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Art

Massive Cardboard Installations by Isabel and Alfredo Aquizilan Investigate Migration and Community

May 15, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan work as a husband and wife team primarily in the medium of cardboard. Their soaring installations fill gallery spaces, reaching from floor to ceiling and wall to wall. The duo’s massive sculptural works are comprised of miniature homes that have been piled and stacked, creating dizzying towers of comingled landscapes. For many of their installations the artists work with students and community members to collaboratively build the cardboard structures, inviting participants to reflect on and channel their own migratory experiences. The Aquilizans moved from the Philippines to Australia in 2006, and much of their work centers around the migrant experience, and having a foot in two worlds.

A statement from NuNu Fine Art gallery in Taiwan explains, “the Aquilizans negotiate identity vis-à-vis tracing points of mobilities… Identifying with departures as a poignant tribute to all, like themselves, who have managed to make homes out of strange lands, keeping memories of the passage as the foundation of new dwellings.”

See one of the Aquilizan’s installations through May 19, 2019 in Melbourne, as part of Bruised: Art Action and Ecology in Asia at RMIT Gallery. You can get to know the artists in a 2018 interview with HAINAMANA, and explore more of their mixed media collaborative projects on Artsy.

Photo: Yoko Choy

 

 



Art Craft

New Small-Scale Scenes Created in Colored Lace by Ágnes Herczeg

May 2, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Peaceful scenes of of domestic chores and bucolic landscapes take shape in the needle and lace work of Ágnes Herczeg. The Hungarian artist (previously) uses blue, green, orange, and brown threads to form fruit trees and figures, which are attached to small twigs and branches. Herczeg balances narrative elements with decorative motifs to create each moment in time. The artist’s compositional finesse is even more impressive at the scale she works at: Herczeg’s pieces are just a few inches tall, ranging from 2.3 inches (6cm) to 7 inches (18cm) on her more vertically-oriented works. You can see more of her delicate artwork on Instagram, and see pieces that are available for purchase on Herczeg’s website.

 

 



Art

Conceptual Typewriter Sculptures by Glenda León Replace Keys With Dripping Candles and Acrylic Nails

May 2, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Artist Glenda León affixes objects such as matchsticks, melted candles, and acrylic nails to typewriters she sources from antique dealers in Havana, Cuba. Each item replaces the machine’s rubber stamps or keys, and is presented with a different meaning, such as her piece The Insatiable Writer which contains a variety of collected teeth. “The pieces of human teeth establish an analogy between the act of speaking, chewing, consuming and writing,” León explains in an artist statement about the piece. “In the absence of something to swallow, or imagining only a blank sheet as possible food, writing becomes then a devourer of voids, blank sheets.”

The Cuban artist currently splits her time between Havana and Madrid. Her work is currently included in the group exhibition Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago at the Portland Museum of Art through May 5, 2019 and Never Real / Always True at the Azkuna Zentroa in Bilbao, Spain through September 22, 2019. You can see more of León’s interventions, like her cubed piano key sculpture, on her website and Instagram.

 

 



Photography

Quotidian Objects Enrich Striking Black and White Self-Portraits in a New Monograph by Zanele Muholi

April 29, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

"Bester I, Mayotte" (2015), © Zanele Muholi, courtesy of Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town/Johannesburg, and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, all images from Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness (Aperture, 2018)

“Bester I, Mayotte” (2015), © Zanele Muholi, courtesy of Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town/Johannesburg, and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, all images from Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness (Aperture, 2018)

South African photographer and activist Zanele Muholi creates striking self-portraits for their series Somnyama Ngonyama, which means “Hail the Dark Lioness” in Zulu. The black and white images elevate everyday objects like clothespins, sunglasses, and wire sponges into elaborate hair pieces and costumes that speak to radical identity and resistance. The extensive series of portraits has recently been compiled into a monograph by Aperture, which contains a conversation with London-based curator Renée Mussai, in addition to more than twenty contributions from writers, curators, and poets.

Ninety powerful representations of the visual activist occupy the pages of Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness, which acts as both an autobiographical work and a compendium of resistance. In response to the book’s release Muholi states, “I am producing this photographic document to encourage individuals in my community to be brave enough to occupy spaces—brave enough to create without fear of being vilified. . . . To teach people about our history, to rethink what history is all about, to reclaim it for ourselves—to encourage people to use artistic tools such as cameras as weapons to fight back.”

Muholi has documented black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people throughout South Africa for the past decade. They are the cofounder of the Forum for the Empowerment of Women and founder of Inkanyiso, a forum for queer and visual media. Muholi currently lives and makes work in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is an honorary professor at the University of the Arts Bremen, Germany. You can see more of their portraits on Yancy Richardson Gallery’s website.

"Ntozakhe II, Parktown, Johannesburg" (2016), © Zanele Muholi, courtesy of Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town/Johannesburg, and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York

“Ntozakhe II, Parktown, Johannesburg” (2016), © Zanele Muholi, courtesy of Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town/Johannesburg, and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York

"Senzekile II, Cincinnati" (2016), © Zanele Muholi, courtesy of Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town/Johannesburg, and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York

“Senzekile II, Cincinnati” (2016), © Zanele Muholi, courtesy of Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town/Johannesburg, and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York

"Kodwa I, Amsterdam" (2017), © Zanele Muholi, courtesy of Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town/Johannesburg, and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York

“Kodwa I, Amsterdam” (2017), © Zanele Muholi, courtesy of Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town/Johannesburg, and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York

" Basizeni I, Amsterdam" (2016), © Zanele Muholi, commissioned by and courtesy of Autograph ABP, London

” Basizeni I, Amsterdam” (2016), © Zanele Muholi, commissioned by and courtesy of Autograph ABP, London

"Zithulele, Worcester, South Africa" (2016), © Zanele Muholi, courtesy of Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town/Johannesburg, and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York

“Zithulele, Worcester, South Africa” (2016), © Zanele Muholi, courtesy of Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town/Johannesburg, and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York

“Faniswa, Seapoint, Cape Town” )2016); © Zanele Muholi, courtesy of Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town/Johannesburg, and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York

 

 



Art Craft

Forgotten Household Objects Cloaked in Needlepoint by Ulla Stina-Wikander

April 16, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Sweden-based artist Ulla Stina-Wikander (previously) continues her signature needlepoint interventions on domestic objects. Items traditionally associated with women’s housekeeping, like electric mixers and sewing machines along with hammers, wrenches, and axes, are cloaked in tightly fitting decorative designs. Stina-Wikander sources the needlepoint samples from flea markets and vintage stores, and is attracted to their connection with the now-anonymous people who made them. “These embroideries have been made by women and are often seen as kitsch and regarded as pretty worthless,” she states on her website. In using them in her interventions, the artist gives the abandoned textile works a new life. Explore more of Stina-Wikander’s work on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Illustration

Flower Petals and Stems Transform into Animals and Insects in Inventive New Arrangements by Raku Inoue

January 23, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Raku Inoue (previously) goes all-white in his latest flower petal compositions. The Montreal-based creative uses flower petals, stems, and leaves to form creatures ranging from owls and tigers to beetles and butterflies in his ongoing Natura series. Inoue takes advantage of the natural curvatures and shapes of his source materials to create lively interpretations of animals. In Inoue’s owl, densely-petaled mums form the bird’s fluffy belly, while the angular outlines of alstroemeria create the exoskeleton and horns of a beetle. By using largely intact plants, the artist heightens the aliveness of his creations, bridging both flora and fauna. You can see more of his work on Instagram and Behance.

 

 



Art

Rusted Gears and Tools Combine to Create Figural Sculptures That Address Human Emotions

November 28, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Sculptor Penny Hardy combines discarded metal items to create three-dimensional figures based on her body’s own dimensions. Although the physique has the same core reference, each sculpture is a unique creation based on the varied assortment of rusted gears, bolts, and screws used in its composition. In display, the works are either presented alone or in pairs of two, and express fundamental emotions through their relationship to the environment or each other.

“Through using my body frame as a canvas I wish to communicate some of these effects through the medium of sculpture,” she tells Colossal. “By using discarded man-made metal items, which have been so skillfully made and used to create their own mechanical energy, I hope to extend their life in another form, re-use that energy for a different purpose, and exchange their function to create a new entity.” You can see more of Hardy’s sculptures based on her own form on her website.