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Art

Bordalo II Combines Salvaged Neon Tubes, Industrial Materials, and Other Waste into Lively Trash Animals in a New Retrospective

October 7, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Bordalo II, shared with permission

A seven-meter-tall squirrel made of railway dividers, decommissioned industrial hoses, and shopping carts in disrepair opens a massive retrospective from Portuguese artist Bordalo II (previously). Spanning ten years of his career, EVILUTION reflects the environmental themes the artist has been drawn to for at least the last decade that are reflected through his signature Trash Animals, creatures comprised of entirely salvaged materials. Spray-paint cans are slotted into an abstract mosaic of a raccoon, while neon tubing illuminates a range of sculptural creatures including a fox, spider, and even a snail strapped to an electric scooter.

EVILUTION, which opens this weekend at the Edu Hub of Lisbon, exposes the incredible array of material humans discard and how such waste affects the environment and biodiversity. The show also marks Bordalo II’s first foray into neon, which he describes in a statement:

It’s unbelievable what people throw away. Many of our sculptures use obvious household trash, but we want to show that there’s a whole ecosystem of junk laying around out there that is threatening nature. That includes things like generations of broken neon tubes, which most people wouldn’t ever think about…EVILUTION is a kind of retrospective of everything I’ve been doing over the last ten years and also a way of looking towards the future.

Head to the artist’s Instagram for a preview of the exhibition, which runs from October 8 to December 11.

 

 

 

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Art

Bulbous Inflatable Installations by Steve Messam Interact with Historic Architecture and Landscapes

October 5, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Spiked” (2021). All images © Steve Messam, shared with permission

U.K.-based artist Steve Messam is known for his artistic interventions in the landscape, reinterpreting historical monuments, buildings, or rural areas with bold, ephemeral installations. Often inflated, his works reimagine or disrupt perceptions of our surroundings and impact how people move around and through them. Bright colors and striking forms that jut from colonnades, facades, and river banks prompt viewers to consider their relationships to the built environment.

As part of BlowUp Art Den Haag, a three-week outdoor exhibition featuring large-scale, temporary, inflatable artworks throughout The Hague, the artist has unveiled new work marking two notable locations. For one, a bronze statue of William I, or Willem de Oranje, who founded the Netherlands as an independent nation, a tube of green spikes playfully encircles the monument, transforming the atmosphere of the main square it overlooks.

You can find more work on Messam’s website and Instagram.

 

“Oranje,” (2022). Photo by Pim Top / Hague & Partners

Left: “Bridged” (2021). Right: “Multiform*” (2022)

“Portico” (2022)

“Oranje.” Photo by Pim Top / Hague & Partners

“Tunnel,” (2022). Photo by Pim Top / Hague & Partners

 

 



Art

Street Artist Blu Protests the Valencia Port Expansion with a Tumultuous Battle Between Nature and Guards

October 5, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Blu, shared with permission

The legendary anonymous street artist known as Blu has spent his career critiquing the ills of capitalism, the carceral system, and the destruction of the environment, among myriad other problems afflicting the world today. One of his most recent projects brought him back to Sensemurs Valencia to paint a charged mural protesting the expansion of the port in the Spanish city.

The 2022 festival centered around the government’s extension of the industrial area to the north, which would “mean, among many other things, the final lunging to the beaches of l’Albufera (and) the multiplication of air pollution of ships and truck traffic.” Part of a movement to halt the proposal, the public art event brought several muralists to the city, including Blu, whose multi-part work features a battle between fist-shaped trees and port defenders. Similar to some of his earlier projects, this piece is designed as a sequence that when photographed and stitched together, creates an animation. Yellow shipping containers morph into armored guards, who are swiftly pummeled and destroyed as nature resurges from the ground.

To see more of Blu’s recent works, including a piece speaking to the current fossil fuel crisis, visit his site and Instagram.

 

 

 

 



Art

From Play to Politics, Artist S.C. Mero Transforms Los Angeles’s Streets into Sites of Satire

October 4, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Vote-by-Mail” (2020). All images © S.C. Mero, shared with permission

An explosive mushroom cloud, an absurdly large bike lock, and a lobster served up from a pothole are a few of the installations from artist S.C. Mero that relay both the irony and irreverence of modern life. Working across Downtown Los Angeles for the last decade, the artist transforms infrastructure into temporary sites of critique and play. “Both of those realities are equally true not only of my environment but life itself,” she says. “Given the nature of this neighborhood, the subject matter can seem quite political because the disparity of wealth and its consequences are more apparent here.”

Many pieces utilize crumbling streets or areas the city has yet to fix as the base. In creating a miniature streetside swimming pool, for example, Mero left the soy sauce packet, cigarette butts, needle caps, leaves, and other debris found in the exposed manhole before she covered the cavern with plexiglass. Those objects are now frozen under the clear material and surrounded by lounge chairs and a diving board fit for Barbies and Kens.

Other works like “Vote-by-Mail,” which is included in a group exhibition on view through December 10 at Torrance Art Museum, are more explicit in their commentary on contemporary issues. Directly speaking to the rampant voter suppression of the 2020 elections, the blue post office box stands atop legs that are unreasonably tall, making it impossible to drop a ballot.

Currently, Mero is working on a sculpture that will be included in the next show at Shit Art Club opening later this month. She’s also planning a series of works with the Fashion District’s business improvement organization and plans to transform the battered concrete spheres lining a traffic median into a new piece each month. “It’s the first time I’ve worked in collaboration with the city or property owners. I think it’s a cool story considering they were the ones who removed most my artwork when I first started,” she says.

Find more of Mero’s satirically minded works on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Milkweed, Cypress Spurge, and Other Native Plants Soar into the Sky in Mona Caron’s Poetic Murals

September 27, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Balsamorhiza” (2022), Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, California. All images © Mona Caron, shared with permission

Towering far above their real-life counterparts, the wild specimens that populate Mona Caron’s murals emphasize nature’s inherent beauty and resilience. Clusters of pink petals peek out from behind curled milkweed leaves in Denver, while the wispy stalks of a euphorbia plant sprout flowering tendrils on an apartment complex in Bellinzona, Switzerland. Many of the botanic murals shown here are part of the San Francisco-based artist’s ongoing Weeds series, which places flourishing plants among largely urban environments as a metaphor for the endurance of the natural world.

Caron (previously) has been prolific as of late, having worked in several cities around the world, and you can find glimpses into her process and information about her subject matter on Instagram.

 

“Milkweed” (2022), in Denver, Colorado, for Broadstone Kendrick

Detail of “Balsamorhiza” (2022), Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, California

“Euphorbia” (2021-2022), Bellinzona, Switzerland

“Euphorbia” (2021-2022), Bellinzona, Switzerland

“Milkweed” (2022), in Denver, Colorado, for Broadstone Kendrick

Detail of “Milkweed” (2022), in Denver, Colorado, for Broadstone Kendrick

“Quebra-tudo, Abre Caminhos” (2022), in collaboration with Mauro Neri

“Quebra-tudo, Abre Caminhos” (2022), in collaboration with Mauro Neri

 

 



Art

Everyday Objects and Buildings Float Atmospherically in Cinta Vidal’s Perception-Bending Murals

September 19, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Public Space” (August 2022) in Toftlund, Denmark, curated by Kunstbureau Kolossal. All images © Cinta Vidal, shared with permission

It’s all about perspective in the multifaceted murals of Cinta Vidal, several of which the artist recently completed in Italy, Portugal, Germany, and Denmark. While some works focus on architectural details such as gable ends jutting out at unexpected angles or clustered together in mind-bending proportions, other pieces emphasize the relationships between people and their interactions within space or with each other as they navigate their shifting surroundings.

In preparation for a new project, Vidal researches the history and culture of an area and the buildings that surround the wall where she plans to work. Her characteristically suspended structures, household objects, and geometric shapes (previously) cast shadows and appear to sail through compositions that connect thematically to neighborhood or special events.  “All my murals play with their surroundings, reflecting and honoring the aesthetics and culture that surrounds them,” she tells Colossal. “I always do research, study the wall context, and paint a detailed sketch before going.”

Vidal’s painting “On Chairs” is also featured on the album cover of Tears for Fears’ latest album The Tipping Point. She is currently working toward a solo exhibition with Thinkspace Projects in New York in autumn of next year, and you can find more of her work on her website and Instagram.

 

“At work” (June 2022) in Covilhã, Portugal, for WOOL Urban Art Festival

“Neighborhood” (August 2022) in Horsens, Denmark, curated by Kunstbureau Kolossal.

“Behind” (July 2022) in Ludwigshafen, Germany, for Muralu Street Art

“Nonna” (July 2022) in Civitacampomarano, Italy, for CVTà Street Fest

A painted door in Civitacampomarano, Italy

Detail of “Behind”

“Neighborhood” in progress

“Public Space” in progress