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Art

Massive Human Faces Loom Over Japanese Cities in Uncanny Balloon Works by Mé

July 27, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Masayume” (2019-2021), Tokyo Tokyo Festival Special 13. Photo by Kaneda Kozo. All images courtesy of Mé, shared with permission

An unlikely sight was spotted hovering over Tokyo earlier this month in a disorienting installation by the Japanese collective 目 (Mé). Titled “Masayume” or “prophetic dream,” the eerie artwork featured a giant human face printed on a balloon, which launched above the city on July 16 as part of the Tokyo Tokyo Festival, an event organized to coincide with the start of the Olympics.

Bizarre and unexpected for most passersby, the single-day piece was derived from a dream Mé artist Kojin Haruka had as a teen. “‘Masayume’ will be carried out suddenly and without prior notice nor a clear reason, just like an image a 14-year-old Japanese girl saw in a dream, momentarily disabling the ordinary,” a statement reads. “The face will be gazing back at us from the sky in the midst of this pandemic. It is as though we are a part of the spectacle.”

“Masayume” is a follow-up to a 2013-2014 project titled “Day with a Man’s Face Floating in the Sky” (shown below) that floated a similar black-and-white balloon over Utsunomiya City, Tochigi. Each of the anonymous figures depicts a real person, and about 1,400 people applied to have their faces loom over Tokyo this round.

Mé’s work is on view at the Towada Art Center in a three-part group exhibition that runs through May 29, 2022. Check out the collective’s Instagram for more of its large-scale projects, including a massive wave sculpture rippling through a museum. (via Spoon & Tamago)

Update: “Masayume” took to the air again on August 13, 2021, as it floated above eastern Tokyo.

 

“Masayume” (2019-2021), Tokyo Tokyo Festival Special 13. Photo by Tsushima Takahiro

“Day with a Man’s Face Floating in the Sky” (2013-2014), Utsunomiya City, Tochigi. Photo by Takao Sasanuma

“Masayume” (2019-2021), Tokyo Tokyo Festival Special 13. Photo by Kaneda Kozo

“Masayume” (2019-2021), Tokyo Tokyo Festival Special 13. Photo by Igarashi Tomoyuki

 

 



Art

Meditative Faces Emerge from the Staggered Wooden Sticks Forming Artist Gil Bruvel's Sculptures

September 17, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Breathe” (2020). All images © Gil Bruvel, shared with permission

Gil Bruvel (previously) has spent 40 years practicing vipassanā meditation, an introspective practice that invites judgment-free observation of the mind. The Australia-born artist infuses the philosophies of this decades-long ritual into his variegated sculptures as he forms a series of faces in deep thought. With eyes and mouths closed, the figures project serenity and calmness, serving as “a reminder of what it looks like to be centered and at peace,” Bruvel says of The Mask Series.

Different in shape and size, the sticks are burned, painted with subtle gradients, and then held in place with wood glue, causing the figures to appear pixelated and as a disparate grouping of squares and rectangles when viewed up close. From a distance, however, “that fragmentation reveals a coherent whole: a face arises from apparent chaos,” Bruvel shares with Colossal. Through their collated forms, the assemblages offer a visual metaphor for the complexity and contradiction that’s inherent to human beings.

Bruvel also draws attention to the backs of the sculptures, which stray from the figurative depictions of the front to focus on the abstract workings of the mind.  “The assemblage of pixel-like stick-ends conveys the hidden realm of emotion, sensation, and thought—our internal universe. The gradients of color represent the flows of feeling and consciousness that pass through our minds like ripples on a lake, leaving the lake unchanged,” he says.

Explore more of Bruvel’s meditative artworks and see some works-in-progress on Instagram and Artsy.

 

“Floating” (2019), burnt wooden sticks and acrylic paint, 24 × 21 inches

“Mask #28” (2020), wood and paint, 16 × 16 × 9 inches

“The Fountain” (2019), wood and paint, 27 × 19 × 23 inches

“The Fountain” (2019), wood and paint, 27 × 19 × 23 inches

“Moonlight” (2019), wood and paint, 22 × 22 × 21 inches

“Moonlight” (2019), wood and paint, 22 × 22 × 21 inches

“Mask #22” (2020), wood and paint, 16 × 16 × 9 inches

“Mask #26” (2020), wood and paint, 16 × 16 × 9 inches

“Breathe” (2020)

 

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Craft

Quirky Characters Anthropomorphize Patterned, Pastel Vases by Ceramicist Sandra Apperloo

September 9, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Sandra Apperloo, shared with permission

Sandra Apperloo infuses her love for pastels and tiny freckles into a playful crew of characters. Shaped to hold a single flower stem, the anthropomorphized vases display a range of emotions and together, form a series humorously named Weirdo Bud Vases. Their lengthy bodies are covered in polka dots, floral motifs, and stripes, and while some stand straight up, others twist around a similarly dressed figure. “I hope my works make people laugh and daydream. I hope they distract from daily businesses, leave warm feelings, and tickle imaginations,” she writes.

Based in the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands, Apperloo works under the moniker The Pottery Parade and creates planters, mugs, bowls, and other vessels through a mix of hand-building and wheel-based techniques. She doesn’t plan each piece in advance, instead favoring a method that involves “finding what feels good at that moment. This is the case for every part of the process: shaping, sculpting, choosing the colors, and painting the patterns. It helps me to stay open-minded and try out new things, which I feel is really important in my work,” she says.

To snag one of her pieces, which includes a forthcoming series of holiday ornaments, follow Apperloo on Instagram, where she often shares announcements about shop updates.

 

 

 



Art Craft

Rosy, Voluptuous Lips and Moody Faces Enliven Ceramic Vessels by Artist Tatiana Cardona

July 2, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Tatiana Cardona, shared with permission

Miami-based artist Tatiana Cardona, who runs the shop Female Alchemy, creates playful vessels featuring pursed lips lined in reds and pinks and minimal faces with moody expressions. “The concept of lips was inspired by the feminist movement in the ’60s-’70s where red lipstick stood as a symbol of protest. The work has since then evolved into a positive and fun way to promote femininity in a sacred and ancient medium such as ceramics,” she writes in a statement.

Cardona tells Colossal she hopes that her work evolves beyond the solitary vessels into “a space where female creativity is encouraged and nurtured.” The artist will release her next collection Summer of Love on Instagram and has some sticker packs available in her shop.

 

 

 



Art Craft

Watercolor Paper Transforms into Suggestive Facial Sculptures by Artist Polly Verity

March 11, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Polly Verity, shared with permission

Polly Verity’s most recent paper sculptures test viewers’ sense of pareidolia. The dexterous artist employs single sheets of watercolor paper for her minimalist projects that morph into solitary faces and kissing figures through a series of bends and twists.

Verity tells Colossal that she’s been crafting repeating geometric patterns for about 15 years, but that it wasn’t until recently that she decided to move beyond crisp folds and clean lines. “When I hit the curved folds that’s when my brain popped. Seemingly impossible things could happen to a sheet of paper,” she writes. “My years of observing and investigating how curve folds behave has given me a feel for bringing the curves into the figurative realm.” The result is a suggestive series of facial profiles sometimes sucking on a straw or smoking a cigarette.

I tried to fold along the profile of a face, and I realized that I could tweak the paper on either side just very slightly and ease curves out to give volume and form. When I tried the same technique in watercolour paper, I suddenly had micro-control over the resulting curved forms and they became soft and sensual. So each face goes on to inform the next and they have become a sort of series.

Keep up with Verity’s paper creations on Instagram and check out which alluring pieces you can add to your own collection in her shop.

 

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Craft

Faces Emerge from Minimalist Ceramics by Fan Yanting to Consider Emotional Depth

February 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Fan Yanting

Just like a recent study reporting that facial expressions are more complex than we think, Fan Yanting wants to delve into the sentiment behind the scowl or smirk on a stranger’s face. The Taiwanese artist shapes small vessels and dinnerware in neutral tones that don a series of emotions, from an unsmiling vase to a set of defensive mugs. Only starting to create ceramics during the last year, Fan hand-sculpts each set of eyes, nose, and mouth without deciding which emotion he’s trying to capture beforehand. “I empty my mind when I’m sculpting the human faces. I might plan the pottery shape and maybe where I’d like to position the face, but I don’t start with specific character designs in mind,” the artist tells Neocha.

Fan’s focus on expressions derives from how he sees human relationships, saying people often respond to those around them by projecting their own understandings of what a facial expression signifies. “Maybe a face will remind someone of an old friend, a family member, or the coffee shop owner down the street. By leading viewers to experience everyday items that have different faces, I hope to explore this phenomenon in my work,” the artist says. To see which emotion pops up next, head to Instagram. (via Lustik)

 

 

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