with installation art
In Lupanar, an installation by French artist Nicolas Tourte, water flows on a never-ending path over the floor, walls, and ceiling of an art gallery. Displayed in a darkened room, the slithering 130-foot route shows a continuous video loop, which includes the rushing sound of the white-capped waves as they surge across the room. A statement about Lupanar on the artist’s website explains that the installation is meant to provoke thoughts about time and its persistent push through our individual and collective human experience.
The piece was originally shown in 2015 as part of the festival Interstice #10 in Caen, France, and was most recently exhibited at Base Sous-Marine, a former submarine base built during World War II, in Bordeaux. You can see more work from Tourte on his website and Instagram. (via Trendland)
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Artist and curator Olivia Erlanger upends fantastical ideas of mermaids with her documentation of mermaid tails emerging from laundromat washing machines. Erlanger, who lives and works in New York City, staged the tails in Laundry Zone in Los Angeles’ Arlington Heights neighborhood. The installation was conceptualized in partnership with Mother Culture, a contemporary art and media platform that happens to be based near the laundromat. “Ida” consists of (presumably) life-size mermaid tails that are covered in scales, with bifurcated fins in shades of yellow and pink.
A Los Angeles Magazine article cites Erlanger’s previous installation with snake tongues as an inspiration for the tails. And the artist explains that her tendency to work in, or create, environments helped lay the groundwork for sharing work in a public space. “Ida” was staged in autumn, 2018 and is currently making waves in a new iteration titled “Pergusa” at the Frieze art fair in New York, which runs through May 5, 2019. Explore more of Erlanger’s work on her website.
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Situated in a clearing within an Italian forest, John Grade’s latest installation, Reservoir, appears like a chandelier glistening among the pine trees. Reservoir is featured in the Arte Sella Sculpture Park in Borgo Valsugana and is made up of five thousand clear droplets each of which is delicately attached to translucent nets, supported by tree trunks.
On designing Reservoir, Grade (previously) studied the Park’s ecosystem, carefully planning the installation in harmony with the surrounding landscape. “I became most interested in the way rain falls through this grove of trees, the canopy delaying the droplet’s journey to the ground as well as how quiet and sheltered the forest was during a heavy rain,” Grade tells Colossal. “I wanted to make a sculpture that responded to the rain directly as well as a sculpture that responded to people.”
Reservoir is constructed from heat-formed plastic parts framed with steam-bent strips of Alaskan yellow cedar. Each droplet is attached to marine nets with fishing line which are then incorporated with stainless steel rings to maintain tensions and support the tree trunks above the structure. The shape of the translucent droplets are formed from casts of human hands cupped together. “We cast ten different people’s hands for variations in scale,” Grade explains.
When rain falls or snow lands the water accumulates within Reservoir’s clear pouches, giving them their droplet-like shape. In doing slow, the installation gets heavier and lowers, while in sunny, warm weather, it rises back into its original structure as the liquid evaporates. “The sculpture rises and falls with precipitation differently each time it rains or snows,” says Grade. Springs below the installation limit the vertical range of movement, so Reservoir always remains 10 feet above the forest floor.
The dry sculpture in its original configuration weighs 70 pounds, but when filled with rainwater, it can exceed 800 pounds. Reservoir serves as a water resource for the surrounding landscape: when the water it holds evaporates, it creates a humid environment for the surrounding vegetation to flourish.
Movement also manipulates the structure of Reservoir, and, as part of the project, Arte Sella connected Grade with Andrea Rampazzo, a dance artist based in Italy. Rampazzo choreographed a performance, where four dancers would interact with the sculpture, making the installation rise and fall depending on their movements. “Each tree has a cable connecting the net to the ground running down its length via pulleys which can either engage the spring limiting its downward trajectory to 12 feet of movement or bypass the spring to a second pulley near the base of the tree at waist height,” Grade explains. “This way the dancers can pull or release any of the nine lines to create varied movement in the sculpture.”
Occurring during one day of festivities, the dance lasted 45 minutes and was performed three times during the day. “The four dancers also had the assistance of four members of my studio team to help work the lines during the performance,” says Grade. Due to more control over Reservoir, the dancers brought the sculpture down to two feet from the ground, so their bodies were fully immersed in the thousands of droplet-like forms. “Because we were lucky to have rainfall, the dancers were able to abruptly jerk the movements and shower themselves with water,” Grade explains. “Now we can watch the sculpture collect and release and move over the seasons and build upon those nuances to create a second installation. Wind may become a significant inspiration the next time.”
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Made in collaboration between light artist Christopher Bauder and musician Kangding Ray, SKALAR is an audio/visual art installation that uses a large built structure and beats to create an immersive live concert. First presented in 2014 inside of the Kraftwerk Berlin industrial venue, the performance enthralls audiences with its pulsing, rhythmic soundtrack and entrancing light show.
Based on a psychoevolutionary theory by American psychologist Robert Plutchik, SKALAR is about human perception and emotion. The physical components of the installation are suspended from the ceiling. When moved up and down into different alignments, the kinetic mirrors interact with the beams of colored light and form floating halos that also bounce alternating hues around the dark room. The more ethereal sections of music are matched with slower moving lights, while quicker beats are paired with rapidly flashing patterns. Because the creators manipulate the variables in real time, no two performances of the piece are exactly alike.
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With the help of a small army of 400 volunteers, French artist JR (previously) pasted thousands of strips of paper around the Louvre in Paris, turning the courtyard around the museum into a massive optical illusion. Installed in honor of the structure’s 30th anniversary, the collage titled “The Secret of the Great Pyramid” provides a glimpse at what may lie beneath the iconic glass pyramid.
A follow-up to his 2016 work that made the museum disappear against the backdrop of the Louvre Palace, JR’s new illusion reveals a construction site with the tip of the pyramid at its center and a much larger structure extending down into a rocky quarry. In a “Photo of the Day” post on his website, the artist explains that the installation was designed to last a single weekend. “The images, like life, are ephemeral,” JR writes. “Once pasted, the art piece lives on its own. The sun dries the light glue and with every step, people tear pieces of the fragile paper. The process is all about participation of volunteers, visitors, and souvenir catchers. This project is also about presence and absence, about reality and memories, about impermanence.”
Some visitors took pieces of the installation home, while other strips torn by foot traffic have been discarded. To see more of JR’s large-scale photo installations, follow the artist on Instagram.
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Slow Lens is the newest piece from French artist Vincent Leroy, who often explores optics and light in his large-scale installation work. The piece is suspended from above, and a network of curved, translucent lenses distorts the viewer’s perspective. Displayed en plein air, the connected lenses slowly rotate and ofter multiplied visions of the surrounding environment. Leroy installed and documented Slow Lens in various locations around Paris, including in highway lanes that were vacant due to pollution-induced city traffic restrictions.
The artist shares with Colossal that he seeks to spark a focus on detail, and inspire contemplation and dreaming, and notes that the work is particularly abstract when viewed at night. You can watch a brief video below that shows Slow Lens in motion. Vincent Leroy is represented by Denise Rene Gallery in Paris. The artist shares more of his work on Instagram. (via Colossal Submissions)
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