Artist Tadao Cern often considers dualities and contradictions—lightness and heaviness, minimal and intricate, inanimate and lively. He channels these relational tensions into “BB,” installations featuring black balloons that float in parallel planes and incline in rows. “These boundaries are a result of our own mental rule-making, and at the end, we surround ourselves with many limitations,” the artist shared with Colossal. “(The) notion of contradictions is nothing more but a man-made concept…A feeling of nothingness and absence of all the ideas became the objective for me.”
Based in Lithuania, Cern has brought the ephemeral project to Tokyo, Beijing, New York, Paris, Venice, and Cologne in recent years. At each site, the artist revives and replaces the balloons as they lose helium and shrink. Each time, he’s reminded of the same concept that he explains on Behance:
They represent nothing, a true emptiness. Which is felt every single time looking at the cloud of these black floating objects, eagerly waiting to be forced to react to our presence…react with no message, no notion. It’s just a dialog between us and them; here and now. Which will develop into a reminiscence of an idea once balloons will deflate and the work will become nonexistent again.
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Polish-German artist Karina Smigla-Bobinski gives buoyancy to the act of drawing with ADA, a large inflatable drawing tool. Filled with helium, ADA floats freely, making lines with its charcoal spikes as it moves through a room. More dramatic mark-making starts to occur when humans are added to the mix: the video above shows visitors engaging with ADA at Muffathalle where it was installed for a week in Munich, Germany.
The artist describes ADA in a statement: “The globe put in action fabricates a composition of lines and points, which remain incalculable in their intensity, expression, and form however hard the visitor tries to control ADA, to drive her, to domesticate her. Whatever he tries out, he would notice very soon, that ADA is an independent performer, studding the originally white walls with drawings and signs.”
Smigla-Bobinski categorizes ADA as biotechnology and pays homage to past creatives that have designed computer-like works, which give unpredictable outputs once given a command. She mentions Ada Lovelace, Jean Tinguely, and Vannevar Bush as influences.
The artist studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow and Munich. Her work, which ranges from kinetic sculptures to multimedia theater performances, has been shown in forty five countries. ADA made its debut at the Electronic Language Int. Festival in São Paulo, in 2011, and has since traveled the world. You can see more from Smigla-Bobinski on her website and YouTube channel.
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Cyclique was an aerial light and sound installation created by audiovisual artist Nohista and Collectif Coin for Nuit Blanche 2013 (previously). The array of 256 large white balloons was embedded with LEDs that blinked in sequence with various audio tracks and was further enhanced by the impact of wind which altered the layout and motion of the piece.
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