Takeout Containers and Worn Sketchbooks by Artist Yoonmi Nam Explore the Permanence of Everyday Disposables
A kitchen table, countertop, or cluttered desk are all likely spots to encounter a piece by South Korean artist Yoonmi Nam. Encompassing ceramic sculptures and sparse lithographs, Nam’s body of work evokes “an ever-present, yet always changing still life,” one that displays the ubiquitous objects of her everyday in more permanent forms. A deep well to hold a bouquet carves out a stack of porcelain take-out containers, minimal prints depict a leafy branch resting in a fast-food cup, and splayed sketchbooks are covered with graph paper-style inlays that appear punctured, leaving frayed ends and stray lines.
Nam’s subject matter, whether a disposable container or notebook with a cracked cover, always has a limited lifespan, a recurring theme that tethers each of the works to questions about ephemerality and value. The artist elaborates in a statement:
I am drawn to man-made spaces and objects that we surround ourselves with, especially when they subtly suggest a contradicting sense of time that seems both temporary and lasting. In the arranged flower imagery, the flowers, once cut from their roots, have only a short remaining time to live. They will quickly wither and die, but before they do, they are elegantly and elaborately arranged, as if time will stand still for them. The containers that hold them are disposable objects, such as a yogurt cup, a Styrofoam take-out box, and an instant noodle bowl. These throwaway objects and cut flowers engage in a dialogue that speaks about impermanence and persistence.
Nam has a few ceramic pieces and lithographs available from Paradigm Gallery in Philadelphia, and some of her new delivery box-inspired sculptures are on view as part of 2021 Kansas City Flatfile + Digitalfile, which runs through October 14 at the Kansas City Art Institute. You also can explore a larger selection of her works on Instagram.
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In 1832, artist John Jesse Barker added depth to a drawing by Philadelphia-based William G. Mason to create an optical illusion titled “Horizontorium.” Part of a tradition of anamorphic works, this depiction of the Bank of Philadelphia is one of the two surviving works looking at the historic financial building designed by architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe. At the time, it was the unofficial bank of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that sat at the southwest corner of Fourth and Chestnut streets. The structure was razed in 1836.
Horizontoriums became popular throughout England and France in the 18th century, although this piece is the only one known to be made in America. Viewers would set the lithograph on a flat surface and perpendicularly position their face at the center of the work (note the semicircle on this lithograph suggesting a spot for a chin) to peer over the image. The sharp angle would produce a distorted perspective that appears to project the building and its passersby upward. Sometimes, viewers even would peek through a small hole carved out of paper or cardboard to block out their peripheral vision and give the work a more distinct look. (via Graphic Arts Collection, The Morning News)
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French street artist Julien Malland, known as Seth Globepainter (previously), currently has two solo exhibitions collectively titled Chambrum Rangeam, or “clean up your room,” at Dorothy Circus Gallery’s locations in London and Rome through December 24, 2018. The title references the common phrase uttered by ones’ parents in childhood in order to present a space of youthful freedom in the two concurrent shows. The exhibitions include new sculptures, like Malland’s piece “Scientia Potestas Est” (above) which presents a young boy on a stack of used books.
Malland also recently released a lithograph print that fuses the precision of printing with the often messy medium of spray paint. The piece, titled “The Ladder,” features a boy sitting on top of a singular cloud looking off into the distance. Propped against his resting place is a multi-colored ladder, produced by the artist in dripping lines of spray paint. For the limited edition, which was released on December 7th and has already sold out, Malland collaborated with the Parisian printing house Idem Paris. Although the base of each work will be uniform, his added hand-painted gestures make each completely unique.
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Buried in the archives of the British Museum is this wonderful series of lithographs from illustrator Charles Joseph Hullmandel that transforms the English alphabet into sweeping landscapes. Hullmandel was one of the most important figures in the advancement of British lithography in the first half of the 19th century. These particular pieces were produced sometime between 1818 and 1860 and you can see the full collection here. (via Juxtapoz)
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Highlights below. For the full collection click here.