Remember Saiman Chow from our cover of issue H? Well, his new personal work, “Summer of Love”, showcases some inter-species romance that I’m pretty fond of. “Summer of Love” is described as a “bitter sweet series that examine our fascinating yet frightening views on sexuality in our exploitative society”. I liked this illustration so much that I made it my desktop background. It’s horrifying yet touching? I’m not quite sure, I just can’t stop looking at it.
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.
In a place usually left to stillness and silence, black waters churn ceaselessly. Anish Kapoor, a London-based artist known for his sculptural installations using stainless steel, PVC, and other media, has created a whirlpool beneath the wooden floorboards of a former movie theater in San Gimignano, Italy. With a spine-tingling power that seems to suck your gaze to the center of the earth, the vortex pulls endlessly downward into a lightless void. Darkly beautiful and hypnotic, the waters evoke feelings of both admiration and fear. Appealing to the fascination we have for black holes and infinite space, Kapoor has created an existential zone of disturbing liminality, a place which exists between presence and absence, here and there. Speaking of his fascination for spatial emptiness in the press release, Kapoor explains:
“All my life I have reflected and worked on the concept that there is more space than can be seen, that there are void spaces, or, as it were, that there is a vaster horizon. The odd thing about removing content, in making space, is that we, as human beings, find it very hard to deal with the absence of content. It’s the horror vacui. This Platonic concept lies at the origin of the myth of the cave, the one from which humans look towards the outside world. But here there is also a kind of Freudian opposite image, that of the back of the cave, which is the dark and empty back of being. Your greatest poet, Dante, also ventured into a place like that. It is the place of the void, which paradoxically is full – of fear, of darkness. Whether you represent it with a mirror or with a dark form, it is always the ‘back’, the point that attracts my interest and triggers my creativity.” (Source)
By creating this zone of dread — a vacuum of inverted reality that threatens our mortal existences with its apparent soullessness — Kapoor’s whirlpool unveils a special form of significance. The whirlpool is a world “which is paradoxically full,” for instead of beauty and safety, we are confronted with a vital impulse: a void brimming with life-affirming fear that destabilizes our constructions of reality. The whirlpool evades all concrete meaning by always moving, existing beyond our knowledge, troubling us with the notion of infinite absence.
The show ran until May 9th. This whirlpool is an another version of Kapoor’s Descension, which was featured earlier this year at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Visit Kapoor’s website and Galleria Continua to learn more. (Via My Amp Goes to 11)
It’s hard to believe he shoots models and landscapes so differently. I can’t help but like it. Check out his portfolio online to see for yourself.
The technological wizards at Burton Inc. have developed a 3D laser display that can project images onto thin air. By focusing laser beams onto a single spot and firing the lasers in bursts of 100 times per second, images appear out of nowhere like 21st century pointillist magic. So far, the images are rudimentary, looking for the most part like simple sketches in .GIF form. But it’s still a fantastic advancement of the technology.
“This is the only device that can show text and pictures in mid-air, without using a screen,” says Akira Asano, Burton Inc.’s director and head researcher. The first and foremost application of the technology has been for emergency warnings — such as in a tsunami scenario — or as signals in pedestrian-heavy areas, such as at a crosswalk.
Not only does Burton Inc. hope to see this technology implemented in public spaces but also in people’s personal cars, thereby transforming even civilian vehicles into portable 3D displays. (via This Is Colossal)
Entering the gallery, photographic wallpaper of dandelions reach out from under a series of still life prints or memento mori: images of actual flower blossoms, carefully arranged by the artist as a mandala, inside of which, a woodland creature, formerly found along the roadside, nestles.
Of her imaging process, Munson elaborates, “I use the scanner like a large-format camera. I lay flowers directly onto it, allowing pollen and other flower stuff to fall onto the glass and become part of the image. When the high-resolution scans are enlarged, amazing details and natural structures emerge. Every flower mandala is unique to a moment in time, represents what is in bloom on the day I made it.”
When shown alongside Munson’s other piece: Reflecting Pool, a “congested installation” of heaping blue landfill trash, we are forced to confront our natural instincts– to build and discard with quick irreverence.
Louis Fortier’s works are that kind of fascinating that is all at once grotesque, perhaps even borderline repulsive, and so incredibly bizarre that you can’t look away. Devoted to the head, Fortier has spent the past decade exploring the subject. Using numerous wax or plaster heads, made using his own as a model, Fortier manipulates, deforms, collapses and reconfigures the head’s natural shape. The repetition of the body part reveals a deep fixation with the human face, identity and individuality. Probing into an analysis of genetic manipulation and cloning Fortier’s heads speak to the idea of multiple selves, or the personalities/ lives we might have had.
This idea of numerous variations on a single motif also raises questions about the idea of chance and unpredictability. Removing the casts from their mould before they are solidified, Fortier then allows metamorphoses to occur. Fortier seems to be wondering about the idea of nature versus nurture and where the artist’s hand fits into the equation. Partially directing the manipulation and partially leaving the results to chance, each of Fortier’s heads becomes a different variation of himself. In making these atypical self-portraits, Fortier analyzes the artist’s ability to destroy and create his identity.