Complete with spiraled tentacles, textured features, and toothy grins, the yarn-based creatures that Indonesian artist Mulyana knits and crochets take a playful, bizarre approach to ocean life. The artist frequently recreates what he refers to as the mogus, or octopus, as a mainstay in his underwater environments. Dotted with multiple sets of eyes, the creature has various iterations ranging in size, color, facial contortions, and number of tentacles. Each billowing mogus is presented suspended from the ceiling, giving it the appearance of floating through the ocean.
While many of Mulyana’s formations are brightly colored, the pieces in his Bety series (shown below) are crafted entirely in white to draw attention to coral bleaching caused by pollution. To maintain his own commitments to sustainability and community, Mulyana re-purposes the yarn that forms his textured corals and ocean life.
If you’re in New York, Mulyana’s sea creatures can be seen at Sapar Contemporary through August 21. Otherwise, keep up with the artist’s vibrant projects on Instagram, and check out where the mogus heads on its next adventure.
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Spanish artist Judit Just of jujujust (previously) crafts vibrant wall tapestries in improvised compositions using traditional and updated weaving techniques. Satin ribbons, viscose fringe tassels, silk threads, cord, and soft wool form unique color, texture, and shape combinations. While each piece is modeled after an original stored in the artist’s studio, the handmade nature of the process ensures that no two tapestries are the same.
These vertical works are hung from wooden dowels that are hand-painted to complement the neon colored textiles. Sizes vary, with some pieces measuring 25 x 25 inches and others stretching more than 3 feet. To witness Just’s weaving and cutting processes, follow her on Instagram. You can also add one of the wall tapestries to your personal collection by placing an order via the artist’s Etsy shop.
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Walking into the gallery space at Muzeum Śląskie that holds Chiharu Shiota’s installation Counting Memories, viewers are immersed in a sea of mismatched, old-fashioned wooden desks and chairs. From each desk, strands of black yarn rise up, tangling together in a dark cloud that consumes the entire upper portion of the high-ceilinged room. And within the cloud of yarn, white numbers are suspended like insects caught in an enormous spider web.
The spacing of the desks provides natural archways for visitors to pass under as they wander through the installation. At each of the nine desks, stacks of paper and pencils are available for viewers to respond to prompts such as “Which number has meaning to you and why?”, “Do numbers tell the truth?”, and “How many memories do you have?” In a statement on the exhibition, Shiota explains:
Each number defines us individually but also connects us universally. Numbers comfort us, we share dates that are important to us, and they help us understand ourselves. Our history is collected through numbers. In this way, the intertwined string reflects our history, while the numbers, which are scattered sporadically like the stars above Katowitz, represent the most meaningful dates we know.
Shiota (previously) is a Japanese artist who lives and works in Berlin. She is renowned for her large-scale installations that incorporate familiar objects embedded within networks of suspended black, white, or red threads. In addition to Counting Memories, which is on view through April 26, 2020 in Katowice, Poland, Shiota’s solo exhibition The Soul Trembles at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo will be touring Asia until 2021. Follow along with Shiota’s new work and global travels on Instagram and Facebook.
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In celebration of a partnership between London’s Heathrow Airport and Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, fiber artist Vanessa Barragão (previously) was commissioned to create a massive botanical tapestry. Using a range of techniques including latch hooking, felt needling, carving, crochet, Barragão mapped out and built up a textural surface that emulates a map of the world.
Earth’s diverse climates and topography are represented in yarn: the deserts of Australia and Africa are conveyed in warm, low-pile colors, whereas Barragão represented the lush rainforests of South America and the high peaks of central Asia with shaggy deep greens and coiling crocheted ridges. The artist also incorporated native plants like China’s Gingko biloba, European Cypripedium calceolus (lady’s slipper), and the coffee of Africa.
Barragão spent 520 hours on the piece, which is completely handcrafted and spans nearly 20 feet wide. The work is on view at Heathrow Airport’s departure area, echoing the diverse and globe-trotting guests who cross its path. To see more from the Porto, Portgual-based artist, follow Barragão on Instagram.
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Eric Rieger, known by the moniker HOTTEA (previously), is a graffiti writer turned installation artist whose medium of choice is yarn. With it, he creates colorful large-scale works inspired by the moments, experiences, and people in his life. Whether flowing down from the ceiling of a gallery, or interlaced across the top of a pedestrian pathway, Rieger’s installations always hold a connection to his past and those who helped shape it.
“Color to me represents memories and experiences,” Rieger told Colossal, “so in a way it is always in play. It all depends on what really strikes me at the moment of the installation.” When asked about his process, the artist revealed that it’s largely inspiration and concept that dictates form. “I have always let life unravel itself naturally and that informs my artistic practice. I let the space and my thoughts guide me, and from there I create a design based on what I am going through at the time.”
Rieger credits his retirement from graffiti as the catalyst that got him to his current work. “Not being able to paint anymore inspired to me to create something totally opposite,” he said, adding that the two practices are very different. “As a graffiti writer I only painted at night, I kept it from my family and I only practiced my artist name. Doing work under HOTTEA, I create all of my work during the day to interact with people, I share it with my family and create installations inspired by them… everything that I was as a graffiti writer I didn’t want to be as HOTTEA.”
Rieger’s grandmother taught him to knit at a young age, which is part of the family influence expressed through his work and his identity as an artist. “The very name HOTTEA is derived from a memory I have of my mother ordering hot tea on the weekends at Baker Square growing up,” he explained. “The name reminded me of all the good times we had as a family there and when my parents were still together. HOTTEA brings me absolute pure joy – it’s something I will fight for till the very end.” (via My Modern Met)
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Ana Martins, who works as Aheneah, recently reflected on the relaxed freedom of youth and captured that feeling in a cross-stitched intervention on a wall in Vila Franca de Xira, Portugal. The work is along a popular route to a local school, and is comprised of over 2,300 screws and nearly 760 yards of yarn.
The 22-year-old artist isn’t far from the experience of transitioning from student to adult. Martins shares with Colossal, “Every day, for many years, thousands of kids pass by this wall while going from home to school and from school to home. Most of the time just floating in their thoughts, lost in space, time and routine. Until their paths have to change directions. This happened to me a few years ago.”
She graduated in 2017 with a degree in graphic design, and in her professional work explores the connections between digital and analogue mediums, seeking to “deconstruct, decontextualize and transform a traditional technique into a modern graphic, connecting cultures and generations.” You can see more from Martins on Instagram and Facebook.
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Highlights below. For the full collection click here.