Working with one of the most socially relevant and controversial topics of recent years, artists Pascal Leboucq and Lucas De Man have installed a clever take about what it means to be surveilled, to survey and to be under surveillance. Their EYE project consists of 5 enormous eyes built into the sides of different buildings around the Dutch city of Den Bosch that viewers are able to inhabit and experience a dramatic view of the city from.
Once inside the different buildings of the project (including a theater, a modern hospital, an old building ready to under go construction, a monument and a corporate building), observers are ushered to a seat, fastened in and wheeled out into the hanging structure. They are then immersed into a multimedia sound and video experience altering the way they are able to see themselves, their peers and their environment. Artist Lucas De Man says about the metaphor of eyes in this project:
A city with eyes is a city that looks and shows itself. No closed doors or shut windows, but open. We gave the city eyes so you can hang in the air above the world and look. Just look. (Source)
Lucas also talks about his desire for a more connected existence within cities, and how important it is to have these immersive experience to change our interaction with each other and within our shared environment.
Man wants to be heard and seen and has the need to share his vulnerability every now and then. The city must accommodate this need by being a place for, of and by people. (Source)
The Eyes are still open for viewing until November 1. They will then be on tour in 2015.
Japanese artist Junko Mizuno’s candy-colored works draw us into a world full of dark and erotic food fetishes. Meant as a metaphor the female sexual appetite and power, Mizuno’s illustrations feature women enjoying eggs, bacon, noodles, and more. Her maximalist style weaves geometric shapes, naked creatures, and luscious patterns into each composition. Coupled with the strong presence of a female character, it results in artwork that’s simultaneously grotesque, cute, playful, and alluring.
Mizuno’s inspiration comes from a range of historical and cultural influences, as well as traditions found in both Eastern and Western worlds. Fairy tales and the works of Aubrey Beardsley and Eric Stanton are also visible. Narwhal Contemporary writes about her paintings, stating, “One reoccurring image is that of the iconic multi-armed goddess cloaked in symbols of life and wisdom, surrounded by fleets of devoted minions and enveloped in flames that will never consume her.” They relish in their unapologetic gluttony.
Mizuno currently has work in a solo exhibition titled Ambrosial Affair at the Narwhal Contemporary in Toronto. This is the second in a three-part exhibition series titled Junko Mizuno’s Food Obsession. It’s on view until March 15 of this year.
Doug Johnston’s imagination knows no boundaries. His list of interests and mediums includes architecture, photography, installation, performance, music, and fiber art– which primarily involves stitching nylon thread around coiled rope to create functionally simple, yet playful forms.
His collection of weaving, shown here for example, includes a “wearable hut” for those looking for a unconventional dose of “anonymity and privacy” and deliciously modern “light sculptures” which structurally investigate varying unconventional shapes.
Opening tomorrow, September 27, is Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei’s exhibition @Large in the former San Francisco Bay prison, Alcatraz Island. The sculpture, sound, and mixed media installations are staged in four locations throughout the space: the New Industries Building; a group of cells in A Block; the Hospital; and the Dining Hall. Ai’s work inside creates a dialogue about how we define liberty, justice, and individual rights.
In 2011, Ai was secretly detained by Chinese authorities for 81 days, and is still not permitted to travel outside of the country. He was unable to visit Alcatraz during the planning of the show and was developed in his studio with the help of the FOR-SITE Foundation.
There are a variety of pieces in @Large, including Trace, which is 176 portraits of political prisoners and exiles made from LEGO blocks. The impressive works began at Ai’s studio in Beijing and were completed in San Francisco by a team of 90 volunteers. Cheryl Haines, the exhibition’s curator told the San Francisco Chronicle, “I’m overwhelmed by how remarkable it looks. This is the face of the individual in the fight for freedom, but it’s also a collective statement and to see the density and quantity of people that are incorporated in this work, I find deeply moving.”
In addition to Trace, there are six other themes: With Wind, a giant traditional Chinese dragon kite; Refraction, stunning metal wings; Stay Tuned, sound installation that occupies 12 cells; Illumination, the sounds of Tibetan Buddhist and Native American chants; Blossom, fragile floral bouquets; and Yours Truly, where visitors can write postcards to prisoners. (Via FOR-SITE and Artnet)
“I heard my song at Whole Foods like a half an hour ago… this is weird”, said Montreal’s Cœur de Pirate, aka Béatrice Martin who performed this past weekend in LA at the El Rey Theatre in front of a very enthusiastic crowd. At only 23 years old, she already has two award winning LP’s under her belt and three new nominations from the ADISQ (Association québécoise de l’industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo) this year, and she was invited to perform at the Francofolies first American event, A Tribute to Édith Piaf at New York’s Beacon Theatre tonight. I was more than happy that the busy young singer/songwriter graciously sat down with me to chat before her LA debut.
“It’s my first California tour, I did Portland and Sasquatch about a year ago when I was still pregnant so that was intense”. “I wasn’t expecting such a turn out” she says about her show at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall the night before. “I thought 3 people were gonna show up… it was packed… people that don’t know French and they’re just singing… it was really nice so I’m excited about tonight”.
Argentinian artist Lorena Guzman brings beautiful and twisted fairy tales to life on a daily basis. Using polyester resins and hobby materials she creates haunting scenarios complete with intricate details that continue to be uncovered the closer you look. She uses popular folk lore, bed time stories and myths as a base to her work. Guzman makes work about over-sized alligators who help monkeys cross rivers; genies who are spinning animals around on their fingers as a hypnotic trick; a surreal alpine landscape that is actually a coiled snake; an octopus who eats rabbits; and a crow who is building a cosy nest in the back of a skull.
Guzman chooses subjects that are curious, disturbing or grotesque in some way or another. Her Chihuahua Toy sculpture comments on the bizarre subculture of dog breeding and the type of monsters people choose to create. She asks if a two headed dog is really that much worse than Bull Terriers or Boxers that have been specifically chosen for features that, to some, are ugly.
Another piece is about a hunting mission that focused around catching the illusive albino hare in the Spanish town of Santa María de los Llanos. Pointing out our strange behaviors and traditions is what Guzman excels at. She has been prolifically creating work for over ten years. Be sure to check out her many other incredible sculptures.
Joshua Renouf, a designer based in London, has sleekly blended the morning routines of waking up and making coffee by building an alarm clock that doubles as a barista. The Barisieur uses induction heating produced by stainless steel ball bearings to heat the water before transferring it over to a stainless steel funnel for filtering. There’s even a spot big enough to store just the right amount of milk on the machine. The stainless steel tools paired with nicely finished wood lends the design of the Barisieur an elegance and simplicity. Renouf is currently in the process of developing the Barisieur, which will be available for a retail price of £150-£250 (around $250-$420). Included in the product’s description: “It encourages a ritual before going to sleep, signaling to the body and mind that is time to unwind and relax. Living slow when times are fast.” (via visual news)
Yellena James uses pen and ink to create truly exquisite forms. What starts out as a single shape or line blossoms into magnificent mushroom-jellyfish hybrids, feeding my affinity for all things under the sea! Her artwork has been so perfectly described as “colorful arrangements of organic shapes and tangled lines (which) are at once floral and alien, organic and sci-fi, crafty and fantastic.” With each piece she tries to “create an intimate world that posesses its own ethos and its own emotional range.”
She’s done illustration work for clients such as Anthropologie and Nike, and her work has appeared in numerous art and design resources and publications like Vogue Australia and Giant Robot.