A Swedish Art Collective Handcrafts 17,000 Unique Sculptures Signifying Refugee Youth at Risk of Deportation
Seventeen thousand unique sculptures are displayed in a new installation by Swedish artist collective Skaparkollektivet Forma. The group sought to draw attention to the individuality of 17,000 Afghan refugee youth whom the Swedish government plans to deport. The unaccompanied minors came to Sweden in 2015, totaling 23,500 in that year, and were fully integrated into their adoptive communities. However, the government seems to have shifted gears and has reversed its opinions on a majority of the young people.
Working with 1,500 volunteers, Skaparkollektivet Forma created petite sculptural works of art to represent each individual impacted by the planned governmental uprooting. The works are glued to 34 frames in groups of 500, which allows the installation to be easily transported and installed in different configurations.
Since the collective started working on this project, attention has been drawn to the issue, and some of the youth have been allowed to stay, but apparently the majority of the planned deportations are still set to happen. “In the debate on migration, living human beings tend to be transformed into anonymous volumes,” said Skaparkollektivet Forma told dezeen. “But we wanted to understand what this five-figure number actually represented. The installation makes the number 17,000 visible and above all shows that behind every number there is a person,” they explained. “Behind each figure there is a personality, a story, a work of art.”
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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.
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French artist Cyril Lancelin recently designed two inflatable structures for the Made in America Festival in Philadelphia. Constructed out of nylon fabric, the installations feature repeated geometric shapes that expand to form giant pink pyramids.
Guests enter Pyramid Sphere through a tunnel that is intersected by round holes on left and right faces of the pyramid. The windows let in additional light and also allow those inside to peer out to the rest of the world. Pyramid Tube has no clear entrance or exit. Visitors are expected to navigate the spaces between where the tubes meet and where the structure meets the ground.
To create the massive inflatable forms, Lancelin used parametric modeling software. From corner to corner and from base to tip, the fully inflated Pyramid Tube and Pyramid Sphere structures are just shy of 33 and 40 feet, respectively. The artist explains that during the manufacturing process, designs are adjusted to fit the technical data and to account for factors such as air resistance, structure resistance, and budget. 3D software is used to create a flat template, which each piece fitting together like a puzzle.
“When I design an immersive installation, I like the visitor to be totally in the sculpture,” Lancelin told Colossal. “I found that inflatables were a good way to make monumental installations, but also using as [little] material as possible, and being very light for shipping.”
To see more of Cyril Lancelin’s brightly colored inflatables as well as his steel sculptures, follow the artist on Instagram.
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Continuously evolving his style from early surreal comic-like renderings, to subdued portraits, all the way to abstract assemblages, Catalan artist Aryz has built his reputation as a multi-talented muralist. More recently, Aryz has reduced the quantity of new mural projects and has focused his imagery on figurative compositions built from seamlessly integrated elements.
Often leaving the brushwork as visible as possible and mixing vibrant, sometimes clashing colors, he is now fully focused on creating work that aims to translate the unmediated feel of sketching into large-scale murals. “I think, with time, you need to get rid of the technique and at the end go to the basic and go to the essence of the composition of the colors,” Aryz shares with Colossal about his unique manner of building images. “I don’t know if I’m succeeding on that, but that’s my goal at the moment.”
One recent mural, painted earlier this summer in Angers, France, depicts a shirtless man working with a large mallet. The image is constructed from various elements taken at different moments, with loose limbs suggesting energetic action. Sourcing his inspiration from propaganda posters and classical paintings, Aryz is reinventing this imagery with his own style. “I feel comfortable with it, because I like that aesthetic, instead of maybe portraying a contemporary character with jeans and piercings,” the artist explains.
A similar concept was used for a new mural in Berlin, where he conveyed a dynamic scene of wrestlers fighting. “It’s all about painting these humans that are fighting against humans as a reflection of the nowadays society,” Aryz tells Colossal. While having the rough, almost careless aesthetic of pencil drawing on paper, this four stories-tall composition is broken up by the existing window on the building. With fists, legs, and even bones appearing unexpectedly inside the composition, and expressive brushstrokes filling up the surface, the image freezes a moment of great tension.
Aryz is showing his work in several places around France this fall, including in Rouen, France at Temple Saint-Eloi through September 22, 2019, and then through November 24, 2019, in partnership with Hangar 107. In Paris, the artist’s new work is on view starting November 8, 2019. Aryz’s final French stop is at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy, opening 14 Novembre 2019, and closing February 16, 2020. Follow along with Aryz’s whirlwind tour and see more of his fresh work on Instagram.
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Tokyo-based French architect Emmanuelle Moureaux (previously) recently hung 140,000 pieces of paper from the ceiling to create rainbow passageways in celebration of a Japanese soft drink company’s centennial. Each piece of paper is cut in the form of a symbol from the Japanese writing system, hiragana. The colorful installation, titled “Universe of Words,” opened this summer during the Tanabata Festival and was inspired by the tradition of writing wishes on paper and hanging them from bamboo branches.
There are 46 basic hiragana characters. According to a statement about the installation, Moureaux chose the simple language because of its use during Tanabata. “The universe created by these floating hiraganas evokes an emotion through its stillness and its endlessness.” Aligned in three-dimensional grids by color, sections of the installation were removed so that visitors could immerse themselves in the alphabetical tunnels, viewing them up close while also looking around at the seemingly endless rows of symbols.
“Universe of Words” is a part of Emmanuelle Moureaux’s ongoing 100 Colors series. To see more of her artistic and architectural work, follow Moureaux on Instagram.
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French artist Julien Malland, aka Seth Globepainter (previously), has spent the summer exhibiting a large body of work inside and outside of the Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez. Located in Bordeaux, France, the historic chateau was built in the 18th century and now doubles as a cultural center. Malland’s takeover includes dozens of paintings, installations, and sculptures that have transformed the castle into a colorful record of his travels and a look into his mind.
Titled 1,2,3, Soleil, the exhibition features over 50 of the artist’s faceless characters. Each room in the chateau has a theme that represents one of Malland’s previous projects in countries around the world. Vibrant colors and geometrical shapes are complicated by themes of conflict and loneliness. The exhibition includes site-specific installations as well as collaborative pieces made with artists Mono Gonzalez and Pascal Vilcollet.
The walk through Malland’s world will remain on view in France through October 7, 2019. In addition to his solo show, Malland also recently completed two murals in Denmark as part of Kirk Gallery‘s annual Out in the Open mural initiative. To keep up with the artist’s latest projects, follow him on Instagram.
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Elsa Tomkowiak creates color-focused installations that divide the rainbow into designs that span bridges, light-filled corridors, and large-scale sculptures on water. Tomkowiak’s work is currently exhibited as a part of the second edition of Annecy Paysages in southeastern France. For the outdoor exhibition, Tomkowiak arranged six 15-foot spheres along Lake Annecy which visitors can glance at from the Albigny promenade through September 15, 2019. You can see more of her colorful interventions both indoors and out on Instagram.
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