Paul McCarthy’s installation in Hong Kong. Photo courtesy of LAURENT FIEVET/AFP/Getty Images
Tam Wai Ping
This last decade in art has turned out a ton of larger than life sculptural work, specifically in the realm of inflatable sculpture. As adults, we never seem to get over the pure bliss of bouncy houses from our childhood, and as art lovers we are drawn to these works, made from thin plastic that are able to tower over us once filled with air. Artists have used this medium to make shocking and conceptually multilayered statements, such as Paul McCarthy’s “Complex System,” a building-sized pile of poo that made international headlines when it deflated in Hong Kong this past spring, leaving behind quite the brown mess. Other artists have merged inflatable sculpture with architecture and infused it with an interactive element that takes the classic “bouncy house” into a sophisticated architectural wonderland, such as Alan Parkinson (also known as “Architects of Air”) has done with his Luminaria. Other artists included below are: David Byrne, Eder Castillo, FriendsWithYou, Florentijn Hoffman, Chad Person, Tam Wai Ping and Geraldo Zamproni.
This Labor Day Weekend, enjoy the following parade of images that reviews some of the most exciting and celebrated inflatable sculptures that have emerged within the past ten years.
If you ever wondered what it would be like to occupy the same room as the sun, try Nasa’s Solarium. Currently making stops throughout the U.S. the show produced by a division of the space agency known as Solar Dynamics Observatory or SDO, is actually a spacecraft that has been taking pictures of the sun for the past five years. It brings findings using photographs taken over the past year, into an intimate space documenting the blistering star’s movement per second. The material collected is the first of its kind and splices together incredible footage into a series of HD gifs and stills giving you an idea of what it might feel like landing at the gates of hell.
Not surprisingly, most of the photographs portray a round star with several thousand fires burning at once. Constant explosions accompany the flames making you wonder how planets in the solar system don’t disintegrate immediately by her immense power. Other interesting shots capture the mother star in a dormant state depicting a series of smoldering smokestacks. In another unexpected and humorous portrayal, the sweltering star looks like a flame-grinning jack o lantern. Very cool, (or hot) indeed.
The sun is at the center of our solar system and approximately 130 times larger than earth in size and 330 times larger in Mass. It’s mostly made up of hydrogen and helium. Without the sun, all planets in the solar system including earth would die. Despite what might appear to the naked eye, the sun is actually white not yellow or orange in color. The reason for the false hue is atmospheric scattering. This is when molecules are diffused by the solar beam into the earth’s atmosphere changing the sky’s color. (via citylab)
Dan Attoe’s newest paintings are set against the northwestern Pacific landscape. It is a place where winding streams run into surfing beaches. The sand skinny dips into dark water that is laced with rolling white foam. The foamy tidal beaches are framed by rocky cliffs, and all those rocks, and that moving water, is surrounded by antediluvian forest. The trees in Washington State can make you feel very small because they are preposterously tall. Some varieties grow to be over 200 feet, pushing outside of the boundaries of a normal tree into something that feels supernatural, or maybe übernatürlich. The forest has the fairy tale effect of making you feel very small in comparison. The beaches, rocky cliffs, streams, and over-sized forests in Attoe’s paintings create spaces that are reminiscent of David Lynch’s television masterpiece Twin Peaks; both literally, because of geographical overlap, and psychologically, because the natural world, by bubbling with life, moving water, and impossible trees, begins to take on symbolic resonance. If you were an explorer on a quest for an enchanted forest, Northern Oregon and southern Washington State are very strong candidates for any enterprising search parties you are leading. When you go you may run into Dan climbing rocks or taking pictures of the moon through his telescope. Dan grew up in the woods, his father was a forest ranger. He is at home there. These paintings seem to take place at dusk, when the sun is just over the horizon. Like that quiet time of evening, there is something quieter in this new group of paintings. The miniature figures in Dan’s paintings seem to be dealing with mistakes of love, faulty desires, friendship, and being part of the natural world with its drumbeat of sun and tides.
You can see Dan Attoe’s new paintings in his show Landscapes with Water at Peres Projects on Karl-Marx-Allee 82 in Berlin. The show is up from March 1st to April 19th 2014. The photos in this interview are courtesy of Peres Projects.
Lee Materazzi uses her body to manipulate her photographs (as opposed to giving in to digital manipulation). In her newest series she explores the thin line between finding oneself and losing oneself. She references artists like Charles Ray and Anna Mendieta as she “attempts to achieve a resolution of the body’s role within contemporary art.”
Artist Christina Córdova sculpts beautiful and enchanting ceramic figures. The artist, now living in Penland, North Carolina, grew up in Puerto Rico where she was raised heavily embedded in Catholic imagery. The classic posses and the notion of reference and body positioning as story telling has deeply made an impact on her work — the figures within her art hold poses that can be found in both theological and mythological images. Each piece has an almost magical realist feel: while her pieces can be traditional in execution, they always feature an element of surprise and surrealism. Through blending moments of texture with perfectly sculpted human forms and strange depictions of wild animals, her works somehow achieves the ability to be screaming a secret — to be demand attention yet offering no specific answers, only curiosity and inquisition. Each work has a story. Each figure has a history. Her use of a classic material, ceramic, truly allows her work to exist within a plane of antique elegance. However, through her use of pattern and color, Córdova’s work is contemporary and fun, yet undoubtedly sophisticated. She tends to use found materials such as metals and wood from her homeland, Puerto Rico. Because of these materials, her ceramic finishes mimic a sort of rawness that truly gives her sculptures their “relic” like quality. Córdova’s sculptures are absolutely stunning and genuinely radiate a aura of mysticism and truth. (via juxtapoz)
Jimmie Durham’s latest exhibition, “Obsidian,” explores the poetics of the black volcanic glass material, once favored by Mesoamerican cultures in shamanic rites and the creation of mirrors. Above is “The Doorman,” fashioned after Texcatlipoca, meaning “smoking mirror,” an Aztec deity represented by his characteristic black obsidian mirror. And creating the world. I love these contemporary-ancient new magic sculptures. If you’re in Mexico, Durham’s show is up until February 6th at Kurimanzutto.
Recently stumbled across the work of Patrick Brennan by way of his most recent solo show @ HalseyMcKay. He provides a really fresh take on painting. Lots of interesting material decisions, color usage, and compositional arrangements. I dig it…more after the jump.
Project Nim is a powerful look at how science can go from studying an animal to exploiting it. In this doc we follow Nim, an adorable baby chimpanzee who was taken from his mother and placed with a foster human mother as part of a “nature vs. nurture” academic experiment. Nim was to grow up around humans and learn language and communicate like a human being.