installation

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Art

Textural Sculptures by Artist Jessica Drenk Use Junk Mail, Book Pages, and Q-Tips to Explore Materiality

October 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Dendrite” (2019), Q-tips and plaster. All images © Jessica Drenk, courtesy of Galleri Urbane, shared with permission

Montana-born artist Jessica Drenk (previously) employs simple materials, like shopping flyers and standard No. 2 pencils, to create organic sculptures that are chaotic and arresting explorations of the substances themselves. Bundled Q-tips spread across a site-specific installation like the roots of a tree, a carved section of plywood reveals concentric patterns, and strips of junk mail are plastered together in long waves.

While Drenk’s latest series, titled Transmutations, is diverse and ranges from wall pieces to cavernous sculptures, each artwork explores materiality and how disparate shapes and textures combine to create forms that are new both physically and conceptually. The artist explains in a statement:

In treating everyday objects as raw material to sculpt, I practice a form of conceptual alchemy: through physically manipulating these objects their meanings become transmuted. Each piece is a direct response to material—a subversion of the meanings associated with it, and a reference to the life cycle of objects through time.

If you’re in Dallas, Transmutations is on view at Galleri Urbane through October 31. Otherwise, follow Drenk’s textural works on Artsy, and watch an interview with the artist at her studio below.

 

“Contour 3” (2020), carved plywood, 47 x 38 x 3 inches

“Implement 68” (2020), pencils, 22 x 18 x 17 inches

“Cerebral Mapping” (2020), books and wax, 132 x 80 inches

“Compression 3” (2020), books, wax on wood panel, and wood frame, 44 x 38 x 2 inches

“Dendrite” (2019), Q-tips and plaster

Top: “Aggregate 3” (2020), junk mail, 28 x 130 x 2.25 inches. Bottom: “Aggregate 2” (2020), junk mail and plaster, 20 x 78 x 2.5 inches

Left: “Circulation 18” (2020), books and wax, 31 x 29 x 1.5 inches. Right: “Circulation 19” (2020), junk mail and cardboard, 36 x 36 x 1.5 inches

 

 



Art

Overflowing with Flora and Fauna, Collaged Paper Installations Comment on Earth's Dwindling Biodiversity

October 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Intimate Immensity” (2016). Photograph by Trevor Good. All images © Clare Börsch, shared with permission

Sprawling across paint-chipped walls and tiny alcoves, the collaged installations of artist Clare Börsch mimic overgrown jungles and whimsical forest scenes. Layers of flora, fauna, and the occasional gemstone or human figure comprise the amorphous paper artworks as they transform spaces into fantastical ecosystems.

In a note to Colossal, Börsch shares that she began her artistic practice as a way to translate her dreams, which are often lucid and informed by memories and a strong tie to nature, into physical objects that others could immerse themselves in. “Growing up in Brazil, I had the ocean, rivers, and jungles that always existed in stark contrast to the industrial cities (I lived in Sao Paulo). So my earliest and most formative memories are of lush, humming tropical ecosystems —and the encroaching industrial landscapes of Brazil’s cities,” she says.

The Berlin-based American artist sources her many of the vintage photographs from open source archives, including the Biodiversity Heritage Library (previously), Pixabay, and Unsplash. Some of the botanical elements she draws or photographs herself before cutting around the organic elements and assembling them in new, sometimes bizarre, compositions.

 

Jungle installation commissioned by Book A Street Artist Berlin for Riem Arcaden in Munich. Photograph by the artist

Despite the vibrancy and lively qualities of the three-dimensional collages, Börsch uses her artworks to reflect on the ongoing climate crisis and destruction of biodiversity, commentary that’s laced with themes of decay and death. She explains:

This came into focus for me when I made a series of collages and then later realized that many of the species in the vintage illustrations had already gone extinct. Humanity has wiped out 68% of all our planet’s biodiversity since 1970, so working with vintage illustrations can be very heartbreaking as much of the diversity in these gorgeous old naturalist prints has been wiped out by human activity.

Since then, Börsch has been collaborating with scientist Louisa Durkin, of the Nordic Academy of Biodiversity and Systematics Studies, to identify ways the artworks can spark awareness and dialogue about environmental issues. “I often say that I do not want my art to be a funerary dirge for everything we could have saved,” she says.

In recent months, Börsch has been working on a commissioned series that will culminate in a forthcoming book, titled Why Do Tigers Have Whiskers? And Other Cool Things About Animals, which is scheduled for release by Thames & Hudson in May 2021. Follow the artist on Instagram to see her latest projects, including an immersive installation commenting on regenerative approaches to tackling problems of biodiversity, which she plans to unveil in early November. (thnx, Elsie!)

 

“Intimate Immensity” (2016)

“Intimate Immensity” (2016)

Jungle installation commissioned by Book A Street Artist Berlin for Riem Arcaden in Munich

Photograph by Kolja Raschke

“Intimate Immensity” (2016). Photograph by Trevor Good

Photograph by Kolja Raschke

Photograph by Kolja Raschke

 

 



Art

Lustrous Strips of Glass Bisect Debris, Bricks, and Semi-Precious Stones in Ramon Todo's Sculptures

October 16, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Debris” (2016), debris and layered glass. All images courtesy of Art Front Gallery, © Keiso Kioku, shared with permission

Between gnarly chunks of concrete, basalt pillars, and smooth rounds of lapis lazuli, Ramon Todo (previously) positions sleek segments of layered glass. The Tokyo-born artist splices fragments of found objects that otherwise would be regarded as refuse, like a crumbling brick from Iizuka City or coal waste, to repurpose the existing material with a lustrous embellishment.

Whether volcanic rock or chunks of demolished architecture, the resulting juxtapositions carry the original history, although they’re presented anew. “The characteristics of the place. The uniqueness of the place. Like the memories of the place and time,” the artist says in an interview about a recent solo show at Art Front Gallery in Tokyo. “I use the rocks, debris, Bota (stone similar to coal) for my works believing they have such memories inside. I used the glasses as material in the middle to peek into the time and the history of inside the rocks.”

Find more of Todo’s textured sculptures on Artsy, and see where his work is headed next on Art Front’s site.

 

(2015), basalt and glass

(2015), basalt and glass

“Debris 267703” (2016), debris and glass, 23 4/5 × 7 7/10 × 5 3/5 inches

Top: “Debris – 267411” (2014), debris and glass, 8 1/10 × 23 3/5 × 7 1/10 inches. Left: “o.T-GS” (2018) stone and layered glass, 11 × 16 1/2 × 8 3/10 inches. Right: “o.T. -dtk267801″ (2016), stone from Datekan and glass, 7 1/5 × 7 1/5 × 7 inches

(2015), basalt and glass

“Afghanistan” (2017), Lapis lazuli and glass, 7/10 × 2 1/2 × 1 3/5 inches

“Chikuho Coal waste #15” (2020), coal waste from Chikuho and glass, 12 3/5 × 12 1/10 × 5 3/5 inches

“Chikuho Red Brick” (2020), brick pieces collected from Iizuka City and glass, 7 1/5 × 4 2/5 × 2 2/5 inches

 

 



Art

Two Fabric Homes by Artist Do Ho Suh Float Above an Atrium in Incheon International Airport

October 13, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Home within Home” (2019), polyester fabric, stainless steel, 292.91 x 325.59 x 316.93 inches. Images © Do Ho Suh, courtesy of Lehmann Maupin, shared with permission

Living and working in London, Korean artist Do Ho Suh (previously) is concerned with “home, physical space, displacement, memory, individuality, and collectivity,” ideas he evokes in his life-sized fabric sculptures and installations. His 2019 piece “Home within Home,” which is suspended from an atrium in Incheon International Airport in Seoul, positions two structures vertically, with the larger polyester and steel construction on top. This newer work evokes a similar piece from 2013, titled “Home Within Home Within Home Within Home Within Home,” which placed replicas of Suh’s former living spaces within one another, from his first house in South Korea to an apartment building in Rhode Island.

Often using his own experiences as source material, Suh’s multi-media practice explores both the physical and metaphorical understandings of home as he considers the ways people occupy structures in specific times, locations, forms, and histories. “The spaces we inhabit also contain psychological energy, and in his work, he makes visible those markers of memories, personal experiences, and a sense of security, regardless of geographic location,” a statement about his practice says.

Suh is represented by Lehmann Maupin, and you can explore more of the artist’s architectural sculptures, installations, and smaller works on the international gallery’s site.

 

“Home within Home” (2019), polyester fabric, stainless steel, 292.91 x 325.59 x 316.93 inches

“Home within Home” (2019), polyester fabric, stainless steel, 292.91 x 325.59 x 316.93 inches

“Home within Home” (2019), polyester fabric, stainless steel, 292.91 x 325.59 x 316.93 inches

“Passage/s” (2017)

“Passage/s” (2017)

 

 



Art

MIMOSA: An Optimistic Collection of Temporary Installations Take Over Philadelphia’s Navy Yard

September 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

Justin Favela’s “Libertad (Freedom).” All images courtesy of Group X, shared with permission

An eclectic array of installations recently popped up at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia, transforming the historic neighborhood into a temporary wonderland teeming with quirky characters, large-scale interventions, and optimism. A life-size piñata shaped like a 1984 Thunderbird is parked on 12th Street, cross-stitched roses trail across the brick facade of Building 99, and a typographic message casts shadows on a pavilion in a call for hope.

Officially titled Mystery Island and the Marvelous Occurrence of Spontaneous Art, or MIMOSA, the entirely outdoor exhibition includes work from seven artists DAKU (previously), Justin Favela (previously), Kid Hazo with South Fellini, Reed Bmore, Liesbet Bussche, and Raquel Rodrigo (previously). It’s a collaboration between the anonymous collective Group X and the Navy Yard, which was overrun in 2018 by a gargantuan sea monster. MIMOSA‘s six site-specific installations are spread across 1,200 acres.

 

DAKU’s “Ray of Hope”

Activated by sunlight, DAKU’s installation “Rays of Hope” casts shadows in 25 different languages on a brick terrace in Crescent Park. Throughout the day as the light shifts, so do the silhouettes on the ground. “The sun has always been associated as a symbol of energy and so is hope,” DAKU says. Rays of light metaphorically serve as “a symbol of positivity and optimism.”

By translating the word “hope” into dozens of languages, the anonymous Indian street artist puts forth a welcoming vision. “When we see a native language, we have a sense of belonging and familiarity with the space. Especially in a foreign land or a place, it makes it more relatable,” DAKU writes. “Languages have been a part of every culture and (have their) own visual aesthetic… Culture is common ground for any language or a form of visual art, and if one comes to think of it, language plays an essential role. It binds the culture in forming into a community.”

 

Justin Favela’s “Libertad (Freedom)”

A nod to his mother’s first purchase after immigrating from Guatemala to the United States in the 1980s, Favela’s paper-fringed car expands on the myth of “The American Dream.” “The promise that if you keep your head down, work really hard and save your money… you, too, can own a home with a two-car garage, get married, have kids, build an empire, and live an abundant and dignified life,” he says. Through his large-scale piñatas, Favela conveys stories like his mother’s, particularly in relation to her longing to return to Central America. “What about the immigrants that come here and realize that they moved to a country that does not want them here? Their stories are also important,” he says.

Questions about identity, including his own as a first-generation, queer, Latinx American, and the experiences of people who have immigrated to the U.S. face inform Favela’s artworks. He subverts common narratives by offering a revised way of thinking centered on joy:

What are we when we are not viewed as just a labor force? What if we stopped taking pride in suffering and the sacrifices that we had to make? What if we valued joy? Mental health? What if we could take a couple of days of…just because!? What would happen if could just be ourselves? When will we all be free?

See the latest from GroupX and follow the installations popping up next in The Navy Yard on Instagram. If you’re in Philadelphia, check out MIMOSA before it closes November 2.

 

DAKU’s “Ray of Hope”

Raquel Rodrigo’s “Florecer (Flourish)”

Reed Bmore’s “Bittersweetvine”

Liesbet Bussche’s “Rusty Love / Urban Jewelry”

Kid Hazo + South Fellini’s “Where the Wild Jawns Are”

 

 



Art

Uncoiled Rope Sprawls Across Canvases and Open Spaces in Organic Forms by Artist Janaina Mello Landini

September 3, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Ciclotrama (expansão)” (2019), 4 Ciclotramas of “expansion” series with varied sizes, black and blue ropes, 270 x 600 x 400 centimeters. Zipper Galeria, São Paulo, Brazil. Photo by Gui Gomes. All images © Janaina Mello Landini, shared with permission

Janaina Mello Landini (previously) unbraids lengths of rope to create fibrous labyrinths that breach canvases’ edges and crawl from floor to ceiling. Including both sprawling site-specific installations and smaller pieces confined to a few dozen centimeters, the São Paulo-based artist’s body of work is broad. All of her projects, though, explore tension and space as they spread into arboreal forms or perfectly round networks.

Her recent works include a massive tree-like installation that fans out across Zipper Gallery’s floor and walls into delicate, tape blossoms. Another is a smaller, numbered piece that was born from the artist’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  “My days are quite slow now, no more assistants around, but I’m still working and thinking a lot,” she shares with Colossal and notes that at the beginning of lockdowns, she completed “Ciclotrama 177 (Fibonacci),” which is shown below.

Since 2010, Landini has been contributing to her Ciclotrama series, a moniker that defines each piece. “The social cartography of individual networks shows the infinite interconnectedness of personal trajectories throughout a system, society, and the world as a whole. The movement of bodies (ropes) and the relationship between rhythm and time are also fundamental aspects of these series,” she says.

To dive further into Landini’s work, check out her Instagram or Artsy, and take a virtual tour of her recent show at Zipper Gallery.

 

“Ciclotrama 177 (Fibonacci)” (2020), cotton threads and acrylic pen on canvas, 1.7 x 1.7 meters. Photo by Lucas Cimino

“Ciclotrama 177 (Fibonacci)” (2020), cotton threads and acrylic pen on canvas, 1.7 x 1.7 meters. Photo by Lucas Cimino

“Ciclotrama 141 (épura)” (2019), 20 meters of handmade cotton rope diameter 24 centimeters and 2880 meters of paper tape, 700 x 800 x 1600 centimeters. Zipper Galeria, São Paulo, Brazil. Photo by Gui Gomes

Left: “Ciclotrama 153 (aglomeração)” (2020), rope on canvas, 43 3/10 × 43 3/10 inches. Right: “Ciclotrama 124” (2018), Dipado rope sewed on natural linen, 78 7/10 × 78 7/10 × 2 inches

“Ciclotrama 141 (épura)” (2019), 20 meters of handmade cotton rope diameter 24 centimeters and 2880 meters of paper tape, 700 x 800 x 1600 centimeters. Photo by Gui Gomes

“Ciclotrama (expansão)” (2019), 4 Ciclotramas of “expansion” series with varied sizes, black and blue ropes, 270 x 600 x 400 centimeters. Zipper Galeria, São Paulo, Brazil. Photo by Gui Gomes

“Ciclotrama (expansão)” (2019), 4 Ciclotramas of “expansion” series with varied sizes, black and blue ropes, 270 x 600 x 400 centimeters. Zipper Galeria, São Paulo, Brazil. Photo by Gui Gomes

“Ciclotrama 141 (épura)” (2019), 20 meters of handmade cotton rope diameter 24 centimeters and 2880 meters of paper tape, 700 x 800 x 1600 centimeters. Photo by Gui Gomes

“Ciclotrama 141 (épura)” (2019), 20 meters of handmade cotton rope diameter 24 centimeters and 2880 meters of paper tape, 700 x 800 x 1600 centimeters. Photo by Gui Gomes

“Ciclotrama 174 (impregnação)” (2019), 50 meters of black nylon rope 40 millimeters diameter and 4.200 black nails, 6 x 7 x 5 meters. Photo by Gui Gomes