installation art

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Art

120,000 Ribbons Wave Across the Former Footprint of the Berlin Wall in an Installation Marking 30 Years Since the Peaceful Revolution

November 13, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

On November 9, 1989, German officials decided to allow residents of Communist East Germany to cross over and visit the Western, democratic half of the divided country. Though the complex process of physically and ideologically reunifying the country took about a year in total, November 9th is considered a landmark day. To celebrate 30 years since the Berlin Wall began to break down, artist Patrick Shearn (previously) was commissioned to create a large-scale installation that integrated the reflections and hopes of 30,000 people.

Visions in Motion was on view November 4th through 10th in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, a location that had previously been a demarcation of division. A statement from Poetic Kinetics explained, “the artwork’s rectangular shape conjures the form of the wall; but instead of a heavy, impenetrable border, the form takes flight.” The massive installation spanned 20,000 square feet and was comprised of 120,000 fabric streamers, a quarter of which featured hand-written messages that were collected in the months leading up to the display.

Shearn is a resident of Los Angeles, Berlin’s sister city, and is renowned for his large-scale kinetic installations, which he calls “Skynets”. Tying the German installation to its sister city, the Los Angeles-area Wende Museum, which houses Cold War artifacts, invited Los Angelenos to contribute messages to Visions in Motion as well.

Shearn and his team at Poetic Kinetics are prolific creators. You can explore much more of their archive on the Poetic Kinetics website, and follow them on Instagram to keep up with their latest projects around the world.

 

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Art

Poetic Wisdom Appears on a Building in Las Vegas in New Sunlight-Activated Installation by DAKU

October 17, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Photographs: Justkids

As part of last month’s annual Life is Beautiful festival in sunny Las Vegas, anonymous artist DAKU (previously) channeled natural light to activate his literary installation. Placed on the facade of a building that used to house a book store, jutting letters cast shadows to form a poetic quote. The somewhat decontextualized phrase could reflect on time in general, or perhaps life itself. As the sun shifts throughout the day and casts its shifting shadows, the message appears and disappears, with the physical white letters blending into the building. DAKU, who is based in India and travels widely for his work, specializes in these time- and light-activated installations, which he refers to, collectively, as “Time Changes Everything.”

All art programming at Life is Beautiful is curated by global creative house JustKids, who’ve partnered with the festival from its inception seven years ago. Watch a time lapse of the Las Vegas installation below, and keep up with DAKU’s worldwide travels and installations on Instagram.

 

 



Art

An Interactive Installation by Chiharu Shiota Celebrates the Universality of Numbers

October 3, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Photographs courtesy of Muzeum Śląskie

Walking into the gallery space at Muzeum Śląskie that holds Chiharu Shiota’s installation Counting Memories, viewers are immersed in a sea of mismatched, old-fashioned wooden desks and chairs. From each desk, strands of black yarn rise up, tangling together in a dark cloud that consumes the entire upper portion of the high-ceilinged room. And within the cloud of yarn, white numbers are suspended like insects caught in an enormous spider web.

The spacing of the desks provides natural archways for visitors to pass under as they wander through the installation. At each of the nine desks, stacks of paper and pencils are available for viewers to respond to prompts such as “Which number has meaning to you and why?”, “Do numbers tell the truth?”, and  “How many memories do you have?” In a statement on the exhibition, Shiota explains:

Each number defines us individually but also connects us universally. Numbers comfort us, we share dates that are important to us, and they help us understand ourselves. Our history is collected through numbers. In this way, the intertwined string reflects our history, while the numbers, which are scattered sporadically like the stars above Katowitz, represent the most meaningful dates we know.

Shiota (previously) is a Japanese artist who lives and works in Berlin. She is renowned for her large-scale installations that incorporate familiar objects embedded within networks of suspended black, white, or red threads. In addition to Counting Memories, which is on view through April 26, 2020 in Katowice, Poland, Shiota’s solo exhibition The Soul Trembles at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo will be touring Asia until 2021. Follow along with Shiota’s new work and global travels on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 



Art

Gross Domestic Product: Banksy Opens a Dystopian Homewares Store

October 1, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Tony the Frosted Flakes tiger sacrificed as a living room rug, wooden dolls handing their babies off to smugglers in freight truck trailers, and welcome mats stitched from life jackets: rather than offering an aspirational lifestyle, one South London storefront window depicts a capitalist dystopia. Created by Banksy and appearing overnight, Gross Domestic Product is the latest installation to critique global society’s major issues of forced human migration, animal exploitation, and the surveillance state.

The temporary installation, which will be on view for two weeks in the Croydon neighborhood, incorporates multiple window displays for a shop that is not in fact open to passersby. However, some of the items on display are available for purchase in GDP’s associated online store including the welcome mats, which Banksy hired refugees in Greek detainment camps to stitch; all proceeds go back to the refugees. Revenue from sales of the doll sets will also support the purchase of a replacement boat for activist Pia Klemp, whose boat was confiscated by the Italian government. The product line is rounded out with such oddities as disco balls made from riot gear helmets, handbags made of bricks, and signed—and partially used—£10 spray paint cans.

Tying this latest project to his larger body of work, Banksy incorporated familiar motifs. The fireplace and stenciled jacquard wallpaper from his Walled Off Hotel, the stab-proof Union Jack vest he created for Stormzy to wear at the Glastonbury Festival, and the Basquiat-inspired ferris wheel that appeared outside the Barbican all appear in GDP.

In a statement about the project, Banksy explains that the impetus behind Gross Domestic Product is a legal battle between the artist and a greeting card company that is contesting the trademark Banksy holds to his art. Lawyer Mark Stephens, who is advising the artist, explains, “Banksy is in a difficult position because he doesn’t produce his own range of shoddy merchandise and the law is quite clear—if the trademark holder is not using the mark then it can be transferred to someone who will.”

Despite this project’s specific goal of selling work in order to allow Banksy to demonstrate the active use of his trademark, the artist clarifies, “I still encourage anyone to copy, borrow, steal and amend my art for amusement, academic research or activism. I just don’t want them to get sole custody of my name.”

Per usual, Banksy shares updates on Instagram, where he claims recent projects, including GDP, which he just announced an hour ago as of press time.

 

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Amazing Banksy exhibition popped up in Croydon. #Banksy #Croydon

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Art

Enormous Panels of Patchworked Fabric Give Colorful Temporary Makeovers to Public Buildings

September 13, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Textile artist Amanda Browder collaborates with the communities she’s working in to built site-specific architectural interventions. Using hundreds of yards of donated fabric with bright colors and patterns, Browder and her volunteer teams stitch together enormous panels that resemble crazy quilts. The panels wrap around bell towers, sheath elevated walkways, and drape from gables and eaves to give passersby a new experience of familiar buildings. In a statement on her website, Browder describes her work:

A state of betweenness – ‘twixt soft sculpture /’tween orchestrated public object installation with a studio affinity for abstraction and minimalism”. I am in love with the transformative nature of materials, and how the combination of the familiar creates abstract relationships about place. This relational objectivity generates an open-ended narrative, ambiguous situations defined by the choice of materials and work ethic. Central to the psychedelic experience, I am drawn to reinventing Pop-Art colors by exploring shifts in scale and sculptural perceptions.

The Montana-born artist received a B.A. in studio arts as well as two master’s degrees in sculpture and installation art. Browder is now based in Brooklyn and frequently travels to create new work. She was recently awarded an opportunity with the prestigious ArtPrize organization in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The multi-part work, titled Kaleidoscopic, is currently on view at locations around Grand Rapids. Keep up with Browder’s projects on Instagram, and watch the video below for a time-lapse of a previous installation in Las Vegas and an interview with the artist.

Photo: Bryan Esler

Photo: Bryan Esler

 

 



Art

Swirling Vortexes and Ghostly Humans Emerge From Hand-Painted Transparent Sheets by David Spriggs

July 21, 2019

Andrew LaSane

“Gravity” (2018), East Bund-Mingsheng Art Wharf, Shanghai, China, All images via David Spriggs

Vancouver-based artist David Spriggs creates large-scale 3D installations by by layering hand-painted transparencies within custom frameworks. The massive sculptural installations pull viewers in and shift based on perspective, while exploring themes of space-time, movement, surveillance, power dynamics, and other complex conceptual ideas.

For his larger installations, Spriggs tells Colossal that he creates and works from abstract topographical maps that are based on perfect geometric shapes. “I often use the golden ratio to determine placement and shape of a form. Axis of Power for example is based on a perfect golden spiral and the placement of the eye of the storm located at the golden ratio of the installation at 1.618. The artwork Gravity also is based on the golden spiral with all the marks following this spiral in a perfect hemisphere.” Spriggs also builds smaller models and digital maquettes to prepare for certain larger works.

Spriggs’ installations have grown significantly over the past 20 years. “I have always been aware of how scale can influence the viewer,” he shares. “Many of my artworks on the subject of power are large to create a certain power relationship and/or have a perceptual impact with the viewer. Scale has often been used throughout art history to promote and affirm concepts and power…Almost always the concept dictates the size of one of my artworks. A work like ‘Gold’ for example would have quite a different meaning and impact if it was a small piece.”

To see more of his installations, follow David Spriggs on Instagram.

“Gold” (2017), Woodstreet Art Galleries, Pittsburgh and Arsenal Montreal

“Gravity” (detail)

“Gravity” (detail)

“Regisole” (2015), Arsenal Montreal

“Regisole” (detail)

“Axis of Power” (2015) Sharjah Art Museum, United Arab Emirates

“Axis of Power” (detail)

“In Utero II” (2019)

“In Utero II” (detail)

 

 



Art

Textural Installations by Shoplifter Immerse Visitors in Furry Neon Caves

June 7, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Icelandic artist Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir, who goes by Shoplifter, cites her primary medium as hair. But rather than working with the expected range of browns and blondes that naturally grow on humans and animals, Shoplifter uses a range of hair that seems to draw its color palette from Muppets. Neon yellows and pinks, deep blues, and vivid greens commingle in massive installations that coat gallery walls, floors, and ceilings. Shoplifter’s immersive works often create cave-like spaces where visitors explore around, under, and through her textural worlds.

Shoplifter, whose moniker stems from a stranger’s mishearing of her given name, cites themes of vanity, self-image, fashion, beauty and popular myth as inspiration for her work. In an interview with artnet, she shared, “It started out with my fascination with humans and the things we mass produce for obscure reasons. Hair extensions are trying to beautify yourself and be unique. I noticed that layering the hair together and having it flow around created a very painterly tapestry feeling.”

Shoplifter exhibits widely and most recently showcased her work as Iceland’s representative to the  the Venice Biennale. Her solo show Nervescape VIII is also on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma in Helsinki, Finland through September 15, 2019. Explore more of Shoplifter’s work on Instagram.