Memory and Knowledge Intertwine in Chiharu Shiota’s Immersive String Installations
In Signs of Life, a dense installation of knotted and wound string fills much of Galerie Templon’s New York space. The work of Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota (previously), the solo show transforms the gallery into a monochromatic labyrinth of intricate mesh that ascends from floor to ceiling. Shiota considers the multivalent meaning of the web, from the structure of neural networks within the human brain to the digital realm today’s world relies on.
One of the works features bulging cylinders and dangling threads in red, while another white structure traps numerous book pages within its midst. Created during a two-week period, Shiota envisions the installation as connecting personal memory and the collection of knowledge. “I always thought that if death took my body, I wouldn’t exist anymore,” she says. “I’m now convinced that my spirit will continue to exist because there is more to me than a body. My consciousness is connected to everything around me, and my art unfolds by way of people’s memory.” The show also includes previously unseen drawings and sculptures, many of which contain quotidian objects that prompt questions about how items become meaningful, sentimental, and precious with use.
Signs of Life is on view through March 9. You can find more from Shiota on her site and Instagram.
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From Play to Politics, Artist S.C. Mero Transforms Los Angeles’s Streets into Sites of Satire
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.
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Quaint and Deceptive Hand-Drawn Installations Question the Concept of Home and Belonging
Our understandings of home are fundamentally personal, determined by an evolving mélange of factors like location, culture, and the people in our lives. Born in Estonia to a Siberian family and later educated in France, artist Anastasia Parmson has long considered this idea and what it means to feel at ease within a space. “I feel like my concept of home is always evolving alongside my practice and my personal experiences,” she tells Colossal. “I do still see drawing as a form of home that I create for myself—a little space where I feel like I truly belong.”
Now living and working in Sydney, Parmson continues to question what creates that sense of comfort and connection by envisioning living areas and bedrooms as a sort of blank canvas. She paints walls, furniture sourced from resale shops or trash bins, and domestic objects like coffee mugs and potted monsteras in white and then draws details in black. Custom vinyl flooring with hand-rendered wood grain and wall panels line the perimeters, and the life-sized works often feature quaint, cozy details like patterned rugs and billowing drapes, in addition to pop culture references through books and framed artworks.
Falling at the intersection of two and three dimensions, the immersive installations are minimal in execution—based on the humble line drawn in a monochromatic palette—in an effort to define the contours of the concept while leaving the specifics open for interpretation and evolution. She explains:
What if home is not defined by an address, a space, or a geographical location? What if, instead, it is defined by the people in our lives? Maybe home is not a place, but a person. That feeling of being truly seen and understood by someone. That feeling of timelessness and ease when you reconnect with an old friend after many long years and realise that you can pick up the conversation as if no time has gone by at all. Maybe home is inter-personal connections and a sense of togetherness.
Parmson’s works are on view in several group exhibitions this fall, including through October 30 at Bendigo Art Gallery, through December 11 at Grafton Regional Gallery, and from October 12 to November 20 at Woollahra Gallery. She will also host a studio sale of smaller pieces in the coming months, so keep an eye on her Instagram for updates.
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A Nearly 500-Page Monograph Chronicles Three Decades of Olafur Eliasson’s Practice
A forthcoming monograph published by Phaidon packs the inimitable career of artist Olafur Eliasson (previously) into nearly 500 pages. Spanning from the 1990s to today, the expanded edition comprises a breadth of works, including “The Weather Project,” the widely acclaimed installation that took over Tate Modern in 2003, and the more recent “Life,” which flooded Fondation Beyeler in Basel last year with murky green waters. This new volume contains hundreds of photos and illustrations paired with writing by Michelle Kuo, Anna Engberg-Pedersen, and the artist himself and reflects on both the monumental public installations and smaller works that define his practice. Olafur Eliasson, Experience is currently available for pre-order on Bookshop.
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Studio Other Spaces Designs a Conical Structure with 832 Vibrant Glass Panels That Reflect Sonoma’s Weather
A bold, conical structure stands on The Donum Estate in Sonoma Valley, casting a vibrant kaleidoscope of 24 colors underneath its canopy. The work of Studio Other Spaces—artist Olafur Eliasson (previously) and architect Sebastian Behmann co-founded the Berlin-based studio in 2014— “Vertical Panorama Pavilion” is “inspired by the history of circular calendars,” containing 832 glass pieces arranged around an oculus opening to the north.
Drawing on the microclimate of the vineyard, the studio constructed the mosaic of translucent and transparent panels using meteorological measurements of solar radiance, wind intensity, temperature, and humidity. A winding gravel path leads to the outdoor seating area, and as the sun passes over the area, it drenches the brick construction in a full spectrum of color, a contrast to the Northern California landscape.
Find production photos of the pavilion and explore more projects from Studio Other Spaces on its site and Instagram. (via designboom)
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A Bold, Architectural Installation Recreates an Ancient Roman Gatehouse with Messages of Belonging
Temporarily occupying the site of the ancient Housesteads Roman Gatehouse at Hadrian’s Wall, a vibrant installation by British artist Morag Myerscough recreates the structure that once stood on the bucolic landscape in northern England. “The Future Belongs To What Was As Much As What Is” is a bright, architectural reinterpretation of the 2nd-century building, reaching the same 8.5 meters high and 12.5 meters wide as the original construction. A staircase tucked inside the scaffolding allows visitors to climb to an upper outpost and look over the landscape, offering a view that’s been unavailable for the last 1,600 years.
To create the patchwork, typographic facade, Myerscough collaborated with community members and poet Ellen Moran. Each panel is bright and geometric, and while some reference artifacts found on the site, many contain messages relating to borders, connecting the historic landmark that once defined the edge of the Roman empire to contemporary immigration issues. “We hope that placing such a bold contemporary art installation in this ancient landscape will not only capture people’s imagination but maybe also challenge their ideas of what the wall was for. Not just a means to keep people out, but a frontier that people could— and did—cross,” says Kate Mavor, the chief executive of English Heritage.
The installation opens on July 30 to coincide with the wall’s 1,900th anniversary and will be up through October 30. (via Dezeen)
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