installation

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Art

A Cube of Scaffolding Encloses a Glowing Red Sphere That Looms 25 Meters Above Madrid

November 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

Photos by Ruben P. Bescos, © SpY, shared with permission

As a visual metaphor for the intensity and urgency of the ongoing climate crisis, urban artist SpY erected a luminous orb that towers nearly 25 meters above Madrid’s Plaza de Colón. The large-scale work, titled “Tierra,” features a cage of construction scaffolding that encloses the massive sphere, creating a contrast between the two geometric shapes and casting a brilliant red glow on the surrounding area. Set against the backdrop of the bustling Spanish city, the installation “asks us to reflect on the way in which our home makes up a whole of which we form part and in which everything is connected as if it were a living creature,” the artist says.

SpY is known for his public interventions, including ironic installations and a temporary park in the middle of Madrid, where he currently lives. Follow his upcoming projects on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

A 'Staircase to Heaven' Installation Ascends into the Sky as a Trippy Optical Illusion

November 12, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Strijdom van der Merwe, shared with permission

South African artist Strijdom van der Merwe’s deceptive “Staircase to Heaven” sculpture is designed to make you wonder. When viewed straight on, the towering optical illusion appears to ascend into the sky at an incline, although the 4.5-meter-tall work actually lies on a flat plane. Van der Merwe partnered with Taiwanese artist Chou Sheng-hsien to create the trippy sculpture for the Nanhui Art Project in Taiwan, which commissioned 14 public works to be installed throughout Taitung County.

Built with steel square tubing that weighs about 240 kilograms, “Staircase to Heaven” is modeled after van der Merwe’s 2016 project, “Sculptures on the Cliff.” For more of the artist’s site-specific works and sprawling land art, check out his site. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



Art

A 14-Foot Box Truck Transforms into an Intimate Glimpse of Domestic Life in Swoon's Mobile Sculpture

November 10, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images by Lauren Silberman, © Swoon, shared with permission

Exploring trauma and addiction through intricate paper cuttings, pasted murals, and mythical stop-motion animations is at the heart of Caledonia Curry’s practice, and the Connecticut-born artist, who works as Swoon (previously), extends that approach in a mobile sculpture that peers into the intimacy of family life. Produced last year in collaboration with PBS American Portrait, “The House Our Family Built” transforms a 14-foot box truck into a roving domestic scene comprised of a cab cloaked in patterned wallpaper and a trailer split open to reveal a house-like environment.

Within the vehicle are objects synonymous with home life, including framed photos, children’s toys, and furniture, while a fence lines the perimeter in front of the truck. A family of two-dimensional painted figures from multiple generations occupies both the indoor and outdoor spaces, and  Swoon says the outdoor installation “asks viewers to consider the legacy of ancestral histories—whether through traditions, trauma, or repeated narratives—and the ways in which they inform how we understand and talk about ourselves.”

“The House Our Family Built” is on view this week at Nasher Sculpture Center as part of the Dallas Art Fair, and you can follow Swoon through the making-of process on PBS. Find an archive of her imaginative projects on her site, YouTube, and Instagram. (via Artnet)

 

 

 



Art

Hundreds of Ceramic Marine Creatures Radiate in Gradients to Show the Effects of Coral Bleaching

October 26, 2021

Grace Ebert

Detail of “Revolve” (2021), glazed stoneware and porcelain, 168 x 335 x 35 centimeters. All images © Courtney Mattison, shared with permission

Two new site-specific pieces by Courtney Mattison (previously) position ceramic sculptures of corals, sponges, and anemones in a swirling cluster of ocean diversity. Titled “Revolve” and “Our Changing Seas VII,” the wall reliefs are the latest additions to the Los Angeles-based artist’s body of work, which advocates for ecological preservation by highlighting the beauty and fragile nature of marine invertebrates.

In both installations, Mattison contrasts the vibrant, plump tentacles of healthy creatures with others sculpted in white porcelain to convey the devastating effects of the climate crisis, including widespread bleaching. Her recurring subject matter is becoming increasingly urgent, considering recent reports that estimate that 14 percent of the world’s coral population has been lost in the last decade alone.

Each of the lifeforms is hand-built and pocked with minuscule grooves and textured elements—she shares this meticulous process on Instagram—and once complete, the individual sculptures are assembled in sweeping compositions that radiate outward in shifting gradients. “Water connects us all, from the lush banks of Lawsons Fork Creek to the icy glaciers of the Arctic and glittering reefs of Southeast Asia. Life on Earth is dependent on healthy oceans,” she shares about “Revolve.” “The swirling design of this work is inspired by these connections and patterns, with revolving forms repeated in nature through hurricanes, seashells, ocean waves, and galaxies.”

Mattison’s solo exhibition Turn the Tide is on view at Highfield Hall & Gardens in Massachusetts through October 31 before it travels to the New Bedford Whaling Museum, where it will be through May 1, 2022. You explore a larger archive of the artist’s marine works on Behance and her site.

 

Detail of “Our Changing Seas VII” (2021), glazed stoneware and porcelain, 213 x 350 x 40 centimeters

Detail of “Revolve” (2021), glazed stoneware and porcelain, 168 x 335 x 35 centimeters

“Our Changing Seas VII” (2021), glazed stoneware and porcelain, 213 x 350 x 40 centimeters

Detail of “Revolve” (2021), glazed stoneware and porcelain, 168 x 335 x 35 centimeters

Detail of “Our Changing Seas VII” (2021), glazed stoneware and porcelain, 213 x 350 x 40 centimeters

“Revolve” (2021), glazed stoneware and porcelain, 168 x 335 x 35 centimeters

 

 



Art

12,000 Sheets of Wrinkled Rice Paper Drape Around a Monumental Installation by Zhu Jinshi

October 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Boat” (2015), Xuan (rice) paper, bamboo, cotton threads, 18 x 7 meters. All images courtesy of the artist and Pearl Lam Galleries, shared with permission

More than 12,000 sheets of delicate Xuan paper form the ruffled exterior of Zhu Jinshi’s suspended “Boat” sculpture. The renowned artist, who’s currently living and working in his hometown of Beijing, is widely regarded for pioneering Chinese abstract art, and this monumental installation from 2015 is a reflection of his conceptual, meditative practice.

Spanning 18 meters long and seven meters wide, “Boat” is comprised of wrinkled paper layers draped around bamboo frames. Countless thin cotton threads hold the individual components in place and intersect the curved, tunnel-like form with straight lines that extend vertically to the ceiling. Bisected with a central space for viewers to pass through, the metaphorical work considers the passage of time and space and is an extension of Zhu’s 2007 installation “Wave of Materials” (shown below), which features a single, halved form anchored to the gallery floor with stones.

The artist is exhibiting at West Bund Art and Design 2021 next month and is opening a solo in Shanghai at the end of the year. Until then, explore an archive of his works at Pearl Lam Galleries and on Artsy.

 

“Boat” (2015), Xuan (rice) paper, bamboo, cotton threads, 18 x 7 meters

Detail of “Boat” (2015), Xuan (rice) paper, bamboo, cotton threads, 18 x 7 meters

Detail of “Boat” (2015), Xuan (rice) paper, bamboo, cotton threads, 18 x 7 meters

“Wave of Materials” (2007), Xuan paper, cotton thread, bamboo, and stones

“Wave of Materials” (2007), Xuan paper, cotton thread, bamboo, and stones

 

 



Art Craft

An Exhibition of 50 Piñatas Explores the Cultural Significance of the Festive Object

October 14, 2021

Grace Ebert

Installation view of Roberto Benavidez’s sculptures (front) and Isaias Rodriguez, “resilience” (2021) (back). Photo by Madison Metro, Craft in America. All images courtesy of Craft in America, shared with permission

A ubiquitous decoration at birthdays and family celebrations, piñatas are conventionally associated with fun, festivity, and of course, their potential to split open and release candy and other treats. Now on view at Craft in America, a group exhibition re-envisions the party staple by connecting it with contemporary practices that extend the playful artform’s capacity for social and political commentary.

Piñatas: The High Art of Celebration features approximately 50 works from Mexico- and U.S.-based artists and collectives, who explore the evolution of traditional construction techniques and the object’s broad cultural significance that reaches beyond its Mexican heritage. The fantastical creatures of Roberto Benavidez’s illuminated manuscript series, for example, encapsulate questions about race and sin, while Justin Favela (previously) translates the confrontation between American pop culture and Latinx experiences into fringed, abstract landscapes. Other works include a massive COVID-19 vaccine bottle by Lisbeth Palacios, Diana Benavidez’s motorized cars that speak to issues at the San Diego/Tijuana border, and a swarm of tiny suspended monarchs by Isaias Rodriguez.

If you’re in Los Angeles, stop by Craft in America before December 4 to see the exhibition in person or take a virtual tour on the nonprofit’s site.  (via Hyperallergic)

 

Roberto Benavidez, “Illuminated Hybrid No. 3” (2019). Photo by the artist

Detail of Isaias Rodriguez, “resilience” (2021). Photo by Matthew Hermosillo

Justin Favela, “Baño de los Pescaditos (after José María Velasco)” (2019). Photo courtesy of the artist

Left: Lorena Robletto (Amazing Piñatas), “Alebrije Installation” (2021). Photo by Madison Metro, Craft in America. Right: Lorena Robletto (Amazing Piñatas), “Seven Point Star Installation” (2021). Photo by Madison Metro, Craft in America

Roberto Benavidez, “Illuminated Hybrid No. 5” (2018). Photo by Madison Metro, Craft in America

Left: Giovanni Valderas, “No Hay Pedo (Canary)”  (2016). Photo by Giovanni Valderas. Right: Lisbeth Palacios (All Party Art), “COVID Vaccine” (2021). Photo by Madison Metro, Craft in America

Diana Benavidez, installation view of “Border Crosser” and “La Pinche Migra” (from Vehículos Transfronterizos series) (2021). Photo by Madison Metro, Craft in America