Artist Peter Kogler takes ordinary spaces and converts them into optical illusions with little more than paint and projections. His installations completely encompass the gallery room or public space in which they inhabit and cause it to appear warped, stretched, distorted and twisted. These eye-tricking spaces devour the viewer in their endless lines and pattern while they creates a disorienting effect. Each strategically placed line is created by paint, but also sometimes by a projection onto the walls. Because Kogler’s patterns and lines are often on every side of the space, including the ceiling and floor, they create a powerful and overwhelming environment. The wall-to-wall spaces are completely taken over by lined grids, tubes weaving around each other, and swirling scribbles that create funhouse walls.
The settings for Kogler’s elaborate and impressive installations vary from gallery rooms to subway tunnels. One can truly get lost in these complex compositions trailing all over each wall. Each installation is like a beautiful labyrinth that entraps and engulfs the viewer. Kogler’s work uses mostly bold colors like white and black, and sometimes red. This creates a harsh, stark contrast that allows the optical illusion to be more apparent with a highly dramatic feel. The artist’s talent does not only lie in his incredible installations, but also his sculpture and two-dimensional work. His use of geometrics and line is similar in his other work, which makes them look absolutely stunning when they are exhibited within his installations. Kogler’s multifaceted style compliments whichever medium he desires.(via Illusion.scene360)
Seaborg, a Japanese designer and artist, chooses latex as her medium of choice. A blend of installation and performance art, her latest work is an “inflatable animal farm,” complete with blow-up cows and pigs as well as performers in inflatable suits. Saturated with bright children’s book colors, the installation also features somewhat disturbing images, exposing what seems to be a literal underbelly. In a slaughterhouse, a pig with prominent human breasts dangles from the ceiling, gutted and bled. Another photo from the installation shows a pig, partly eviscerated, posing coquettishly with a come-hither expression.
In the past, Saeborg’s work has been included in group shows that portray a female perspective on modern Japan, particularly colored by sexuality, pop culture, and humor. According to beautiful.bizarre,
“As a new driving force of the economy, these women now work for the modernization of traditional Japanese culture, a culture that was unknown to the Western World. This new feminine expression is based on ‘impermanence’ (a Buddhist concept) and is mixed with the attraction to darkness and the internalization of feelings.”
Saeborg’s inflatable farm certainly hits all these notes, putting the ideas of impermanence and objectification front and center. These pig-women are fetishized, yet at the end of the day, they’re nothing more than a commodity: so many pounds of meat. (via Hi-Fructose)
A Place Beyond Belief (2012). Installation, National Gallery of Kosovo, Pristina. Photo credit: Atdhe Mulla.
We Must Cultivate Our Garden (2006). Installation, Carrall Street, Vancouver. Photo credit: Scott Massey.
You Imagine What You Desire (2014). Installation, Jupiter Artland, Edinburgh. Photo credit: Keith Hunter.
There Will Be No Miracles Here (2006). Installation, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh. Photo credit: Keith Hunter.
Nathan Coley is a Glasgow-based artist who is well-known for his inspiring, troubling, and haunting illuminated text sculptures. When they aren’t being featured in a gallery, Coley installs these works in public spaces — in parks, over doorways, and on top of buildings — places where they are visible from afar, or as people walk by on their day-to-day business. The words he chooses derive from both research and personal experience; literature, lyrics, historical documents, and overheard conversations comprise some of his source materials. Many of his installations are directly related to religion or private belief-systems — for example, “Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens,” and “There will be no miracles here.” Others speak to violent experiences in human public life; “Burn the village, feel the warmth” is a reference to the London street riots of 2011.
As human creatures, it is safe to argue that we have a complicated relationship with language. Language is how we make sense of the world, and a way for us to connect with others. But none of us can deny the frustrating limitations we experience with it. We use language to express our innermost fears and desires, yet somehow the words seem inadequate; we can read a line of poetry and be shaken to the core, but remain unable to articulate why. Coley’s works have a similar effect; made of fairground-type globes set in aluminum frames, his sculptures confront us with their bright, almost garish boldness. “There will be no miracles here,” the sign reads, in the middle of a field; the isolated word “here” signifies a sinking stomach, a staggered thought, the unsettling fear that “miracles” are phantasmagoric events residing only in the hearts of the troubled and desperate. Coley’s work affects us on deeply personal and inexpressible levels, adding notes of hope, doubt, and other emotions into our present moment.
Architecture and context play a very important role in Coley’s work, as well. As Lisa Le Feuvre eloquently states in a monograph on Coley’s work:
When Coley pays attention to an architectural landscape it is always constructed through a singular gaze, sometimes directed where the buildings meet the ground as one walks through the streets, other times looking up or down at the buildings designed to stretch up to their full height, like enthusiastic children in a schoolroom, urgently wanting to say their piece. Architecture fulfills and produces desires, perhaps most explicitly seen in places of production, power, worship, and memory. (Source)
As Le Feuvre expresses, there is no doubt that certain (if not all) public spaces have different and powerful effects on us: stroll beneath the arched ceilings of a church and feel humbled; stand in an abandoned park at dusk and sense creeping loneliness. But what Coley also explores is the way power operates in such spaces; who does the public space belong to, and what is our role within it? How do our behaviors and self-conceptions change when we enter those spaces? As Foucault writes in Discipline and Punish, “He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; […] he becomes the principle of his own subjection.” If public spaces are indeed “field[s] of visibility” that operate on us via internalized systems of control, than Coley’s integration of art into them is doubly rich for analysis — and also somewhat subversive; the words “We must cultivate our garden,” set atop a hotel in Vancouver, Canada, reinvests local architecture with meaning, transforming our experience of that space from controlled, everyday banality into a new, stimulating process of personal signification: we decide what the “garden” means to us in that particular time and place.
See more of Coley’s works on his website, and check out the rest Le Feuvre’s fascinating essay here.
Hospitals often appear sterile and uninviting, especially when you’re a kid. The Royal London Children’s Hospital officially opened in March 2012, and over the past two years they’ve worked with the organization Vital Arts to liven up the walls with playful art. Artists and designers were commissioned to paint five different wards of the hospital using bright colors, bold shapes, 3D design. Each creative has their own speciality and style, and the list of particpants includes: textile artist Donna Wilson; wooden toy designers Miller Goodman; product designer Tord Boontje; children’s author, illustrator, and rug designer Chris Haughton; and surface and textile designer Ella Doran.
The hospital becomes infinitely more inviting with these artists’ additions. Some of the highlights include Haughton and Miller Goodman’s handiwork. Haughton is the author of the books Shh! We Have a Plan and Oh, No George!, and he used his delightful characters to adorn the walls. Also, a selection of his framed rugs were hung up and created more warmth and coziness. Miller Goodman constructed wooden designs that physically stand out on the walls. This was inspired by their bag of 74 different-shaped wooden toy pieces, and you see how the whole animals are made up with smaller, fractured parts. (Via designboom)
Bethany Taylor’s spiraling and flowing threads create ethereal drawing installations that hold a keen eye to the shocking truth of our increasing water pollution issues. Each fiber-based drawing is formed by shaping and manipulating thread from woven tapestry. What makes Taylor’s installations so captivating is the fact that each “drawing” of hers is created from one single line. This line creates an energetic movement throughout the installation. The viewer can see where the thread begins and ends, as it appears to drip down the wall. Each image of a skull, snake, and algae seems to be unraveling.
Taylor’s installations in this series use motifs such as skeletons of sea life, skulls, and green and blue algae. These represent the effect chemical pollution in our lakes and rivers having on our environment. The artist is Assistant Professor of Drawing at the University of Florida. Because the ecosystem that surrounds Taylor is so prevalent with rivers and ocean, it deeply influences her work. Toxic blue-green algae have formed because of the incredible pollution, which in turn is severely harming, or “unraveling,” the balance of our ecological system. Her work shows the consequences of the pollution by creating delicate drawing installation that seem as fragile as their counterparts that are unraveling at the seems. Taylor explains in detail the intention behind her work.
Like many other places in the world, Florida’s water is threatened each year by the poison runoff from pollution caused by inadequately treated sewage, pesticides, manure and fertilizer. The toxic algae created by these unchecked industrial and agricultural practices, is literally choking our waterways, creating dead zones in our ecology that are harmful to both humans and wildlife.
Uttaporn Nimmalaikaew‘s paints both metaphorical and literal depth. As a student at Silapakorn University in Bangkok, Nimmalaikaew began experimenting with painting on mosquito net and tulle, this giving birth to his unusual and striking style. His paintings seem to shimmer in mid-air, changing depending on where the viewer stands, appearing like specters from another dimension. Though the figures in his paintings are caught in a single moment of time, they are still somehow dynamic, conveying a spectrum of emotions and vibrating with life.
Nimmalaikaew’s work has garnered quite a bit of acclaim, from the Sovereign Asian Art Prize to various medals and the title of Artist of Distinction by the National Exhibition of Art in Bangkok. He spoke briefly with BLOUIN Artinfo on the way he creates his ethereal paintings:
“Well, each process might be a little different depending on the work, but mainly it starts from a digital drawing of twisted lines in human form. The digital drawing is then printed life-size to set the base form and texture. The following layers are painted in oil color in the ‘tulle-painting style.’ Over time, I have learnt that the tulle demands a different way of creating realistic light and shadow for the material. The top layer gives details for the optical illusion. Then I connect each layer with clear copolymer line to make it all fit together and create depth in the image.” (via I Need a Guide)
Sculptor Jonathan Brilliant builds universes using the residue of coffee. Not the natural kind but the recyclable paper stirrers and holders millions throw away each day after ordering their morning joe. These common conveniences end up as swirling dervishes in Brilliant’s work, referencing everything from musical rhythms to Andy Goldsworthy. Like Goldsworthy, who takes items from his natural surroundings and builds site specific installations, Brilliant does something similar using the coffee shop instead of a rural location, signifying a place today where a lot of our organic interaction takes place.
His process oriented storytelling has a viral mentality. Rows and rows of sticks (sometimes as many as 40,000) invade staircases and ceilings throughout his installations. The effect likens itself to looking inside a grand piano when notes by Mozart or Beethoven are being played. Dozens of sounds spiraling off each other entwining into a grand design. The free form technique makes the work interesting and gives it a profound quality. A product that was manufactured by man from a natural resource on earth that goes full circle to rejoin with similar material in a recycled format.
Brilliant stands as a new type of environmental artist. Another that works in this style is Wade Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh creates structures out of measurements taken from motion such as running or walking and creates patterns with this information, mostly in rural environments. He also collaborates with painter Stephen Nguyen to build viral structures some as large as trees made out of recycled paper and other found materials.
This past year at Warwick Art Gallery in Queensland, Australia featured a cozy site-specific installation called the Knitchen. As the name suggests, it was a kitchen adorned with knitting (some referred to it as a yarn-bombing). Yarn-covered chairs, sinks, coffee cups, and even a turkey occupied the space from July until August. This endeavor was the result of 50 artists working over the course of seven months. And, it shows. Nearly everything – from a phone cord to the label on a jam jar – is the result of a meticulous attention to detail.
Karina Devine, the Warwick’s gallery director told ABC Southern Queensland that the installation was inspired by an old-fashioned kitchen (hence the phone). “I got a new oven last year, and kept my old oven so I could wrap my oven,” Devine said. “The most exciting part for me was creating the crocheted gas flame, and hand sewing the orange flecks.That gives me a little bit of a kick every time I see it.” (Via Lustik and ABC Southern Queensland)