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Art

Web-Like String Installations by Chiharu Shiota Hold Tension Between Absence and Existence

April 28, 2022

Grace Ebert

A profound sense of curiosity and a search for answers consumes Chiharu Shiota’s practice. The Osaka-born, Berlin-based artist is known for her massive installations that crisscross and intertwine string into mesh-like labyrinths. Simultaneously dense in construction and delicate and airy, the site-specific works rely on negative space and a recurring theme of “absence in existence,” Shiota tells Louisiana Channel in a new interview.

Chronicling the artist’s evolution and surveying her works across decades, the short film visits her Berlin studio, where a suspended boat hangs from the ceiling and Shiota shares some childhood paintings. She describes the latter medium as limiting her expression, prompting  her first interactions with string and the concept of “drawing in the air.” The film then follows Shiota to Cisternerne in Copenhagen, where she weaves a web of white string across the pillars filling the eerie space for her ongoing Multiple Realities exhibition, which is on view through November 30.

 

Shiota works with what she terms “philosophies of the moment,” creating sprawling installations designed to elicit visceral reactions from those in their presence. The colors are symbolic, with red conveying relationships between people, black the universe, and white the beginning and purity. “Strings break, get tangled or tied together—just like people cut relationships, get tied together or tangled. It’s very much the same,” she says.

Travel and being “on the move” are when she typically gathers ideas for works, which aren’t sketched before she realizes them fully in their intended space. When an exhibition closes, the strings are cut and discarded, further embodying the conceptual aspects of her practice that meditates on life and death. “What world will there be after your body has disappeared? When I die, and my thoughts and ideas are gone… I wonder what will become of me. I create my works searching for these answers.”

Shiota has pieces on view in cities around the world at the moment, including Paris, Essen, Germany, and Aomori, Japan, and you can see the full list on her site.

 

 

 



Illustration

Fragile Compositions of Perishable Goods Are ‘Hanging By a String’ in Illustrations by Vicki Ling

March 11, 2020

Grace Ebert

Hanging By a String, (2020), graphite and colored pencil. All images © Vicki Ling, shared with permission

In her series Hanging By a String, illustrator Vicki Ling explores the fragility and precarity of modern life. Through her towers of perishables, Ling very literally presents instability and catastrophes moments from happening. With a tug or slip of the red string that she wraps around everyday items, her compositions would topple. “We can observe society today has achieved a high degree of economic and technological development, yet we are contemporaneously struggling to keep up with the increasingly fast pace and materialistic nature of life,” Ling says of the project.

The Chicago-based illustrator tells Colossal that the string serves as a visual depiction of the tension that pervades contemporary life and disrupts any chance for complete harmony. Each element of beauty—the blooming florals, elegant edibles, and delicate teaware—is superficially pleasing and a distraction from the impending destruction.

Contemporary lifestyles tend to obscure various crises that spontaneously erupt, from privacy invasions to public health issues and from climate change to personal emotional disorders, etc. Often our preoccupations are so overwhelming that they lead us to conceal our anxiety in oblivion. I’m interested in surfacing that sense of tension and insecurity and raise these issues to our collect(ive) consciousness.

For more of Ling’s perilous projects, head to her Instagram or Behance.

 

 



Art

Ultraviolet Light Transforms Large-Scale String Art Into Intergalactic Installations

May 8, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Krakow-based duo Przemek Podolski and Marta Basandowska create immersive environments from hundreds of yards of string illuminated by black lights. The deftly woven temporary structures range from simplified cubes to intricate systems that commingle geometry, ultraviolet light, and multi-colored string. Recently the pair have begun to incorporate projection mapping into their installations, which adds another layer of intrigue to the the trippy hand-built works. You can see more of their large-scale string pieces, and view installations included in their new project Decode the Code, on their website and Facebook. (via Colossal Submissions)

 

 



Art

An Ethereal Rainbow of Thread Fills a Gallery at the Toledo Museum of Art

November 18, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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All images provided by the Toledo Museum of Art, photographs by Andrew Weber

Mexican-born mixed media and installation artist Gabriel Dawe (previously here, here, and here) produces rainbow installations that appear as refracted light beams, ethereal works composed of thousands of multicolor threads. His most recent installation, Plexus no. 35, graces the Toledo Museum of Art’s Great Gallery, its brightly colored composition contrasting the surrounding rich shades found in the paintings of old masters.

The site-specific work was designed especially for the museum and will be on display through January 22, 2017. You can see previous installations a part of Dawe’s Plexus series on his website and Instagram.

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Art Craft

Jay Mohler Updates the Traditional Craft of Homespun God’s Eyes to Create Elaborate Masterpieces up to 48 Inches Wide

July 23, 2015

Kate Sierzputowski

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Far more than just popsicle sticks and yarn, Jay Mohler‘s Ojos de Dios or “God’s Eye” mandalas update the craft often seen at sleepaway camps and elementary classrooms. Upwards of 15 colors of yarn are included in his elaborate mandalas, producing pieces that span up to 48 inches in diameter.

Mohler has been crafting Ojos de Dios since 1966, inspired by both Huichol natives of Mexico, and monks from Tibet. The Asheville, North Carolina-based artist began making 8-sided pieces when they grew in popularity as folk art in the 1970’s American Southwest, selling them at tourist gift shops around Albuquerque, New Mexico. Most recently Mohler has been producing 12-sided works that he recognizes as potentially spiritual objects, but explains, “I create these for artistic satisfaction rather than as any sort of spiritual talisman.”

Not only does Mohler sell his own elaborate pieces, but he also creates DIY kits for fans to make their own work. You can buy both his finished pieces and kits on his Etsy page and find detailed instructions for making your own mandalas here. (via The Jealous Curator)

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Art Design

A Massive Inflatable String Jungle Gym by Numen/For Use

February 13, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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Created by Croatian-Austrian collective Numen/For Use, String Prototype is a design for an inflatable volume containing a network of cables that can be explored similar to a jungle gym. The design group is known for their large-scale interactive environments made from tape and netting and this is their first foray into what they call “large geometric inflated objects.” Via the project site:

When the volume deflates, the ropes get loose and lay on the ground enabling compression of the installation. When the object inflates, the ropes tense to a perfect line again, strained enough to carry the weight of a human being. Bodies entrapped in 3D grid, flying in unnatural positions throughout superficial white space, resemble Dadaist collages. Impossibility of perception of scale and direction results in simultaneous feeling of immenseness and absence of space.

The project is currently in development and you can see much more of it here. (via Designboom)