with Steve Messam
Bulbous Inflatable Installations by Steve Messam Interact with Historic Architecture and Landscapes
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.
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An Inflated Roof of Spikes Protrude From a Crumbling Scottish Gatehouse
Three white inflatable installations protrude from the landscape in Scotland’s Mellerstain’s House and Gardens, works that inhabit two aging structures and a lake that belongs to the estate built in 1725. The installations, which are collectively titled XXX, are by environmental artist Steven Messam (previously) and aim to present a contemporary twist on the marble sculptures that were meant to originally decorate the home’s grounds.
As of this year the grounds have been opened as a site for open-air contemporary works, with Messam’s pieces creating the first exhibition at the newly opened Borders Sculpture Park. Scattered, a series of 6 to 13-foot spheres bob on the surface of the lake, available for investigation by the small canoes one can rent on site. Pointed, a spiked protrusion from the former gatehouse of the estate, fills the center of the building, extending out only from the roof in a series of 28 10-foot peaks. Finally, Towered juts from the center of a crumbling old laundry building in a series of tubes, its columns reaching over 26-feet-high.
The County Durham-based artist mainly works outside of the gallery, producing ephemeral installations like 2015’s PaperBridge which spanned a small English creek with 22,000 perfectly stacked pieces of bright red paper. You can see more from his XXX installation, and view future Border Sculpture Park exhibitions on the park’s Instagram. (via DesignBoom)
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PaperBridge: A Load-Bearing Arch of Paper Sheets Spans an English Creek
While it’s certainly not the longest, this weight-bearing structure is definitely one of the more interesting bridges we’ve come across. Unveiled earlier this month, PaperBridge is the latest site-specific installation by environmental artist Steve Messam. It was constructed using 22,000 sheets of bright, red paper. And despite weighing in at over 4.2 tons, the free-standing structure doesn’t have a single screw, bolt or swab of glue holding it together.
On an aesthetic level, PaperBridge acts as focal point that creates a stark contrast between the bridge and the lush landscape. But on a conceptual level, Messam explains the key relationship between the bridge and its surroundings:
Paper is a simple material made from wood pulp and water. The intensity of colour used in the bridge contrasts with the verdant landscape making a bold statement of form and design. Alongside this the materials used have a resonance with the natural environment and the construction of the bridge also reflects local architectural forms, specifically pack horse bridges found throughout the area. All of the paper used in PaperBridge will be recovered and returned to the Burneside Mill for recycling into new paper once the project ends. This transparent cycle is part of the overall environmental narrative of the piece.
PaperBridge was part of the ‘Lakes Ignite’ project. It was located in the Grisedale Valley, near Patterdale and the public was invited to walk across it before it gets taken down today. (via Designboom and The Kid Should See This)
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