The Fallen, an installation by two British artists [Jamie Warley and Andy Moss], entails striking silhouettes of fallen soldiers on Arromanches beach in Normandy. The project is a tribute to the civilians, German forces, and Allies who lost their lives during the Operation Neptune landing on June 6, 1944 on Normandy Beach.
The artists, together with a team of volunteers, traveled to the site in order to create the silhouettes, which were individually drawn into the sand with pre-prepared stencils.
After the completion of about 9,000 imprints, the shapes were then left to wash away by the beach waves; a poetic visual composition that reminds us that life is temporary.
“The idea is to create a visual representation of what is otherwise unimaginable, the thousands of human lives lost during the hours of the tide during the Second World War Normandy landings. People understand that so many lives were lost that day but it’s incredibly difficult to picture that number.”
Veterans and families, including some who have lost loved ones in recent conflicts were involved in the ‘Fallen’ project. (Via DailyMail Online)
John Grade’s Capacitor is a site-specific installation which reacts to the climate of the site it inhabits. Located within the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, this enormous coil is roughly 40′ x 20′ x 20′ and slowly reacts to the changing wind directions and temperatures of the outside environment. Physically behaving according to statistics collected outside the institution, a mechanized controller within the installation powers the enormous coil’s shape. According to Grade, “the whole of the sculpture will appear to be very slowly breathing”. Capacitor also changes the brightness of the lights within the construct, giving an entire reaction to outside elements. (contemporist and artist’s site)
Many contemporary artists incorporate materials traditionally associated with craft into their art practice. Craft, often segregated from the high art world, is used to describe a pastime or profession that requires skill and concentration. Fine artists involve styles such as knitting, crocheting, beading, ceramics and many others practices to create their works. The effects of using these generally intricate and time-consuming techniques are impressive as works by these five artists demonstrate.
Shane Waltener was trained as a sculptor and now makes beautiful and haunting installations using yarn. Many of his works are engaging and beg a viewer’s participation. Over Here, which mimics a giant spider web, references a technique called Shetland lace and is made of fishing line. Sherry Markovitz is a Seattle-based artist who incorporates buttons, feathers, fake pearls, shells, sequins, seed beads and other items to animal heads or dolls. Markovitz says that she “was never influenced by the contemporary art world,” and indeed, her works created from hours of labor and scouring flea markets for material feel as though they walked out of another place and time. Elaine Bradford uses crochet to create otherworldly sculptures. Her installation at the Vinson Branch of the Houston Public Library, for instance, consists of an elephant and a gaggle of Canadian geese, all sheathed in crochet skins. The work is fun and playful, but also sophisticated and clever. Orly Genger, most recently known for covering Madison Square Park in New York with a massive installation consisting of 1.4 million feet of layered, painted and hand-knotted rope last summer, is an artist who employs traditionally “feminine” activities to works that reference artists like Barnett Newman. She titled her Madison Square Park installation after his Who’s Afraid of the Red, Yellow and Blue? series from the 1960s. Edith Meusnier is a French textile and environmental artist who transforms nature into installation spaces. She uses craft installations to raise questions about sustainability and the vulnerability of nature.
Tatiana Blass built a human body that leans over the spine of a chair. She built this body out of wax and gave it a spotlight to shine; however, its glow not only illuminated, but also curdled the figure’s shape with heat. Arms broke off and bone emerged. Soon the body itself was only spine.
Spine against spine.
On another day, at another location or time, Blass built another body, a lying down one. The heat was not on the back, but instead rising from below. The body melted and there was no bone. Only a puddle of wax, something similar to where the body began.
The dissolution is the performance, the performer is the object: it moves to mirror our horror, to show its aliveness: our aliveness.
This concept of sculpture as a temporary structure feels relative to Urs Fischer’s own monolithic candlelit figures which also weaken over time. Both generate a sense of narrative that we relate to instantly– feelings of loss or devastation amidst chaos. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. Wax to wax. What slips through our fingers: a certain temperature from day to day. We cannot gauge. An inevitable ritual.
The music must come to an end, and it does, especially for Blass’s other installation (video above), as Thiago Curry pounds five easy pieces on the keys, while two men pour melted paraffin into the grand piano.
Spanish artist Iván Prieto‘s sculpture work is surreal and sometimes a bit disturbing. In order to heighten the jarring effect of his creations, Prieto places some of his work in abandoned places, creating a narrative that lends his work (and the places they inhabit) a haunting presence. His sculptures are largely figurative, and feature bodies that are warped or grotesque, speaking to ideas of excess and deficiency. Even when he’s not using empty spaces to feature his work, his gallery installations are just as provocative and strange. Prieto’s talent for sculpting fascinating figurative shapes and contortions and then contextualizing them within spaces indicates an awareness of an overall composition of his creations, something not all sculptors think about when featuring their work. (via slow art day)
The work of architect and designer Sophia Chang, Suspense is a site-specific installation that blends the inner and outer environments of a gallery space. A recent graduate with distinction at Harvard Graduate School of Design, Chang created Suspense at Invivia Gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
By pulling large sheets of Lycra between rectangular frames, her work creates an interactive, suspended environment which both blurs yet highlights the building’s pre-existing architectural features. Some rooms are completely explorable, while others remain visible yet restricted by the installation. Says Chang, ”The whole piece holds itself in shape under the tensile forces of being stretched without any extra pneumatic input – except perhaps the breeze flowing in and out of the two doors!” (via designboom)
Kinetic art features movement that is dependent on motion for its effect. It comes in multiple mediums including mobiles, machines and virtual movement or canvases that extend the viewer’s perspective. Wind, a motor or the viewer generally drive moving parts or dynamic perception.
Kinetic Art has origins dating back to the late 1800s where Impressionist artists such as Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and Edouard Manet were the first to experiment with emphasizing the movement of the human figure on canvas. In the early to mid 1900s artists began to create mobiles and other new forms of variable sculpture. Individuals such as Max Bill, Alexander Rodchenko and Alexander Calder solidified and defined the style.
Today artists all over the world create kinetic art and sculpture. Latin American artists Jesus Rafael Soto and Luis Tomasello both explore illusion, space and perception. French artist Laurent Debraux experiments with magnets, metallic objects and other elements to create works dealing with surreal imagery. South Korean artist U-Ram Choe likes to make kinetic works that mimic forms and motions found in nature. Bob Potts creates sculptures that gracefully recreate the movement of flight or boats. Anthony Howe employs wind to bring life to his massive sculptures.
Whether independently mobile, or reliant on a viewer’s perception to create an optical illusion, each of these artists and their works are inspired by a unique fascination with perception, movement and dynamism.
Amanda McCavour creates delicate and intricate thread illustration-sculptures by sewing into a fabric that dissolves in water. This method allows her to build a threaded structure that stays in place once the fabric dissolves. The result is embroidery that appears fragile, on the verge of unraveling. She recreates domestic scenery, like that of chairs, side tables, electric sockets, in addition to other figures such as hands, a garden, and a steam pump. The effect of this work is ephemeral and whimsical.
From her artist statement, “I am interested in the vulnerability of thread, its ability to unravel, and its strength when it is sewn together. I am interested in the connections between process and materials and the way that they relate to images and spaces. Tracing actions and environments through a process of repetition, translation and dissolving, I hope to trace absence. My work is a process of making as a way of tracing and preserving things that are gone, or slowly falling apart.” (via slow art day)