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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A Massive Wooden Wave Surges From a Gallery Floor in an Installation by Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen B. Nguyen
In a gallery at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA) this spring, an all-encompassing wave of wood surrounded visitors as they walk across gangplanks that bisect the space. The installation, Hubris Atë Nemesis, was by Maine-based artist duo Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen B. Nguyen. Kavanaugh and Nguyen have been collaborating since 2005 and working exclusively with paper. “One of the foundations of our collaborative art practice is the act of shared seeing, the artists shared. “We find common ground by actively investigating our own visual reference points, memories and assumptions.”
For this installation, the artists pushed their practice to include new media and techniques: Hubris Atë Nemesis is their first piece in wood, and the first in which the pathway through the piece is an actual part of the installation. The artists explained in a statement that the title and concept of the work is derived from a three-part narrative arc common in Greek tragic plays:
Hubris, characterized as an arrogant confidence, transforms to Atë, a ruinous folly or madness, then ultimately to Nemesis, a force of retribution that resets the natural order. Like many paintings of the Maine coast, we hope this work captures a moment of suspense in a dynamic system—a snapshot with an uncertain future—and that it appears to be unwritten what the restored natural order should or might become.
Hubris Atë Nemesis was created with the support of the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation: Kavanaugh and Nguyen were selected from a blind jury of over two hundred applicants. The installation was on view through June 16, 2019 at the CMCA. If you did not get a chance to experience the work in person, an impressive 360° virtual tour by Dave Clough is available. You can explore more of Kavanaugh and Nguyen’s archive of monochromatic installations, like White Stag and The Experience of Green, on the duo’s website.
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Berlin-based artist Klára Hosnedlová builds installations that evoke the feeling of romanticized dressing rooms. Her recent exhibition titled Seated Woman (pictured here) was inspired by the stage design of the bedroom scene in the 1924 Karel Hugo Hilar production of Romeo and Juliet at the National Theater in Prague. Instead of a bed, Hosnedlová has installed a sculptural changing area with wispy, transparent curtains. This gesture merges what happens backstage with the theatrical design of a play, inviting the audience to imagine the intimate and unseen moments that happen just off stage.
Her textured, baby pink walls also act as armatures for detailed embroideries of women in different stages of dress. Heavily layered, long stitches form rich portraits of semi-anonymous figures. Each is thickly bordered with a frame that appears like endlessly looping braids, imitating the idea of getting ready or preparing for a night onstage. You can view more of Hosnedlová installations and embroideries on her Instagram.
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Chicago-based art duo Luftwerk recently opened a site-specific exhibition titled Parallel Perspectives inside of the McCormick House, the Elmhurst Art Museum’s contemporary art center and historic house designed by Mies van der Rohe. Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero installed acrylic panels, RGB LEDs, and diffusers that interact with the light in the space to create a kaleidoscope of colors and geometric shapes that respond to Mies’ architecture.
The McCormick House was designed with modularity in mind so that duplicates of the structure could be built in other locations. The plate glass walls are where prospective owners could flex their individuality by taking advantage of various color tint options. Luftwerk began the design process by moving the tinted surface idea to the interior. The conceptual pieces fill the space with blues, yellows, reds, greens, and other layered hues, which change as the light and color alter perspective.
“Parallel Perspectives is a step in our own direction using his basic philosophies,” Luftwerk said in a statement. “This exhibition combines ideas of Johannes Itten’s color theory and the basic concepts of the Bauhaus: with the geometry of a square as a prevalent form and playing with one-point perspective and 90-degree angles. It has given us an opportunity to elaborate on the ideas of Mies and develop them into our own shape and format.”
Parallel Perspectives is on view at the McCormick House now through August 25, 2019. To see more of Luftwerk’s continued exploration of light and color, follow the duo on Instagram.
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Editor's Picks: Street Art
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