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Art

The Cardboard Sculptures of Artist Warren King Are an Homage to His Chinese Heritage

July 7, 2022

Grace Ebert

Detail of “Xuanzang.” Photo by Jón Prospero. All images © Warren King, shared with permission

Artist Warren King (previously) finds much of his inspiration by wandering through Chinatown in New York City, where he encounters “street musicians, chess players in Columbus Park, vegetable sellers, knockoff handbag vendors on Canal Street, lion dancers during Chinese New Year celebrations,” he tells Colossal. “I’ve been fascinated during my weekly grocery shopping trips by the vibrant, diverse community there, which is so different from the relatively homogenous suburbs where I grew up.”

These passersby become the initial inspiration for the artist’s figurative cardboard sculptures, which consider his Chinese heritage, his parent’s immigration, and what it means to hold a diasporic identity. Ribbed with subtle corrugation and coated in dark neutral tones, the works vary in scale, although many are life-sized and large enough to occupy public benches and galleries. Each piece is an homage both to those he observes and to the richness of the Chinese community.

 

Detail of “The Wu Dan Answers the Call.” Photo by Satoshi Kobayashi

In addition to his ongoing Chinatown series, King’s recent works also include a few pieces of more personal relevance, including “Xuanzang.” The stoic character is based on the 7th Century monk by the same name who trekked 10,000 miles into India to recover Buddhist texts and inspired the classic novel, Journey to the West. “I used to be an avid backpacker and made a few life-defining treks myself,” the artist shares. “And I’m a book nerd too, so Xuanzang is naturally kind of an idol for me.”

The elaborately armored piece titled “The Wu Dan Answers the Call” similarly contextualizes King’s background within a broader history. “I wanted to tell the story of my feisty grandmother, who as a young woman tried to enlist in the bloody fight against the Japanese. But the piece is a mashup of a character from Chinese opera and Donatello’s famous sculpture of David, which reflects the two lenses through which I view the story,” he says.

King is currently working on an installation centered on the idea of preserving narratives and family legacies. That work is slated for February 2023 at Pearl River Mart in Soho, and you can follow its progress on Instagram.

 

“Xuanzang.” Photo by Jón Prospero

Detail of “Xuanzang.” Photo by Jón Prospero

“Lion Dancer” (2020). Photo by Jón Prospero

“The Wu Dan Answers the Call.” Photo by Satoshi Kobayashi

“Chess Players” (2020). Photo by Jón Prospero

 

 

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Animation Illustration

Peeled Cardboard Adds Corrugated Dimension to Javier Pérez’s Clever Illustrations

March 24, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Javier Pérez, shared with permission

Ecuadorian illustrator Javier Pérez (previously) is known for transforming humble materials into minimal drawings brimming with his distinct sense of wit and whimsy. His latest set of experiments peels back the top layer of corrugated cardboard and uses the hidden, textured grooves to define a sailor’s striped shirt, dog’s shaggy fur, or a thick beard pre-shave. A mix of stop-motion animations and illustrations, the series turns simple lines and everyday items into playful scenarios.

Based in Guayaquil, Pérez offers prints of his clever creations through Society6, and you can find more of his works on Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Monumental Cardboard Bridges Float in the Sky in Temporary Installations by Olivier Grossetête

July 29, 2021

Grace Ebert

Architecture en Fête, Villeneuve lez Avignon, France (2015). All images © Olivier Grossetête, shared with permission

Temporarily seen hovering above small European towns or balancing on a river in floating canoes are elaborate bridges designed to be constructed and demolished in a matter of days. The ongoing work of Olivier Grossetête, the cardboard-and-tape pieces are entirely hand-built by the French artist and local residents. Each ephemeral installation, which Grossetête refers to as “utopian building(s), temporary and useless,” appears for only a day or two before it’s taken down and the public is asked to stomp on and destroy the cardboard. “This is an integral part of the project,” the artist says in a statement. “This symbolic moment is fun.” While they’re on display, the architectural works are often tethered between hot air balloons and existing buildings, which makes them appear dream-like as they float above the urban landscape.

Grossetête has been utilizing the cheap, flexible material for more than ten years because it’s easy to manipulate, allowing the installations to spring up and be removed relatively quickly. “Despite its appearance, it has quite extraordinary capacities and is very light. It doesn’t scare anyone, and it allows me to open my practice to the greatest number of people,” he says, explaining that it’s also emblematic of cultural signifiers. “It is the symbol of the false and of the appearance! I like to make this parallel between architecture, an instrument of power, and the false, the appearance.”

Currently living in Jausiers in the Alpes de Hautes Provences, Grossetête is headed to 23 Milhas in Ílhavo, Portugal for his next installation, which will be up from July 31 to August 1. You can explore more than a decade of his works on his site.

 

“Monkey Bridge,” Japanese Garden of Tattonpark Biennale

Mantuano/French Embassy in Rome

Festival de l’Oh, Champigny, France (2015)

Mantuano/French Embassy in Rome

Pont Landerneau, France (2016)

Amboise, France Cultural Season of Amboise

 

 



Art Craft

New Articulate Cardboard Sculptures by Greg Olijnyk Populate Miniature Worlds of Fantasy and Science Fiction

May 20, 2021

Grace Ebert

“DvG 2.0.” All images by Griffin Simm, © Greg Olijnyk, shared with permission

An eerie pair of buildings, a jet-powered dragonfly, and a sci-fi-inspired retelling of David and Goliath complete with an oversized robot and samurai comprise the latest cardboard sculptures by Greg Olijnyk (previously). Fully articulate and outfitted with LED lights and glass where necessary, the extraordinarily detailed works are futuristic, slightly dystopic, and part of larger world-building narratives. The architectural constructions, for example, are “the start of a series of pieces exploring the fear, fascination, and curiosity aroused by the stranger in our midst. The weird presence out of place. The building of unknown purpose with no windows and with lights flickering at night,” he says. “What’s going on in there?”

Olijnyk is based in Melbourne and shares works-in-progress and more photos of the machine-like sculptures shown here on his Instagram.

 

“DvG 2.0”

Detail of “DvG 2.0”

“Dragonfly Bot”

“The New Neighbours,” 80 x 75 x 30 centimeters

“The New Neighbours,” 80 x 75 x 30 centimeters

Detail of “The New Neighbours,” 80 x 75 x 30 centimeters

Detail of “Dragonfly Bot”

“Dragonfly Bot”

 

 



Art

Sound Artist Zimoun Channels Frenetic Movement in Expansive Kinetic Sculptures and Installations

November 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

Swiss sound artist Zimoun (previously) harnesses the power of quick, chaotic movements in his large-scale installations and kinetic sculptures. Each artwork is composed of simple materials like cardboard boxes, wooden dowels, and cotton balls, among other common objects. Zimoun assembles multiples of the same configuration—think teetering sticks and metal washers suspended on a wire—and motorizes one portion, causing them to rattle back and forth.

Because each component is made by hand, they have slight differences that prevent them from synchronizing, despite all the motors being connected to a single current. The frenzied movements contrast the calming, whirring sounds the artworks emit, which mimic raindrops or a repetitive drum. This juxtaposition is just one example of the many comparisons the artist draws: chaos vs. order, mass vs. individual, simplicity vs. complexity, and manufactured vs. organic.

Considering this theme, Zimoun names each piece by listing the materials used to connect the discrete components and the whole. For example, a recent project that forms a square on the floor (shown below) is titled “1944 prepared dc-motors, mdf panels 72 x 72cm, metal discs Ø 8cm, 2020.” “In my work, I do not try to transport specific associations but rather to create atmospheric spaces and states that invite us to observe, think, and reflect on various levels,” he says.

In the compilation video above, Zimoun showcases a variety of the sculptures and installations from his extensive body of work, many of which you can explore individually on Vimeo and follow on Instagram.

 

“1944 prepared dc-motors, mdf panels 72 x 72cm, metal discs Ø 8cm, 2020.” All images © Zimoun, shared with permission

“1944 prepared dc-motors, mdf panels 72 x 72cm, metal discs Ø 8cm, 2020”

 

 



Art Craft

A Plant Overruns an Incredibly Intricate Cardboard Universe for Robots by Greg Olijnyk

September 18, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Greg Olijnyk, by Griffin Simm, shared with permission

Until now, Greg Olijnyk’s cardboard robots have been poised for adventure, whether perched on a speed bike or sailing an undulating sea. His meticulously crafted universe, though, has taken an eerie and slightly dystopic turn. The Melbourne-based artist presents fully articulate robots lying on an operating table and attempting to wrangle an aloe plant bound to a cage. Complete with LED lights and glass where necessary, the latest iteration even features an illustrated danger sign, warning that the plant will soon breach its enclosure.

To follow the latest sculptures in Olijnyk’s science-fiction inspired reality, head to Instagram, where he shares process shots and videos of the robots in action.

 

 

 

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