In ‘Uprooted’ by Doris Salcedo, a House Made from Hundreds of Trees Morphs into an Impenetrable Thicket
We use the phrase “to put down roots” to express a desire to make a place our own, whether purchasing a house or deciding to live in one location for many years. A sense of community, family, being surrounded by one’s belongings, and feeling safe and secure all help to form the idea of home, which evokes myriad emotions and associations—especially if any of those fundamentals are missing. In Colombian artist Doris Salcedo’s monumental installation titled “Uprooted” at the Sharjah Biennial 15, the concept remains nebulous.
Salcedo is known for sculptures and installations that incorporate quotidian, domestic objects like tables or garments. Her practice often takes historical events as a starting point, focusing on the effects of major political actions on people’s everyday mental and emotional experiences. “Conveying burdens and conflicts with precise and economical means,” she once cataclysmically cracked the floor of Turbine Hall in London’s Tate Modern and lowered more than 1,500 chairs between two buildings in Istanbul to address displacement caused by war. In “Uprooted,” the theme of migration continues in the form of hundreds of dead trees that have been shaped into the recognizable silhouette of a house, its meticulously constructed walls and pitched roof gradually morphing into a thicket.
Salcedo contemplates transformation and loss that can be interpreted in many ways, especially in the context of Russia’s ongoing assault on Ukraine and the devastating earthquakes in Syria and Turkey that have displaced millions of people. By utilizing trees that are colorless and lifeless, she also references a rupture between humans and nature, examining how our connection to the environment is dissolving.
Visitors can walk around the installation, but the impenetrable tangles of the wood prevent them from going inside. Gnarled roots protrude from all sides, densely clustered trees obscure the entrance, and in place of an inviting front door is a forebodingly dark and impassable juncture between the domestic structure and the wilderness.
“Uprooted” is on view in Sharjah Biennial 15: Thinking Historically in the Present at the recently converted Kalba Ice Factory in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, through June 11.
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Shaped Like a Mushroom Cap, This Sustainable Pendant Lamp Is Grown from Fungi
Fungi isn’t usually something we welcome indoors, but Estonian studio Myceen sees home decoration a bit differently. Focusing on furniture and interior design products, the team has found an enlightening application for mycelium, the fibrous root-like system produced by fungus that spreads below the Earth’s surface and gathers nutrients. “B-Wise” is a sustainably-grown pendant lamp (you read that right!) that combines one of nature’s most resilient materials with recycled byproducts into a light fixture that looks like it was just plucked from the soil.
The production of each piece begins with combining organic waste materials like sawdust and straw into a mold along with the mycelium, giving the organism five weeks’ worth of food to promote expansion. After that, the lampshade is removed from the mold and dehydrated to prevent any further growth.
You can see more work from Myceen on its website and on Instagram. (via Yanko Design)
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Ethereal Oil Paintings by Ekaterina Popova Glimpse the Warm, Intimate Interiors of Home
Within the confines of a canvas, Russian artist Ekaterina Popova nurtures the calm, familiar atmosphere of home. Her dreamlike interiors are comprised of blurred edges and thick brushstrokes in oil that cast a subtle haze over each scene, and Popova’s warm, impressionistic style lends itself to the lived-in feeling of her paintings: a quilt hangs off the edge of a mattress, a book rests in the window as if it was just set down by its reader, and the lunch remnants remain on a dressed table.
Often depicting her own bedroom and friends’ spaces, Popova focuses on an array of textures like slatted wood flooring, fur blankets, floral bedding, and lush foliage, and the natural light or soft glow of a lamp that illuminates the scenes bolsters their sense of comfort and intimacy. She explains:
For the past few years, I have been exploring interiors in my work. The interest started as a way for me to reflect on my upbringing in Russia, but eventually progressed to exploring the overall idea of “home” and what it means me now… My paintings include messy rooms, intimate items, and objects that refer to human presence without including the figure.
Currently based in Philadelphia, Popova has paintings on view from January 6 to 29 at Cohle Gallery in Paris. Dive into more of her work on her site and Instagram.
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Art Food Illustration
An Annual Exhibition Features Over 1,000 Illustrated Coasters at Nucleus Portland
Each year Nucleus Portland tasks hundreds of artists with creating original works on a miniature canvas usually reserved for dewy beverages. Salut! harnesses the friendly camaraderie associated with the word and gathers more than 1,000 coasters illustrated in an expansive variety of styles, including minimal color-blocked toucans, trippy starscapes, and dreamy, candid portraits. See some of Colossal’s favorite 4×4-inch pieces below, and browse the entire exhibition and available works, which are up online and in-person through July 5, on Nucelus’s site.
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A Photographer Captures the Bizarre and Idiosyncratic Collections Displayed in Belgian Windows
When photographer Jean-Luc Feixa moved from Toulouse to Brussels, he began noticing the cultural, linguistic, and architectural differences between the two cities. “It may seem anecdotal,” he tells Colossal, “but the windows here are much larger than in France and easily disclose the house interiors.”
On his commute, Feixa often would pass the glass openings displaying robust collections, family mementos, and items for sale. “One day, I came across a group of children who seemed to be fascinated by a LEGO construction. It was quite captivating to see them commenting on this installation for many minutes. That was the trigger,” he says.
In the seven years since his relocation, Feixa has captured dozens of windows around the Belgian city, which he recently compiled in a book titled, Strange Things Behind Belgian Windows. Each provides not only a glimpse into the residents’ lives but also the objects they both intentionally and accidentally display. From a panda bear collection to a taxidermied fox to the finish line of a bike race, the objects encompass the cutesy and the odd and are always idiosyncratic. One display in particular—the homage to Elvis Presley (shown below)—has been exemplary of Feixa’s intention.
I talked for a long time with the couple. They are absolute fans of the King, and they were very moving. They decided to share their passion from behind their window. They really represent what I tried to convey with my series, that windows can be a perfect showcase to communicate a passion, send a message, reveal a part of oneself.
Since Belgians have begun quarantine, the photographer says windows have been transformed into a more intentional form of communication. “Whether to sell masks, encouraging people to stay home, or congratulating the medical staff, I see a lot of objects appearing, and it’s great to be able to continue the project,” he says. Feixa is hoping to chronicle this unusual period in a second volume.
To see the full collection of photographs, grab a copy of the photographer’s book, and keep up with his work on Instagram. (via Design You Trust)
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Hundreds of Womxn Are Photographing How They Cope During Quarantine
Since being quarantined inside her home in Buenos Aires, Lucía Morón has struggled with insomnia. “I have not been sleeping well and there are even days when I cannot seem to find the energy to get out of bed,” she says. As a way to manage her difficult moments, Morón has been documenting her uneasiness. “Photographing helps me to externalize and exorcise my inner fears, nightmares, and anxieties,” she says. “It has become a way of escape in which to express myself during (these) hard and lonely times.”
Morón’s joined more than 400 other womxn with similar practices on a collaborative project that’s helping to capture the mundane, monotonous, and worrisome moments in their lives. Organized by photographers Charlotte Schmitz and Hannah Yoon, The Journal is an extension of Women Photograph, which is an initiative led by Daniella Zalcman to elevate visual journalists who identify as non-binary or women.
While many photographs during the last few weeks have focused on hospitals, essential supplies, and frontline workers, The Journal retreats from the traumatic coverage in favor of intimacy. “Our collective photo project brings nuance to the way the current pandemic is being covered as we turn the camera on ourselves, our families, and the private space,” organizers said. It encompasses work from womxn in more than 80 countries and ensures that marginalized voices have a platform as freelance and media budgets are slashed globally.
Morón’s image (shown below) is black and white and depicts a single arm and leg at the left edge of the frame. It corresponds to her feelings of being “‘submerged’ in bed. As if I was trapped or being ‘eaten’ by my own bed,” she says. The puffy sheets resemble a dreamy, floating cloud, linking the image more directly to her insomnia.
While Morón has pivoted inward as a way to cope with her private emotions and feelings, though, other participants describe an experience that centers on their subject matter. For photojournalist Nyimas Laula, turning the camera to herself poses many difficulties because she typically focuses on others’ stories, not her own.
As a photojournalist, the biggest part of my job is listening to people that I’ll be photographing. My work has always been speaking about others, whether it’s addressing issues that I deeply care about or extension of voices from people that yet to be heard. In this isolation, I’m pushed to point the camera to myself, no one to ask, no one to speak to, other than myself. I constrain myself to this voluntary isolation out of responsibility to help contain the spread of the virus. I find myself deeply disoriented by that.
Now confined to her home in Indonesia, Laula has been capturing her surroundings and otherwise private life. She talks about an inner impulse she feels guiding her. “I’ve been photographing things around me, out of intuition, without any particular reason or stories. As if I’m trying to describe the complexity of feelings that I experience during isolation,” she says. “This time, I’m listening to myself, rediscovering myself. It might tell something about myself that I didn’t know before.”
Each week, The Journal’s curators announce a theme like nature, connection, or self-portrait that 8-10 participants from different countries work on together. Some shoot the images, while others provide creative guidance or edit. “As these relationships form, we can see important visual stories emerging, bringing representation to women and their stories from all over the world,” organizers said. Photographers are separated into intentionally diverse groups to ensure a variety of perspectives.
As the project continues, Morón hopes to direct conversations around the ongoing pandemic to new spaces. “We can find a certain relief from this difficult situation by changing its images. It’s like a trap. I think that many people will feel identified with our stories of quarantine,” she writes.
To see the growing collection of global dispatches, follow The Journal on Instagram.
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Editor's Picks: Animation
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