found objects

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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.

 

 



Art

Two Hundred and Seventy Plastic Bags Rhythmically Inflate in a New Installation by Nils Völker

November 9, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Two hundred and seventy white garbage bags hang like ghosts in the columned hall of Vienna, Austria’s Museum für agewandte Kunst (MAK) for the exhibition Sagmeister & Walsh: Beauty. The piece is by Nils Völker (previously), and is titled after the number of bags present in the installation. Over 1000 precisely installed fans and 45 circuit boards keep their movement on track, helping to rhythmically inflate and deflate the hanging plastic objects. The repetitive crinkling fills the vast hall, creating an audio texture akin to the rustling of tissue paper or the sound of the tide on a sandy beach.

The concave installation is divided into nine segments that each contain two columns of plastic bags. While viewing the piece from the front you can only make out the white mass of plastic. Viewing it from the side or rear however, reveals the massive amount of cables and circuitry needed to make what appears to be such an effortless piece of art function. Two Hundred and Seventy is on view at MAK in Vienna through March 2019.

 

 



Art Craft

Memories of Youth Interwoven With Thousands of Minuscule Glass Beads

October 12, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

“Bedside Table” (2011)

Artist David Chatt explores his past, family, and memories in all-white works created using found objects and minuscule white beads. Whereas earlier work was more purely decorative, like his colorful Breakfast Set (2004), over the last several years Chatt has simplified his color palette and plumbed the emotional depths of his life for more emotionally-engaged work.

In pieces created over the past several years, Chatt has drawn specifically from his personal and family history, selecting meaningful objects like a boombox from the early 1980s, the contents of his late parents’ nightstand, and the tools his mother used to create innumerable meals. Using glass beads and thread, the artist carefully covers each object, and he describes the act of covering as a means of both sealing off and protecting his memories. He shares with Colossal, “This process has the power to transform an object that, might as easily be relegated to land fill, into something precious and a record of a time, place or experience, something that encourages my audience to reflect on their own experiences and complete the story that I have begun.”

Chatt studied design at Western Washington University, Bellingham, in the late 1980s, where he recalls that a 6-foot-five male pursuing beadwork was not warmly embraced. Over the years, he has continued to refine his beadwork through post-secondary study. You can see work from Chatt in a group exhibition at Denmark’s Glasmuseet Ebeltoft in 2019, and in “A New State of Matter: Contemporary Glass” at Boise Art Museum in Idaho from November 3, 2018 to February 3, 2019, a group show which includes work from Steffan Dam (previously) and Amber Cowan (previously). (thnx, Diana!)

Detail, “Bedside Table” (2011)

Detail, “Bedside Table” (2011)

Detail, “Bedside Table” (2011)

Detail, “Bedside Table” (2011)

“If She Knew You Were Coming…” (2015)

Detail, “If She Knew You Were Coming…” (2015)

Detail, “If She Knew You Were Coming…” (2015)

“1982” (2015)