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Janet Echelman’s Aerial Rope Sculpture Forms A Technicolor Cloud Above Boston

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Artist Janet Echelman has joined forces with global design firm Arup to create a magnificent sculpture, which is now hovering 365 feet above Boston. The sculpture is made up of polyethylene tied into half a million knots, the total weighing about a ton. In daylights it resembles a giant net but when night falls, it is illuminated in ways that echo the Northern Lights and give a new visual dimension to the piece.

Echelman’s craft is inspired by rope weaving techniques she picked up from fishermen during her time in India. In this piece, she has combined the functional aspects of a fishermen’s net and the complex, yet simple beauty of nature. The piece appropriately entitled “ As If It Were Here Already” reflects the way in which the piece is somewhat natural in its form, reminiscent of clouds, vines and even spiderwebs.

Her cocoon like sculpture is at the junction of the natural and artificial world which are in turn reinforced by the context of the piece: hanging above a major American city. The illuminated pieces of her sculpture change with the movements of the wind. Her collaboration with a group of engineers has also given her work a more technical, manufactured aspect. The combination craftsmanship, technology and art gives this piece a stronger voice in the sense that is also reflects what the city is made of. It gives a sort of supernatural aspect to the urban atmosphere and complements the night sky while fitting in perfectly with the city in the daytime, as if it were already there.

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Get Lost In This Massive 186 Ton Steel Labyrinth In Belgium

Gijs Van Vaerenbergh - labyrinth Gijs Van Vaerenbergh - labyrinth Gijs Van Vaerenbergh - labyrinth Gijs Van Vaerenbergh - labyrinth

Architecture duo known as Gijs Van Vaerenbergh have installed 186 tons of 5mm thick steel walls in Genk, Belgium, creating a dense labyrinth for visitors to navigate their way through. The dense maze is made from walls 5 meters high and creates an impressive structure of many corridors and industrial looking alleyways. The pathways and shapes of the labyrinth aren’t only rectangular, or flat either. The pair have cut out cylindrical and spherical shapes and voids in the maze, allowing for some very strange view points. The pair describe their project a bit more:

A series of Boolean transformations create spaces and perspectives that reinterpret the traditional Labyrinth is a sculptural installation that focuses on the experience of space. These Boolean transformations convert the walk through the labyrinth into a sequence of spatial and sculptural experiences. At the same time, the cutouts function as ‘frames’ to the labyrinth. Seen from some certain perspectives, the cut-outs are fragmentary, whereas from other viewpoints the entire cut-out shape is unveiled. (Source)

The pair are known for their ambitious, eye catching public installations and like to create architecture that reacts to or compliments the environment it is placed in. The particular installation is part of the 10th anniversary celebrations at the c-mine Arts Center which now stands where a coal mine once did. Gijs Van Vaerenbergh have taken ideas of the mine shafts below the surface and transferred them into their ideas for the labyrinth. They go on to say:

Furthermore, the production and construction processes remain visible in the final design. Visitors who ascend the mine shafts nearby, can view the labyrinth as a materialised floor plan and sculptural whole – a perspective that runs against what a labyrinth should do: conceal itself. (Source)

(Via Design Boom)

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Lou Paquet’s Stunning Photographs Merge Lonely Human Bodies With Nature

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Photographer Orlane Lou Paquet’s most recent work includes a number of models in a variety of landscapes. She places her subjects, nude in mythical, dreamlike landscapes and, by doing so, she has created her own magical land. Her dreams as well as notions of vast nature and solitude inspire her work. Her subjects can be seen lying on beaches, rocks and in forests and give a off a sort of atmosphere of silence that can only be found in nature.

She uses cool colors in her photographs in a such a way that they give off an eerie yet comforting energy that explores deeper notions of solitude and the relationship we have with nature. By placing the human body in such settings, she plays with the intertwining of humanity and Mother Earth in such a way that reminds of our place in nature.

She plays with the idea that nature, like solitude can both surround and engulf us in both frightening and beautiful ways. In this, the grandeur of nature is paralleled with the waves of emotion we are sometimes subject to as human beings, Paquet depicts humans as a small part of the greater detail and the mythological energy that fills her photographs is reminiscent of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the ways that is closely studies the power of nature and gives it a magical influence on human life. She focuses on the vastness of human emotion and aligns this vastness with the role nature plays in our lives and, on a greater scale our existence.

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Smoking Guns And Feathers: Steven Spazuk’s Drawings Made From Smoke

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Artist Steven Spazuk really is a master of smoke and mirrors. Well, definitely of smoke. He literally makes his unique images from the burning grey stuff. Using an open flame candle, Spazuk places paper above the heat, collecting deposits of carbon and leaving marks of smoke on his canvas. He then uses feathers, brushes and scraping tools to build his incredibly detailed images of gas masks, dying birds, weapons and soldiers.

His new series of work has just opened at Reed Projects Gallery in Stavanger, Norway (runs until Aug 23rd) Called Smoking Gun and Feathers, the exhibition is a haunting collection of warning images. They are a glimpse into our possible future if we keep abusing the world we inhabit.

Spazuk exposes our collective and institutionalized hubris: the arrogance and entitlement that leads to overconfidence, abuse of power and a distorted vision of success. The plight of birds is contextualized in harsh, yet stunning image compositions, symbolizes the vulnerability of all species in the face of such human egotism. His current work provokes a reflection on the drastic and global impact of our lifestyle on the Earth’s ecosystems. (Source)

 
We have also previously featured Spazuk’s work here on Beautiful/Decay, so even if you can’t make it to the exhibition, be sure to check out the back catalog of his amazing work.

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Dita Gambiro Uses Braided Hair As A Mean Of Expression For Her Feminine Sculptures

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Hair is one of the first feature that one can see on a person, so familiar that it’s almost disregarded. When it comes to Dita Gambiro’s pieces, the braided hair is what strikes the most. She creates feminine objects and symbols made out of real human hair. A dress, a purse, shoes and a heart shape, all of these sculptures are handmade and meaningful.

In Eastern culture, hair is an adornment. Symbol of beauty, it is often the representation of a woman’s power, good health and fertility. Dita Gambiro was born and raised in Indonesia where she cultivates memories of her mother and grandmother keeping snips of her hair. she also keeps snips of her friends’ hair and therefore grows a bigger attachement to that part of the body. The fact that she braids the hair on almost all of her sculptures is her way to meditate and find peace.

More than just pieces of hair forming objects, Dita Gambiro’s art pieces express the mix of different cultures. On one hand the braided hair representing Eastern culture, and on the other hand the snake carved into the metal hanger, which reminds of Adam and Eve’s snake in the Western culture.
By using such a singular mean of expression, the artist conveys us into her memories and her soul, reminding us that small details prevail over banalities such as a snip of hair. (via My Amp Goes To 11)

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Grotesque Hyper-Realist Sculpture Of A Fallen Angel Projects Loss Of Hope

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Chinese artists Sun Yuan and Peng Yu have materialized a tangible loss of hope with their most recent work simply entitled “Angel”. The life-size sculpture made entirely of silica gel, fibre glass, stainless steel, and woven mesh depicts a fallen angel caught in a net. The angel is depicted here as an old women, with all of the feathers gone from the wings lying at an angle that suggests she is not alive anymore. The sculpture is on display in a public setting, which gives it the role of an epic spectacle not only because of its aesthetic features but also for the message it carries.

The craftsmanship and work put into this piece are almost eerie in all their hyperrealist nature. The details put into emulating a human face and realistic, accurately sized wings contribute to the disturbing effect of the piece and bring an otherworldly being into a world in a brutal way that makes us assess the situation as if it were actually happening.

The symbolic value of such a piece lies in the idea of an angel being able to be of help to mankind, yet, in the powerless position Yuan and Yu have presented it, this role is diminished if not erased completely. This piece also explores the clash between the world of angels and the world of human beings, which are brought together here in a painful, if not catastrophic manner. The magnificent horror of this piece lies both in its strong visual and symbolic value and gives the viewers something to reflect upon.

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Body Talk: Natalie Fletcher’s Painted Bodies Create Optical Illusions

Natalie Fletcher - Painted Bodies

Natalie Fletcher - Painted Bodies

Natalie Fletcher - Painted Bodies

Natalie Fletcher - Painted Bodies

At first glance, these twisted, manipulated, and camouflaged bodies appear to be the work of a photographer who is very skilled in Photoshop. However, the subjects in these photographs are not the product of digital alteration, but were transformed at the hand of a simple paintbrush. Artist Natalie Fletcher uses the body as a canvas, applying her paint and imagination directly upon the skin of her subjects. Formally trained at art school, she broke away from the traditional method of painting after graduation and began her pursuit as a master of body art. The artist uses the lines and color applied by paint as a means to create a variety of different captivating and puzzling optical illusions.

In her series titled Just An Illusion, op art breathes new life on the skin of her subjects, as she covers the bodies in spiraling lines. The bends formed in the patterns seem to warp the bodies so to us they appear twisted, sunk in, and even cut open. In another series of Natalie Fletcher’s, titled Against the Wall, an illusion is still apparent, as each body has been blended into the background thanks to her painterly magic. In some cases, it is difficult for you to decipher where the wall stops and where the paint begins. Fletcher’s talents in body painting has not gone unseen, as she has won GSN’s “Skin Wars” and is in the process of traveling across the country, painting two bodies in each state.

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David Jay’s Portraits Of Injured Soldiers Expose The Impact Of War On Individual Lives

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In a powerful series of black-and-white portraits entitled The Unknown Soldier, New York-based photographer David Jay captures the devastation of war and the marks it leaves on individual lives. The project began while David was shooting The SCAR Project, a documentation of breast cancer survivors. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were in full tilt, and David decided that the public needed to see the intimate, bodily consequences of a system that perpetuates the mass injury and destruction of human lives.

Photographed at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the Brooke Army Medical Center, The Unknown Soldier features men and women who have been shot, struck by roadside bombs, and severely burned — stories of trauma which are bravely told by their scars and amputations. The essence of the photos, however, lies in the enduring strengths conveyed in each face as the individual confronts the viewer with their experience. In a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, David explains the greater aim of his project:

“[U]ltimately, The Unknown Soldier is not about war. It is about many things: Humanity, acceptance, responsibility. An understanding that [what] we do matters. What we say, what we think, matters . . . and [it] has repercussions that quite literally change the course of history.”

In a world where media coverage often turns injuries and deaths into abstract numbers, David has brought human subjects deeply into focus. Seeing these surviving soldiers evokes a sense of social responsibility that extends from the people we know in our immediate lives to those engaged in war. The Unknown Soldier reminds everyone that soldiers are not faceless causalities, and even though people may feel distant from such violent events, there exists a vital responsibility to examine and criticize a system and media that imperils and objectifies human lives. As David continues:

“I hope the images transcend the narrow and simplistic confines of ‘war’ and encourage us to examine the way we engage each other — both friend and stranger — at its most basic, day to day level, as it is these subtle, seemingly innocuous interactions that will ultimately lead us either to peace . . . or the continuum and carnage of war.”

Visit David Jay’s website to see more photos from The Unknown Soldier, as well as his other projects. (Via Feature Shoot)

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