wax

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Art

A Collection of Wax Sculptures by Artist Urs Fischer Is Burning in the Bourse de Commerce in Paris

August 10, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Bourse de Commerce, shared with permission

A diverse collection of life-size candles occupies the renovated rotunda of Bourse de Commerce in Paris, where it will spend the fall and winter slowly melting into pools of wax. The realistic sculptures are part of Untitled (2011), a redesigned installation by Swiss artist Urs Fischer (previously)—see some of the original works on Artsy—and were lit on the first day of the exhibition. Now partially melted, the ephemeral works are a “monument to impermanence, transformation, the passage of time, metamorphosis, and creative destruction,” a statement says.

At the center of the installation is an exacting replica of Giambologna’s marble “The Abduction of the Sabine Women” (1579-1582), with an effigy of Fischer’s friend and fellow artist Rudolf Stingel nearby. The figurative works are surrounded by seven chairs, four of which are modeled after seats from Mali, Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Ethiopia that are part of the collection at Musée du Quai Branly Jacques Chirac. Paired with an airline bench, rolling office chair, and mass-produced garden seat, the eclectic array speaks to the ongoing effects of colonization and globalization.

Untitled (2011) will burn daily through December 31, 2021, or until the wicks disintegrate. (via Ignant)

 

 

 



Art Craft Illustration

Whimsical Illustrations and Motifs Dyed with a Traditional Wax-Resist Method Cover Caroline Södergren's Eggshells

June 22, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Caroline Södergren, shared with permission

Formally trained in glassblowing, Stockholm-based artist Caroline Södergren transfers her experience working with a delicate, fragile material to an ornately illustrated collection of eggshells. She adapts the traditional Ukrainian craft called pysanky, a wax-resist method that involves drawing a design on a clean, empty chicken, turkey, goose, or ostrich egg with hot beeswax. The shell is then dipped in multiple baths of dye and the seal washed away with oil to reveal the colorful, layered design—you can watch the entire process in the video below.

The technique often is combined with folk art, although Södergren illustrates her own botanical motifs, beetles, and mythical creatures that stray from traditional designs. “You have to think before you start a pattern as the different color layers must come in the right order,” she says. “If you make a mistake with the wax, it is not possible to change, and a written line is where it is. A constant challenge that makes it so fun to work with!”

Konsthantverkets Vänner, an organization dedicated to supporting Swedish arts and crafts, just awarded Södergren a scholarship for her batik designs. Browse available eggs in her shop, and find a larger collection on Instagram. (via Lustik)

 

 

 



Design Music

A Retro Boombox Candle by Cent LDN Recreates a Hip-Hop Classic in Creamy Wax

April 7, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images via Cent LDN

Turn that Root Down into a meltdown with the first-ever candle replica of the boombox so iconic it’s simply referred to as “The King.” Cent LDN just released a retro design modeled after the legendary JVC RC M90 boombox—you might recognize this iconic device from LL Cool J’s Radio album cover and multiple photoshoots for the Beastie Boys. The hand-poured candle weighs more than four pounds, which is just a fraction of the actual electronic’s 22, burns for 100 hours, and is molded in cream-colored soy wax that’s both biodegradable and vegan.

Pick up one of the hip hop classics in the Cent LDN shop, where you’ll also find a Spalding basketball, and follow the London-based company on Instagram to watch for new releases. (via Plain Magazine)

 

 

 



Design

Create a Kaleidoscopic Coloring Experience with goober's Stackable Block Crayons

April 1, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © goober, shared with permission

goober’s brightly hued crayons are designed for mixing and matching, creating unique kaleidoscopic marks with every use. The Seoul-based company manufactures natural bean-wax tools shaped in LEGO-like forms that can be stacked into firetrucks and trees as easily as they can draw them. Pick up a four-pack of cars or seasonal color palettes in the Colossal Shop.

 

 

 

 

 



Art

Plants Embedded in Wax Sprout from Fragile Hands in Memory-Infused Works by Valerie Hammond

March 2, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Valerie Hammond, shared with permission

In Valerie Hammond’s series of wax drawings, protection is two-fold: the artist (previously) encases dried flowers and ferns in a thin layer of wax, preserving their fragile tissues long after they’ve been plucked from the ground. In outlining a pair of hands, she also secures a memory, or rather, “the essence of a gesture and the fleeting moment in which it was made.”

Centered on limbs lying flat on Japanese paper, the ongoing series dates back to the 1990s, when Hammond made the first tracing “partly in response to the death of a dear friend, whose beautiful hands I often found myself remembering.” She continued by working with family and friends, mainly women and children, to delineate their wrists, palms, and fingers. Today, the series features dozens of works that are comprised of either hands tethered to the dried botanics, which sprout outward in wispy tendrils, or others overlayed with thread and glass beads.

Although the delicate pieces began as a simple trace, Hammond shares that she soon began to overlay the original drawing with pressed florals, creating encaustic assemblages that “echoed the body’s bones, veins, and circulatory systems.” She continued to experiment with the series by introducing various techniques, including printmaking, Xerox transfers, and finally Photoshop inversions, that distorted the original rendering and shifted her practice. Hammond explains:

The works suddenly inhabited a space I had been searching for, straddling the indefinable boundary between presence and absence, material and immaterial, consciousness and the unconscious. For me, they became emblematic not only of the people whose hands I had traced but of my own evolving artistic process—testimony to the passing of time and the quiet dissolution of memory.

Hammond’s work recently was included in a group show at Leila Heller Gallery. Her practice spans multiple mediums including collage, drawing, and sculpture, all of which you can explore on her site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

60,000 Bees Recreate the Nefertiti Bust and Other Classic Sculptures in Wax with Artist Tomáš Libertíny

January 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Eternity” (2019-2020), natural beeswax, wood, glass, Cor-ten steel, 230 x 100 x 100 centimeters. All images © Tomáš Libertíny, shared with permission

Tomáš Libertíny prefers to collaborate when recreating iconic busts and sculptures, although his chosen partners don’t join him in the studio. The Slovakia-born artist tasks tens of thousands of bees with forming the porous outer layers of classic artworks like the “Nefertiti Bust,” Michelangelo’s “Brutus,” and a large jug based on the “Nolan amphora” at The Met.

Encased in honeycomb, the resulting sculptures generate a dialogue between the newly produced organic material and art historical subject matter. Libertíny’s “Eternity,” for example, is based on a 3D model of the original portrait of Nefertiti and is “a testament to the strength and timelessness of the ‘mother nature’ as well as its ancient character as a powerful female reigning against the odds.” Similarly, the artist’s “Brutus” rests on a Coca Cola crate, a reference to Marcel Duchamp’s readymades, although his iteration diverges from the original as it questions “the fragility of fate and finding salvation” in modern times.

 

“Brutus” (2020), natural beeswax, wood, plastic, 160 x 70 x 60 centimeters

Currently based in Rotterdam, Libertíny provides professional beekeepers with a frame that the insects then colonize during the course of months and in the case of “Eternity,” two years. “I have to guide the building growth like you would with a bonsai, slowly string(ing) the workflow into places where you deem ideal,” he says. “The final result is always a surprise as it is not something you can completely predict like would with traditional craft techniques. It happens that I have to look at the finished piece for a couple of days in order to appreciate it fully.”

Beeswax as a material is inherently contradictory, the artist notes, because of its simultaneous ephemerality and durability—Libertíny’s sculptures have the potential to remain intact for thousands of years if maintained properly—a duality he’s been exploring since he began the Made by Bees series in 2005. “A beeswax candle is for me the best example of pure design. Absolutely nothing is styled about it. Everything about is a science of keeping the flame burning,” he says, explaining that the candle served as a catalyst for the ongoing series.

If you’re in Amsterdam, “Eternity” is currently on view as part of Libertíny’s solo show at Rademakers Gallery through January 30. Otherwise, follow the artist’s sculptures that explore contradiction and ephemerality on Instagram. For a similarly collaborative project, check out Ava Roth’s honeycomb-encased works. (via designboom)

 

“Eternity” (2019-2020), natural beeswax, wood, glass, Cor-ten steel, 230 x 100 x 100 centimeters

“Eternity” (2019-2020), natural beeswax, wood, glass, Cor-ten steel, 230 x 100 x 100 centimeters

“Brutus” (2020), natural beeswax, wood, plastic, 160 x 70 x 60 centimeters

“The Honeycomb Amphora” (2020), natural beeswax, museum glass, wood, re-used beehives
, 47 x 42 x 147 centimeters

“The Honeycomb Amphora” (2020), natural beeswax, museum glass, wood, re-used beehives
, 47 x 42 x 147 centimeters