In cities around the world, trash has started to take on a new face—literally. In the middle of the night, street artist Francisco de Pájaro has been adorning garbage with fiendish faces and gangly limbs. His collage materials include stuffed plastic bags, abandoned mattresses, and soiled cardboard—anything that has been left on the curb to rot. The result is a cast of absurd, endearingly twisted (and occasionally perverted) monsters that populate the streets in various states of exuberant disarray until they are swept off by a garbage truck.
Accompanying each site-specific creation is de Pájaro’s signature statement: “Art is Trash,” referring to his subversively creative celebration of human debris. Garbage—the output of our material, earthly lives—is usually a miserable sight, symptomatic of our obsessive consumption and the processes of decay. By bringing humor to such unpleasant sights, de Pájaro allows pedestrians in London, Barcelona, New York and more to engage with trash in a more thought-provoking way—one that playfully criticizes consumerism and examines our fear of death and abjection. As the artist’s about page describes,
“Art Is Trash is the hypnotic hand that resuscitates the cadavers of hyper consumerism—the trash—back to fruition in our current, material, state of consciousness. The process behind every installation is a ritual, similar to a shamanic one. A ritual of connection with Mother Nature, where [the] life of matter is a cycle that never ends. Francisco’s work reflects the analogy that exists between the life cycle of the objects and that of physical bodies. Both never cease to exist. They continue to live in parallel realities. The cadavers of consumerism live a new life in the urban, artistic realm.” (Source)
“Art is Trash” is currently on tour in New York. Check out the artist’s website to see which streets his moldering-yet-merry creations will be inhabiting next. De Pájaro also recently published a book documenting this project. (Via Design Faves)
A rainbow colored sky as a sole view. This is the dream-like scenery imagined by English artist Liz West. In a room where nothing else can be the attraction other than a multitude of colored neons reflected on mirror covered floor and walls. A place where senses and emotions relay thoughts and worries.
‘An Additive Mix’ installation is part of the group show Light Fantastic: Adventures in the Science of Light at the National Media Museum in Bradford, UK. It is a tremendous piece of art comprised of 250 fluorescent lights and 199 different colors. Aware that she has chosen to express her creativity through a rare medium she is proud to have found her signature in using light and colors. The large scale installation reflects the genuine palette the artist wanted to use in order to design an astonishing environment for the public.
An aesthetic Liz West has been nurturing for a long time. Fascinated by colors, and the way they mix together, releasing beams and streams of perfect white light. She wished the viewer could be amazed, tip toeing before entering and being part of the art itself. The purpose being to place the body into a foreign context, powerful and mysterious.
‘I have designed An Additive Mix to be an overwhelming, intense, immersive experience.’
A thousand chairs creating chaos in the middle of a plaza. Baptiste Debombourg is the messenger from the skies. With his installation ‘Stellar’ he transports us above and beyond infinity. A snapshot of a movement, dancing chairs all linked in the air to connect with the public once landed on the ground, is the artist’s vision for this temporary installation.
It took Baptiste Debombourg 1200 chairs, 300 meters of steel tubes and 11 months to set up the installation in the middle of plaza du Bouffay in Nantes, France. Chairs are an important part of the six coffee shops symmetrically facing the plaza, they are the symbol of conviviality. Imitating that concept, he created the installation, structured yet taking us elsewhere, a relaxing place. From each coffeeshops, the sculpture can be perceived from a different angle; creating a different point of view.
Baptiste Debombourg was inspired by the French artist Robert Delaunay’s installation exhibited in 1937 (see the black and white photo far below). The shape’s roundness and exhilarating feeling is reproduced, except the artist chooses to incorporate ordinary materials: chairs that come in six different colors. His purpose is to nourish the eyes, to get a reaction and to defy specific contexts. In many of his installations he is not afraid to deconstruct and recompose, preferring being close to reality and see his work alive.
Baptiste Debombourg’s ‘Stellar’ installation can be viewed at the plaza du Bouffay in Nantes, France until August 2015.
Off the coast of Hinoba-an in the Negros Islands region of the Philippines, artist Azuma Makoto has constructed a floating, 13-foot-tall bouquet of Heliconia flowers and banana leaves. Shimmering against the ocean horizon in stark contrasts of red, green, and blue, the installation rises like a paradisiac mirage. Entitled “In Bloom #2,” the project juxtaposes terrestrial environments with the sea, bringing art and floral life where there would otherwise be open space. The following artist’s statement describes the construction and context of the art-island:
“A 4-meters long botanical sculpture consist[ing] of approximately 10,000 red Heliconia [was] installed on a simple raft used by the local fisherman. With nothing block[ing] the harsh sunlight, blown by salted water, the sculpture of flowers quietly floated in the cobalt blue ocean. The ocean accounts [for] 70% of the surface of the earth, and therefore it created [a] magnificent stage for the project.” (Source)
Following “Exobiotanica” — an exceptional project wherein Azuma sent boticanical arrangements into the stratosphere — “Bloom #2” demonstrates his creative goal to explore the visual and thematic effects of putting flowers in “environments where nature does not allow them to exist” (Source). The result is a detached form of beauty. Azuma’s work brings up questions of nature and place, and, by doing so, fosters an appreciation for the Earth’s harsh, disparate, and yet ultimately connected environments.
Artist Nespoon, based in Warsaw, knows how to make people smile and forget, just for a second their worries. Random streets, abandoned spaces and tree trunks is where the artist chooses to install her intricate lace patterns, taking street art to another level. She stencils sidewalks, sprays signposts and hangs handmade crochet with no other intention than to create a surprise for the streetwalkers.
She calls her art “public jewelry”. Her devotion to making the streets look prettier is poignant. The lace patterns she uses are traditional, bold and extremely detailed for their sizes. She is inspired by textiles and makes sure to outsource local suppliers. The geometric and airy patterns generate harmony. Just what a busy jungle city needs: peace and beauty. By adding a touch of femininity to urban spaces, the city becomes lively and vibrant.
Lace has a special meaning for Nespoon. It has a history that speaks to the majority, mostly women. As for centuries, women were the only one crocheting, leaving a heavy heritage that can be now counterbalanced to their own benefits. They can recognize in the artist’s work a familiarity, a deja-vu and embrace the installations. (via Behance).
Artist Megan Straeder’s most recent work is a hanging installation, a display of brilliant light work in intricately woven nets placed descending a staircase. Appropriately on display at the Brisbane Powerhouse, her work breathes modernity and is reminiscent of 3D blueprints and 1980s computer technology. She cites Portal and the 2002 film Teknolust as visual inspirations for her work, she works with a lot of neon lights and futuristic elements. She plays with light and dark in this project, and makes use of a necessary darkness to be able to create such a stunning display of lights.
Straeder describes her piece as a “space age environment” inspired by “visions of the future”. Her work does reflect heavy inspiration from such decors and it might even remind you of Tron. Straeder describes this installation as a “vortex of light and color” and, the fact that the piece is hanging in a staircase reinforces its ethereal aspects. Enrichment Center constitutes the perfect décor for a houseparty featuring a futuristic techno soundtrack and probably lots of drugs.
The power of this pieces lies both within its sources of inspiration and the fact that, through these sources and her own creativity, Straeder has created a transmedia art piece and a reflection on what we perceive as futuristic imagery.
The German graffiti crew have covered Palmitas, a Mexican city with swirls of rainbow colors in a giant mural, hoping to change some of the damaging behavior and negative attitudes there. The community-focused team took to the hillside village and splashed neon bright paint all over the sides of houses, garden walls, fences, window frames and roofs.
Covering more than 209 houses, the super sized mural is dramatic, eye catching and apparently achieving quite dramatic results within Palmitas. Together, the graffiti group (called Germen Crew) and the Mexican government hoped the mural would be a step toward rehabilitation of the Mexican town. Known for drug-related problems, the community is quietly changing it’s focus. The power of color is working.
The mural directly affects around 500 families and apparently is eliminating youth violence and street crimes. The power of the mural is not overlooked and goes to prove that the graffiti crew really does focus their artistic skill on the community. Seeming like such a simple project, the psychedelic rainbow mural has definitely changed the character of the town, and no doubt the characters of the inhabitants. Such a great example of artist organizations and government working together to benefit the locals. (Via Bored Panda)
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)