A Dizzying Carpet of Crystals Blankets a Salon in the Royal Palace Amsterdam with Prismatic Patterns
The latest installation by Dutch artist Suzan Drummen (previously) masks a stately salon in the Royal Palace Amsterdam with a gleaming carpet of crystals placed in psychedelic swirls. A response to the Golden Age-era architecture, the bright colors of Drummen’s work are intended to clash with the rich, muted hues of the furniture and walls. Because each individual crystal is laid by hand and left unsecured, the labor-intensive process took a team of four nine days to complete.
Equally mesmerizing and disorienting, Drummen’s elaborate installations often rely on a combination of patterns, reflection, and a three-dimensional texture that creates a dizzying effect. Much of her work is informed by the overwhelming amount of information in today’s world that can spark confusion and uncertainty, which she explains:
Phenomena like these alarm me as a person, but as a maker, I’m inspired by that dizzying multiplicity. I‘m interested in things that dazzle us, and in my work, I try to ramp that up. It’s an ongoing quest, with a constant interplay between seriousness, fear, playfulness, and hope. Above all I want it to be vibrant and vital.
Drummen’s piece is on view through October 3 as part of Trailblazers, a group exhibition inviting past recipients of The Royal Award for Modern Painting to show their works within the palace’s halls. Explore a larger collection of the Amsterdam-based artist’s projects on her site and Instagram.
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Whimsical tendrils of vines, foliage, wisteria, and chrysanthemums sprout from artist Ian Berry’s wild, overgrown garden plots. Densely assembled and often suspended from the ceiling, his recurring “Secret Garden” is comprised of blooms and leafy plants created entirely from recycled denim, producing immersive spaces teeming with indigo botanicals in various washes and fades.
Since its debut at the New York Children’s Museum of the Arts, Berry’s site-specific installation has undergone a few iterations. “The first one was made with children in mind… hence the more magical secret garden angle,” he says, “just wanting to (ensure they think about) where the material comes from, see what they can make, and seek out outdoor places within a city.” It’s since traveled to London, Barcelona, The Netherlands, France, Kentucky, and the San Francisco Flower Mart, where it’s permanently installed as a trellis lining the space’s windows.
The initial installation sourced damaged bolts from Cone Denim, specifically its now-shuttered White Oak Mill in North Carolina, which is known for its dedication to transparent cotton sourcing and commitment to using less water. Although much of Berry’s works recycle discarded jeans, jackets, and materials that are unusable for garments and employ environmentally conscious companies like Tonello to wash and laser the vines, sustainability is an ancillary element of his practice.
Instead, the East London-based artist focuses on generating a broader conversation about the ways communities change over time and a hope that people will find magic where it’s not necessarily expected. “The piece was born out of the idea that in New York, many children would grow up without a garden, and as much of my work is about the community in urban environments,” he shares. “I wanted afterwards for the parents and children to go and seek them out—and they did.”
“Secret Garden” is on view as part of Berry’s solo show Splendid Isolation, which is up through August 15 at Museum Rijswijk in the Hague, The Netherlands. In October, his work is headed to the Textil Museet in Sweden, where it’ll be until May 2022. Explore a larger collection of his textile-based floral pieces on his site and Instagram.
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Sarah Sze Implants a Fragmented Installation of Individual Mirrors in a Lush Hudson Valley Landscape
Artist Sarah Sze (previously) is known for precisely arranging unique images like photos, paintings, projections into massive sculptural constellations that collapse time and space, and one of her newest installations works in a similar manner, drawing on the tensions between the individual and collective and past, present, and future. Nestled into the lush hillside of Storm King Arts Center in New York’s Hudson Valley, Sze’s “Fallen Sky” is comprised of 132 distinct pieces of polished stainless steel arranged in a fragmented circle.
The sloping, slightly hidden installation, which is now part of the center’s permanent collection, reflects the landscape, shifting the mirrored images it displays depending on the time of day, season, and the location of the viewer. All of the grasses surrounding the metal components were chosen and planted by hand, creating a contrast between the sleek tops of the steel and the natural growths.
Spanning 26 feet, the amorphous, segmented forms evoke the process of erosion and the ways elements change and deteriorate over time. Sze pairs “Fallen Sky” with an immersive collaged installation titled “Fifth Season,” which will be on view inside the center through November 8, an accompaniment that speaks to her vision for the pieces. “The relationship of the human to landscape is this age-old exploration of artists, but both works I’ve made are much more about how the landscape is fragile, it’s in flux, and our relationship to it is fractured,” she said in a recent interview. “I think this has to do with our generation. Our relationship to landscape is not one of owning it.”
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'Fake Food, Real Garbage': A Satirical Store is Fully Stocked with Groceries Made Entirely of Plastic
Wander into a new pop-up grocery store in Downtown Los Angeles, and you’ll find all of the typical options with an unusual twist: freezers stocked with tubs of “Bag & Jerry’s,” a robust produce section with bananas and tomatoes printed with advertisements, and mysteriously gray “polluted sausage” stuck to styrofoam trays.
Dubbed “The Plastic Bag Store,” the witty and satirical installation is the project of Robin Frohardt, who repurposed scores of bottle caps, packaging, and other single-use materials into a full-fledged grocery. Each of the non-edible items—many of which have undergone clever rebrands, meaning you’ll find family-sized boxes of Yucky Shards cereal, cases of Bagorade bottles, and clamshells of Earthbag Farms non-organic spring mix in the aisles—is made entirely with discarded waste that the Brooklyn-based artist, puppet-maker, and designer collected from garbage bins and trash sites.
Paired with a performative component that envisions how future generations will interpret the inordinate amount of waste produced in today’s world, the installation literally displays the longevity of the items many of us use on a daily basis. According to recent estimations, the amount of plastic in the ocean is predicted to exceed the volume of fish by 2050, an ongoing crisis Frohardt wants to make more apparent. “’The Plastic Bag Store’ is a visually rich and humorous experience that hopefully encourages a different way of thinking about the foreverness of plastic, the permanence of the disposable and that there is no ‘away’ when we throw something out,” she says.
The grocery, which debuted in Times Square last fall with the tagline “Fake Food, Real Garbage,” is open at UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance through July 11. You can find more of Frohardt’s projects, many of which critique mass consumerism and capitalism through a humorous lens, on her site and Instagram. (via Hyperallergic)
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A Dreamy Fiber Installation by Vanessa Barragão Transforms a Medieval Bridge into a Patch of Oversized Orchids
In the small town of Paderne, Portugal, a whimsical valance of crocheted leaves, dangling tendrils, and petals dyed with subtle gradients encircles the stone archways of a battered medieval bridge. Titled “Algarvensis,” the dreamy installation is by Portuguese artist Vanessa Barragão, who’s known for her large-scale textured tapestries that recreate landscapes and gardens with tufted fibers. The bowed entanglement recreates oversized orchids native to the region with wool from nearby sheep and recycled yarn, resin, and other materials in a celebration of the local environment where the artist spent much of her childhood.
“Algarvensis,” which the municipality of Albufeira commissioned to help elevate the Geoparque Algarvensis to the status of a Worldwide UNESCO Geoparque, will be up until September 12, and you can the process and installation behind the piece on Barragão’s Instagram.
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Whether nestling an iridescent tunnel inside a Georgian-style church or encircling a concrete walkway with multicolor ribbons, Liz West transforms whatever space she approaches into a dynamic field of kaleidoscopic light and shadow. The prolific British artist (previously) is known for her large-scale pieces that use reflection and refraction to create dazzling immersive environments. Often utilizing translucent panels and a combination of natural light and LEDs, West’s intention is to enhance sensory awareness, showing the potential the full spectrum of color has to impact both psychological and physical reactions.
On view through August 21 at Canary Wharf in London, “Hymn to the Big Wheel” (shown above) is an architectural installation comprised of two concentric octagons that cast layered jewel-toned shadows depending on the viewer’s position. The piece draws its name from Massive Attack’s “Hymn Of The Big Wheel” and has what West calls a “sun-dial effect” that changes how the light streams through the panels depending on the time of day.
Other recent projects include “Aglow,” which arranged 169 fluorescent bowls in a hexagon outside of the Musee Nissim de Camondo in Paris. The individual elements were designed to catch rainfall, which once pooled in the base, added an extra layer of color and illusion to the patterned grouping. Similarly deceptive is West’s 2021 piece titled “Presence” at Christ Church in Macclesfield, which produced an obscured and prismatic path through the historic site that presented the existing architecture through the lens of colorful panels.
West is currently working on two permanent installations launching in August and September in Salford, while “Hundreds and Thousands” (shown below) will be taken down this fall. You can follow her vibrant constructions on her site and Instagram.
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