for access and power on the continent, has widespread economic, environmental, and governmental impacts, which Burtynsky explores through the series.
Photographed via helicopter, plane, or drone, his images juxtapose the natural beauty of the landscape with the unnerving scars of human impact. Long tailing ponds, or waste sites from mining with the potential to contaminate the area with toxic chemicals, appear frequently in the project, while photos like that of the Dandora Landfill center on the direct effects of consumerism on local people. The largest waste repository in Kenya, the dump site attracts locals who scavenge recyclable plastic to sell, despite the rampant threat of cancer and infertility.
While much of African Studies is shot outdoors, Burtynsky heads inside for part of the project, documenting the interiors of manufacturing plants. “I hope to continue raising awareness about the cost of growing our civilization without the necessary consideration for sustainable industrial practices and the dire need for implementing globally organized governmental initiatives and binding international legislations in order to protect present and future generations from what stands to be forever lost,” he says.
African Studies is currently available for pre-order on Bookshop. Photos from the series are also on view at two New York spaces: Sundaram Tagore through April 1 and Howard Greenberg Gallery through April 22.
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Art Craft Documentary
A Book and New Documentary Explore the Possibilities of Ink-Making in Urban Environments
Jason Logan’s entry into ink-making started with a black walnut tree he encountered while biking through a local Toronto park. After gathering the fallen seeds and bringing them home, he boiled the green nuts until they produced a rich brown pigment. Now nearly ten years ago, this moment became the catalyst for what’s grown into an expansive network of projects exploring the possibilities of color and foraging in the most unlikely spaces.
Logan founded The Toronto Ink Company in 2014 and began to create pigments from materials gathered around the Canadian city, including the aforementioned black walnut but also street detritus like cigarette butts, soot, and rust. The idea was to create more environmentally conscious products and extend foraging into urban environments. “You start seeking out hopeful green spaces under a highway overpass or in a back alley,” Logan said in an interview. “A rusty nail becomes a possible ink or a penny with greenish oxidation on it.”
These discoveries led to Make Ink, his 2018 guidebook for scavenging with recipes and tips on creating pigments at home. Organized by color, the 192-page volume encompasses history and science and focuses on the alchemy behind his work. The book is also the predecessor to the artist’s latest project, a feature-length documentary that delves into his harvesting and production process.
Currently screening in Canada, The Colour of Ink follows Logan as he gathers organic and human-made substances and transforms them into usable goods. Featuring artists and writers like Margaret Atwood, Kōji Kakinuma, and Heidi Gustafson (previously), the film highlights the connection to the earth and emphasizes the lively qualities of the material. “The ink I make is unpredictable. It’s fugitive. It’s on the run,” Logan says in the trailer.” “What I’m hoping to do is draw people’s attention to minute differences.”
Pick up a copy of Make Ink on Bookshop, and follow Logan on Instagram for updates on additional documentary screenings, which are likely to happen in Tel Aviv, Hong Kong, and throughout the U.S. in the coming months.
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Highlighting Wildlife in Crisis, ‘The New Big 5’ Celebrates the Diversity of the World’s Animal Denizens
In the Victorian era, big game hunting saw a meteoric rise in popularity, coinciding with Britain’s colonization of numerous regions in the so-called “Scramble for Africa” and the advent of more accurate firearms that galvanized a fashion for amassing “exotic” trophies. Sometimes intended for museums, specimens were often bound for private collections, and creatures that roamed the vast African continent were considered particularly attractive prizes.
Known as the Big Five, the lion, leopard, black rhinoceros, African bush elephant, and African buffalo were considered the most difficult species to hunt on foot. Today, many of these animals are vulnerable and endangered and must be protected in nature reserves in order to prevent being unlawfully hunted to extinction. In his forthcoming book The New Big 5, photographer Graeme Green wants to flip the narrative: “Shooting with a camera, not a gun.”
The New Big 5 is the culmination of a three-year project celebrating the remarkable multiplicity of Earth’s inhabitants, which also aims to raise awareness of the fragility of their existence as their habitats are increasingly threatened due to the climate crisis. In April 2020, Green asked people around the world to suggest what animals they most enjoyed seeing in photographs. More than 3,000 people voted for their favorites, and the list includes species found in Asia and North America, too: elephants, tigers, gorillas, polar bears, and lions. Family life is a particular focus, emphasizing the universally tender relationships of parents rearing their babies.
With more than a million species at risk of extinction worldwide, Green wanted the project “to focus attention on all of the world’s incredible wildlife, large and small, and the urgent need to act together globally to save these animals, our planet, and ourselves.” The book brings together more than 200 photographs by 146 photographers from around the world and contains numerous interviews and essays by some of the foremost conservationists, scientists, and activists working today.
Scheduled for release on April 4, you can pre-order a copy on Bookshop, and visit the project’s website to learn more.
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Editor's Picks: Animation
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