Artist Yang Yongliang (previously) harmonizes human-generated light and naturally glowing stars in a celestial, 4K video installation. Set to an eerie, technological soundtrack, “Journey to the Dark II” winds through a mountainous city that spans 70 meters across. Movement in the immersive piece is confined mostly to the cars traveling across bridges and down streets, and the lights emit a constant glow among the modern architecture and landforms.
Residing in Shanghai and New York, Yang often juxtaposes modern, industrial life and organic elements to produce dystopian environments that question human progress. “Ancient Chinese people painted landscapes to praise the greatness of nature; Yang’s works, on the other hand, lead towards a critical re-thinking of contemporary reality,” said a statement about a similarly foreboding project.
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Artist Ling-Li Tseng describes her recent installation as “a whispering between human(s) and nature.” Debuted in Houli at the 2020 Taiwan Lantern Festival, “The Search of the Glow” is a lightweight, wooden sphere constructed with a series of connected ovals. Together, the pieces form a hollow orb that’s outfitted with thin strips of LED lights, creating a radiant installation that glows in the otherwise dim area.
To create the modular artwork in collaboration with Serendipity Studio, Tseng used a combination of digital fabrication and traditional, craftsman processes. The four larger ovals and smaller, connecting pieces were created through lofting, a drafting technique that generates curved lines. Made of eight layers of wood veneer, the strips use a double curvature to maintain its shape.
The artist envisioned the finished installation as a refuge and an entrance into “a mysterious spatial experience,” she says. “All senses are slowly enhanced, and rays of the light guide us to an adventure in the mist. In a grove of trees, we discover an object emitting flickering light—its woven and curved staves engage in a dialogue with the natural curves of the surrounding trees.” While the work radiates through the darkness at night, it provides a more subtle glow during the daytime mist and fog.
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Montreal-based artist Elisabeth Picard curls, fans, and locks together hundreds of zip-ties into tremendously formed glowing sculptures and undulating installations. The futuristic artworks merge geological and organic elements with science fiction to create abstract formations that the artist likens to “landscapes, minerals, plants, micro-organisms, and sea creatures.”
Picard tells Colossal that since she began working with the nylon links in 2011, she’s used more than 300,000 ties. The artist hand-dyes each piece with pastels, earth tones, and sometimes fluorescent hues that will later glow under UV light and add depth with shadows. Some artworks even are assembled with a lightbox backdrop. Each glowing piece is designed to elucidate the contrast between the original material and the final structures, and numeric art, vector drawing, programming, and 3D printing all guide her research.
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The understated inside of a church in Shizuoka, Japan, lacks the traditional iconography and ornate trimmings often found in similar spaces. Designed by Tokyo-based architect Taira Nishizawa, Sunpu Church is a windowless building made mostly of slatted pine. The open roof allows sunlight to fill the space and cast moving shadows depending on the time of day. It also creates a direct view upward to the sky.
Because the modest building is located next to a busy railway, Nishizawa soundproofed the outer walls to ensure a quiet space for worshipers. In an interview with Arch Eyes, he spoke about his conceptualization process.
The Church Sun-Pu required specific spatial qualities. Just thinking functionally about a church, it’s not much different from a classroom. But the space must feel very different, so I needed a strategy to control that environment directly…I manipulated the performance of the external walls and roof to control the light and sound conditions, which are what distinguishes a church from a normal classroom or meeting place.
Despite its singular cross and intricate entrance panel, the red cedar facade is similarly stark and has turned gray since it was built in 2008. Follow what Nishizawa’s up to on Twitter, and check out the book chronicling his wooden projects. (via Jeroen Apers)
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Made of translucent glass, Laura Hart’s brilliant orchids appear to be the paragon of delicacy: the fleshy petals and neon-illuminated columns are in full bloom, representing a fleeting stage of life that’s modeled with an easily breakable substance. The Suffolk-based artist, though, is more concerned with the floral family’s historical resilience and aptitude for survival.
There are 28,000 known species of orchids, which 100-million-year-old fossil records prove were the first to bloom. “Representing a quarter of the world’s flowering plants, there are four times as many orchid species as there are mammals and twice as many birds,” Hart says. In her newest series, Orchis Exotica—which debuted earlier this year as part of Collect 2020 with Vessel Gallery—the central neon light is a nod to orchids’ efforts to attract necessary pollinators to ensure their survival. These successful strategies prove their adaptability, Hart says, a move she connects to Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theories.
Manacled by religious dogma of his time, he risked a charge of heresy had he cited another organism equally successful in achieving global population through adaptability. Though there is very little anecdotal record of his personal resolve that humans were the ultimate example of his revelatory theory, there can be no doubt he believed it to be so…The bi-coloured neon centres illuminate the uncanny resemblance between orchid and human reproductive organs; a parallel unlikely missed by the great man himself.
Orchis Exotica is an extension of Hart’s previous flowers that had similarly perfect symmetry but lacked the glowing portions. Despite LED lights being simpler to use, Hart tells Colossal she prefers the traditional mechanisms. “Why neon? Well, I am a lover of the light/art form; very much a rarity in itself these days with the advent of LED neon tube usurping traditional glass,” she writes. Constructed with a combination of 3D design software and traditional technique, each piece is hand fused and slumped to create the half-meter-wide flowers. They undergo multiple firings.
Of course, unlike living orchids, Hart’s sculptures prove their durability by their failure to wilt. Head to Instagram and Facebook to follow her vibrant works, and see which are available for purchase from Vessel Gallery.
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San Francisco-based artist Zai Divecha fashions countless pleats, creases, and flaps for her monochromatic paper sculptures. From geometric tessellations to flat sheets with dozens of rounded cuts and points, Divecha’s pieces accentuate the relationships between light and shadow and natural and manufactured elements.
Her inspiration is wide-ranging and includes “bathroom tiles, clouds, storm drains, the ‘skeletons’ of dead cactuses, peeling bark, raindrops on a car window, rock formations, ornate screens in Islamic architecture.” The artist also has woven data into her textured pieces, creating four artworks that represent HIV and AIDS diagnoses in San Francisco from 1992 to 2018. Each piece contains a series of cut flaps to visualize the number of cases.
In a statement, Divecha said her fascination with paper is derived from transforming an ephemeral, mundane substance into a permanent artwork. Only recently has she employed a single color. “The all-white palette allows me to create pattern and texture with just light and shadow alone, which feels soothing to me. I aim to create work that makes people feel centered, quiet, and focused,” she said. “I want my work to feel like a respite from an overstimulating world.” The move coincided with a switch in her personal life to limit her sensory input, meaning she forgoes fragrance and sets strict boundaries on the noises she consumes.
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