An undulating kinetic artwork by Scale Collective blends organic movement and architectural forms in a mesmerizing installation. Created for the Constellations Festival in Metz, France, “Flux” is comprised of 48 beams of light that stretch 1.5-meters-long and are spaced 40 centimeters apart. Each is connected to a single mechanism that’s motorized and controlled by viewers through an interface, allowing for a synchronized performance of twisting and coiling patterns. “The formal multiplication of these lines coupled with micro variations of phases, time delays, speeds, and amplitudes allows us to sculpt an object 20 meters long, alive and evolving with a cyclical back and forth movement,” the French collective says. See more of the group’s dynamic projects on its site, Vimeo, and Instagram. (via Core 77)
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Sprawling across a bright red floor at Setouchi City Museum of Art is Motoi Yamamoto’s sweeping installation of 100,000 cherry blossoms. Using a small, petal stencil and poured salt, the Kanazawa-based artist meticulously laid a mass of mineral-based buds during the course of 55 hours and nine days. Constructed radially, “Sakura Shibefuru,” or “Falling Cherry Petals” mimics the natural patterns formed around trees after the blossoms drop and end their life cycle each spring, a process Yamamoto (previously) says informed much of the work:
When the red-purple buds fall, for many people, this is also the time when they lose interest due to the flower season being over. However, this time can also be seen as a small nudge to think about the coming fresh greens of spring and midsummer…While thinking about the future of the buds, I created petals that had just fallen, piling the petals while contemplating the trees that produced these beautiful flowers with their thick trunks, supple branches, and powerful roots.
Paired with the crystalline blossoms are two of Yamamoto’s sculptural works from 1995, which the artist considers the origin of his practice and which he created following his sister’s death from a brain tumor. “This was an attempt to engrave into my heart the moment when an important life ceased to exist,” he says. Creating painstaking salt-based pieces like “Sakura Shibefuru”—which Yamamoto shares is, in part, a response to his wife’s death a few years ago—is meditative and a way to work through grief and retain memories.
“Sakura Shibefuru” is on view in Setouchi until May 5, and the artist currently is working on a large-scale project for Suzu’s Oku-Noto Triennale 2020+, which will be installed this fall in a former kindergarten building. Until then, watch Yamamoto’s works take shape on Instagram and YouTube, and shop originals, prints, and books in his store. (via designboom)
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In Parable of Gravity, artist Casey Curran (previously) assembles a vast garden of delicate kinetic blossoms amidst an expanse of deterioration. The sweeping landscape, which is on view at Seattle’s MadArt through April 17, positions Curran’s pulsing plant forms atop 20 towers of wooden scaffolding that line the gallery space. Coated in a thick layer of mud, the tallest structures scale eight feet at the outer edge of the installation, where a human-like figure appears to hover in the air. The anonymous body is covered in the flowers, which are made from laser-cut polyester drawing papers and powered by cranks and small motors.
Through the maze of garden plots at the other end of the space hangs a hollow, aluminum asteroid—which is modeled after 951 Gaspra, the first rocky mass humans were able to observe in detail thanks to a 1991 viewing by the Galileo spacecraft. Titled “Anchor of Janus,” the imposing sculpture references both the Roman god and the intricate motifs on Gothic cathedrals and provides a foreboding, catastrophic lens to the otherwise burgeoning garden.
In a statement, Curran explains the confluence of the manufactured and organic themes:
This mythological, architectural, and astronomical convergence considers not only the scientific and spiritual aspects of our connection to the natural world, but also our cultural legacy and the ways in which past technological advancements continue to impact our lives and experiences today. Further, the reference to Janus recognizes the dual nature of human progress, with all of the positive and negative implications it carries.
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The Wound: JR's New Anamorphic Artwork Appears to Carve Out the Facade of Florence's Palazzo Strozzi
French artist JR unveiled an imposing artwork at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence last week that mimics a massive gash in the institution’s Renaissance-era facade. Spanning 28 x 33 meters, “La Ferita,” or “The Wound,” is an anamorphic collage that appears to reveal the iconic artworks housed inside the building, in addition to a stately courtyard colonnade, exhibition hall, and library. Exposing different parts of the interior as the viewer shifts position, the artwork is in response to the lack of accessibility at cultural institutions since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Completed alongside a team of 11 in two months, the site-specific piece was constructed 30 centimeters in front of the 15th Century ashlar facade with a metal structure and 80 panels of Dibond aluminum. It features JR’s signature photographic style—similar projects were installed at Williamsburg’s Domino Park, the Louvre, and the U.S./Mexico border—and includes a mix of real and imagined elements, including black-and-white renderings of Botticelli’s “Primavera” and “Birth of Venus” and Giambologna’s “The Rape of the Sabine Women,” in addition to prominent spaces like the Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento.
“The Wound” is layered further with references to art history, from its use of the trompe l’oeil technique that grew in popularity in the 1500s to its evocation of ruinism, an 18th Century style that portrayed ancient architecture “as testimonials to a glorious past in a dramatic reflection on the fate of mankind,” a release says, noting that Palazzo Strozzi will not be preserving the piece beyond its initial construction.
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A Monumental Bas-Relief Sculpture by Nick Cave Connects Senegalese and U.S. Cultures in a Web of Beadwork
Innumerable pony beads, pipe cleaners, sequins, and objects gathered from two continents overlay a web of rainbow mesh that’s suspended in the U.S. Embassy atrium in Dakar. Installed in 2012, the expansive work by Chicago-based artist Nick Cave (previously) is composed of amorphous swells and circular patches of multicolor netting that stretch 20 x 25 feet. Physically connecting pieces of both U.S. and Senegalese culture, the webbed, bas-relief sculpture symbolically stands as “a unifier that brings people together,” Cave says in an interview.
Virginia Shore and Robert Soppelsa curated the project for Art in Embassies, a program led by the U.S. Department of State that fosters cross-cultural exchange through visual arts and spans more than 200 venues in 189 countries. “When you think about Art in Embassies and cultural diplomacy, what is interesting for me, as an artist, is, how can I facilitate that within the work that is developed? Yes, I will create the piece for the embassy, but I was also interested in ways to integrate the artists that live and work here,” he says.
Cave developed the structural portion of the work in his Chicago studio, and after meeting Sengalese artists, scholars, and students, he utilized pieces from three locals—Seni M’Baye, Loman Pawlitschek, and Daouda N’Diaye—once on site. The resulting installation, which weighs nearly 500 pounds, took Cave and ten assistants more than three months to complete.
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2020 was a year of many realizations, but for Thomas Jackson (previously), the most profound was “proof of the adage that creativity thrives under constraints.” Known for suspending swarms of everyday objects on the rocky shores of the Isle of Man or desert locales across the southwest U.S., the photographer shifted his practice as lockdowns spread and limited his ability to travel beyond nearby landscapes.
The resulting series reflects these restrictions and focuses on a single location and adaptable material: swaths of colorful nylon float above the beaches and down the California coastline, creating compositions that juxtapose the natural environment with the bright, manufactured materials. “I chose tulle for its mutability—depending on how it’s arranged and how the wind catches it, it can morph from a solid to a liquid, to fire to billowing smoke,” Jackson says.
Shot on 4×5 film with little to no editing, the photographs convey a pared-down approach. Rather than hire people to help him install the sculptural objects in exact positions, Jackson utilized driftwood to prop up the lightweight textiles and the wind to infuse the fabric with movement. He explains:
On every shoot, Northern California’s offshore breezes were my collaborator, the force that transformed my installations from lifeless fabric to living things. As collaborations go it was a tumultuous one—of the twenty or so pieces I built and photographed last year, thirteen were failures—but along the way, I learned a thing or two about the importance of staying on nature’s good side. When I built pieces that obstructed or defied the wind in any way, I’d go home unhappy, but when my constructions respected and responded to the wind, interesting things would occur!
Jackson shares a wide array of his work that mimics the amorphous, self-organizing patterns of birds, insects, and other animals, along with behind-the-scenes shots and footage of his process, on Instagram.
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