installation

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Art

Anthropomorphic Interventions in the Landscape by Estelle Chrétien Playfully Examine Rural Life

April 26, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Land Operation” (2016-2020). All images © Estelle Chrétien, shared with permission

For artist Estelle Chrétien, the expansive lawns, fields, and wooded ravines around her home in Nancy, France, and other parts of Europe become sites of mischievous mixed-media interventions. Through a playful approach that she refers to as gauillant, akin to the feeling of playing in the mud or jumping in puddles, the works develop through chance encounters with the landscape and objects within it. Displayed in an “open-air” exhibition style, her pieces can be encountered by viewers in a similar way, with the potential to surprise and delight.

Chrétien is particularly interested in rural and natural places and examines the way we interact with those environments through an often humorous or ironic anthropomorphizing of her surroundings. Naturally occurring forms and textures inspire temporary installations like “Dessous” (“Underneath”) in which a tree with a double trunk, adorned with some oversized underpants, transforms into a pair of long legs jutting out of the ground. In “Opération Terrestre” (“Land Operation”) the manicured lawn of a stately home has received a wound in need of stitches.

The process of learning how to construct or manipulate different mediums is an important part of Chrétien’s approach. From crocheting industrial twine around a hay bale to repurposing a door into the shape of a giant key fob, she enjoys experimenting with unassuming materials in unexpected locations. She is currently preparing for a new open-air project in France this summer, and you can find more of her projects on her website and Instagram.

 

“Dessous” (2020)

“Land Operation” (2016-2020)

“Les pieds au sec” (2015-2020), in collaboration with Miguel Costa

“Ficelle Agricole Bleue” (2014)

“Dessous” (2020). Image by Miguel Costa

“Propriété” (2021)

“Colonne” (2020)

 

 



Art

A Miniature Arcade, Art Museum, and Dock by AnonyMouse Squeeze into Malmö’s Streets

April 11, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © AnonyMouse, shared with permission

The traveling collective known as AnonyMouse squeaked through Malmö’s bustling streets the last few weeks installing the latest additions to its tiniest cultural scene. After working in cities across Europe, the unidentified group visited the Swedish coast to wedge a miniature art museum, arcade, and shipping dock just big enough for a few mice into the long-established architecture. Built at street level, each minuscule creation is an elaborate and witty rendition of its human-sized counterpart: games like “Feline Fighter 2″ and “Cheese Invaders” are packed into the glowing arcade, while small boats, a cafe, and an ominous flag printed with a mouse and crossbones appear at the inland port.

AnonyMouse is currently headed to its next unannounced destination, and you can follow its latest adventures on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Monumental Forms Ripple and Float in Leeroy New’s Sculptures Made from Discarded Plastics

April 5, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Balete” (2022). All images courtesy of the artist, shared with permission

Manila-based artist and designer Leeroy New challenges us to think about the waste produced from everyday materials by constructing elaborate sculptures out of discarded plastics. His large-scale works are made by cutting, twisting, and tying together found objects like water jugs, film reels, tubes, and bottles into forms that evoke a sense of  movement or migration. Embracing the exterior of a building as part of the Biennale of Sydney earlier this year, the tentacle-like public installation “Balete” was inspired by the discovery of piles of discarded irrigation hoses at recycling centers in Australia. In “Flotilla,” individual pieces are suspended from the ceiling and appear to glide past like a fleet of uncanny vessels or undersea organisms.

In 2019, the Institute for Economics and Peace reported that New’s home country of the Philippines is most at risk from the climate crisis due to rising temperatures and sea levels. Manila is second only to Tokyo as the city most affected by natural disasters. Reimagining a more positive and sustainable future for his community and the planet, New explores the culture, history, and mythology of his Philippines heritage to underscore the palpable impacts of the climate crisis.

To mark the occasion of Earth Day on April 22, a new installation sails across the courtyard of London’s Somerset House this month in the form of a fleet of arks. You can find more of the artist’s work on Instagram and his website.

 

“Balete” (2022)

“Balete” (2022)

“Balete” (2022)

Foreground: “Flotilla” (2022)

Foreground: “Flotilla” (2022)

Background: “Flotilla” (2022)

 

 



Art

Marina Abramović Is Recreating Her Iconic ‘The Artist Is Present’ to Raise Money for Ukrainians in Need

March 22, 2022

Grace Ebert

Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present at the Museum of Modern Art (2010). Photo by Marco Anelli. All images courtesy of Sean Kelly, New York

The latest in artist-driven projects to support Ukrainians affected by war, Marina Abramović is reviving her famous performance piece “The Artist is Present” to raise funds for humanitarian relief in Ukraine. Originally presented at the Museum of Modern Art back in 2010, the iconic work will be restaged in two iterations—one for a single person and another for two—at Sean Kelly Gallery in New York, where a solo show spanning decades of the Serbian artist’s work is on view through April 16. Photographer Marco Anelli documented nearly all 1,500 people who sat in silence across from Abramović 12 years ago and will also shoot these new encounters.

This recreation follows the artist’s heartfelt message of solidarity with the nation, which she released the day after Russia declared war. “An attack on Ukraine is an attack on all of us. It’s an attack on humanity and has to be stopped,” she says. Abramović also recently installed a massive public work, titled “Crystal Wall of Crying,” at the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center in Kyiv. Completed in October 2021, the outdoor monument honors Jews murdered in the region in one of the largest massacres and is one of many of her pieces focused on healing.

Bidding for “The Artist is Present: A Benefit Auction for Ukraine” is open through March 25, and all proceeds will be donated to the nonprofit Direct Relief.

 

Installation view of Marina Abramović: Performative

 

 



Art

Life and Death Converge in a Two-Sided Field of 17,000 Steel Flowers by Zadok Ben-David

March 22, 2022

Grace Ebert

Detail of “Blackfield” (2021) at Kew. Photo by Roger Wooldridge. All images courtesy of Kew Gardens, shared with permission

At the heart of Zadok Ben-David’s Natural Reserve on view at Kew Gardens is a low-lying plot sprouting nearly 1,000 plant species. The sprawling, ecologically diverse installation, which has traveled to multiple cities like Seoul, Tel Aviv, and Paris since 2006, is titled “Blackfield,” a name tied to the flowers’ dualistic nature: one side captures the vibrancy of life through bright, fantastical colors, while the other is painted entirely black.

Containing upwards of 17,000 steel-etched botanicals, the installation considers the precarious line between life and death and how a small shift in perspective can inspire oppositional feelings of either loss or hope. “The relationship between humanity and nature is one which is central to my work. I have always been fascinated by the idea of how humans rely on nature for survival yet seem to forget this essential fact in everyday life,” the Israeli artist says.

In addition to “Blackfield,” Natural Reserve includes a variety of intricate, sculptural pieces, some of which are based on 19th Century illustrations in the garden’s collections, and is on view through April 24. Follow Zadok Ben-David (previously) on Instagram to keep an eye on where his works are headed next.

 

Detail of “Blackfield” (2021) at Kew. Photo by Roger Wooldridge

Photos by Soupdemots

Detail of “Blackfield” (2021) at Kew. Photo by Roger Wooldridge

Photos by Soupdemots

Photos by Soupdemots

Photos by Soupdemots

“Blackfield” (2010) at Verso Arte Contemporanea in Turin, Italy

“Blackfield” (2021) at Kew. Photo by Roger Wooldridge

 

 



Art

Elaborately Layered Gardens by Ebony G. Patterson Hide Haunting Messages Within Dazzling Displays

March 10, 2022

Grace Ebert

“when the land is in plumage…” (2020), glitter, glue, beads, plaster, conch shells, gold leaf, porcelain, paint, trimmings, jewelry, embellishments, fabric, jacquard tapestry, and paraffin wax, 9 x 16. 4 x 10.3 feet. All images courtesy of moniquemeloche, shared with permission

Ebony G. Patterson’s multi-layered works are willfully superficial. The Jamaican artist weaves together a mélange of torn papers, tassels, appliqués, and feathered butterflies to create striking gardens replete with glitter and vibrant hues. “In many ways, I think of the work as the flower and the audience as the bees,” Patterson told Nasher Museum. “The bee is first attracted to the flower because of its color, but it’s not until you start peeling back the layers that you understand what’s happening with the nectar.”

Often set against wallpaper of her own design, Patterson’s mixed-media tapestries and smaller works are immersive and captivating, inviting study of both individual elements and how they interact. Hidden beneath the obvious allure of flora and fauna, though, are more complex, sinister messages of identity, violence, and death. Likened to “secret poisons,” these inferences relate to the anguish and perpetual mourning many women feel, and in her sprawling tapestry titled “the wailing…guides us home…and there is a bellying on the land…,” for example, feminine hands and limbs attempt to grasp for something beyond the entangled mass of jacquard and beads. “Each form bravely assumes a posture of distress, the onerous emotional and physical labor required to conduct acts of devotion, the soul care that grants permission to confront historic and inherited traumas,” a statement says.

Patterson lives and works between Kingston, Jamaica, and Chicago, and she’s included in multiple upcoming shows: What is Left Unspoken, Love opening on March 25 at the High Museum in Atlanta, a solo exhibition at Hales Gallery running from May 5 to June 18, and this November, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Until then, you can explore more of her elaborate works at moniquemeloche, where she’s represented.

 

“the wailing…guides us home…and there is a bellying on the land…” (2021), mixed media on jacquard woven photo tapestry and custom vinyl wallpaper, 10 x 13 x 1 feet

Detail of “the wailing…guides us home…and there is a bellying on the land…” (2021), mixed media on jacquard woven photo tapestry and custom vinyl wallpaper, 10 x 13 x 1 feet

Detail of “when the land is in plumage…” (2020), glitter, glue, beads, plaster, conch shells, gold leaf, porcelain, paint, trimmings, jewelry, embellishments, fabric, jacquard tapestry and paraffin wax, 9 x 16. 4 x 10.3 feet

“…and the dew cracks the earth, in five acts of lamentation…between the cuts…beneath the leaves…below the soil…” (2020), digital print on archival watercolor paper with hand-cut and torn elements, construction paper, wallpaper, poster board, acrylic gel medium, feathered monarch butterflies, 9.25 x 50 feet

Detail of “…and the dew cracks the earth, in five acts of lamentation…between the cuts…beneath the leaves…below the soil…” (2020), digital print on archival watercolor paper with hand-cut and torn elements, construction paper, wallpaper, poster board, acrylic gel medium, feathered monarch butterflies, 9.25 x 50 feet

” …they stood in a time of unknowing…for those who bear/bare witness” (2018), hand-cut jacquard woven photo tapestry with glitter, appliqués, pins, embellishments, fabric, tassels, brooches, acrylic, glass pearls, beads, and hand-cast heliconias, on artist-designed fabric wallpaper, 12.7 x 16.7 feet

Detail of ” …they stood in a time of unknowing…for those who bear/bare witness” (2018), hand-cut jacquard woven photo tapestry with glitter, appliqués, pins, embellishments, fabric, tassels, brooches, acrylic, glass pearls, beads, and hand-cast heliconias, on artist-designed fabric wallpaper, 12.7 x 16.7 feet