Once again, the prestigious palace of Versailles has been invaded. After Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami and Joana Vasconcelos it’s Anish Kapoor’s turn to impress the crowd. And he did.
The artist designed six spectacular installations all meant to impact the history and architecture left by Le Notre, the official Sun King’s gardener.
Anish Kapoor wants to create an opposition: the perfect and rigid site of Versailles versus the idea of chaos and death.
The first two pieces are reflecting the sky and deforming the crowd onto gigantic mirrors. What follows is a little more outstanding: an orifice, like a giant vagina comes out from the ground and faces the palace. A metaphor highly suggesting the cause of the downfall of Marie Antoinette, the King’s guillotined wife. As the viewers randomly walk down onto the next pieces they cannot ignore the phallus shaped organ and the red stones exploding from the grass. Red is Anish Kapoor’s color of choice, it’s the color of the flesh and he is using it repeatedly; he says by using this color he makes the body celestial.
The next two pieces are a dramatic liquid vortex and an informal gelatinous bood-red colored shape. Both installations play with the viewers and their nerves. The whirlpool is intimidating as the sound of the blackened swirl is frightening, the ground shakes under the feet and the strange red organ absorbs the viewer’s bodies as they can penetrate inside.
The provocation goes on with the last piece built inside the Jeu de Paume (at a 5 min walk from the castle). Clearly Anish Kapoor criticizes the French revolution, and condemns the violence of the state against its own citizens. A cannon projects against a white wall red wax and the sexual interpretation which the artist approaches is inevitable: “I am conscious of the controversy this piece could imply. The phallic shape of the cannon and the sexual tension coming from it. Remember that this room was filled with males representing a male dominant State”.
French artist Gregory Chiha’s gripping and curious works conjure dark, imaginative inquiry. Realistic backgrounds are populated by vague, distorted figures depicted with thick, abstract, primary-colored strokes of paint. Dense forests and calm interiors stand solid and immortal in stark contrast to the fleeting vision of denigrating souls that vaporize amidst forces unknown. At times they seem aware of their morphing physicality, holding up their hands as if to shield their faces; other times they stand with arms loose and at their sides, giving in and letting themselves be overtaken by this unstoppable force. Some subjects appear to be participating in everyday motions when the event occurs: lounging in the living room, playing in a room strewn with children’s toys, staring into a mirror; others are roaming through sylvan groves – perhaps they went outside to address an unnerving sound or vision? One figure sits at the kitchen table staring at a loaf of bread; the subject ignites, though the bread, indissoluble, withstands. Are these figures ghosts trapped in limbo? Are they in the midst of taking their own life, or victims of an unspeakable tragedy such as a modern day Pompeii? Could these paintings be the depiction of the exact moment of death? Whatever is the nature of their contents, Chiha’s paintings lead to an abyss of theories subjective. However, their immediate intuitive impact stands inarguably emotional and compelling, dark and disturbing.
Working out of Melbourne, Australian photographer Jessica Tremp produces some lovely creative pieces. Her technique is rather dusty, as if her work was produced some sixty years ago; complementing her taxidermic subjects and derelict settings. Each piece impresses the viewer with unsettling beauty.
Loris Cecchini explores the nature of structure. His amorphous forms resemble the most basic element of life which is a cell, and with that basic shape the artist comments on human experience. His interdisciplinary installations have appeared worldwide garnering him praise and interest. They have been called visual poetics because his work prefers to be seen and experienced opposed to talked about.
Some of Cecchini’s grander projects have included a series called Intro. Environments. In this work the artist created large, site specific installations with forms that look similar to broken tree branches, natural sponges and cell structures. He placed these organic items randomly throughout a space and attached them to electric power lines, on trees or connected to flying wires. The impression here is that life is all around us. Even if we cannot see it we should always be conscious that something is growing and living nearby.
Another piece called Extruding Bodies created wall relief structures studying sound waves. These visual vibrations appeared to be moving and in some cases ear forms could be seen within the structure. Putting the pieces directly in the wall allowed for an optical illusion to occur which turned cinematic. Since sound waves are invisible the attempt to give the viewer an idea what they might look like is the type of question Cecchini answers and why his work is significant.
The artist was recently commissioned to design a class one watch for Chaumet. Only 300 of the special edition were made and the exclusive jewelry company used one of his wall wave structures on its face covered partially in diamonds. (via fubiz.net)
For her series AMMO, Sabine Pearlman documented a collection of World War II era ammo with some 900 images. The bullets are bisected to reveal its inner workings, like some kind of munitions autopsy. The simple compositions burn off the vaguely violent shroud that envelops the images of bullets and their symbolism. Instead, Pearlman presents the purely technical mechanisms of war, a reification of weaponary. The photographs reveal the surprising amount of innovation and craft dedicated to causing physical harm. [via]
For her project Rouleaux, the French multimedia artist Annastassia Elias builds tiny world within single toilet paper rolls. Lit from behind, her delightful cardboard scenes appear like stills from a mysterious work of shadow puppetry. Here, the roll, most commonly a piece of trash associated with the mundane rituals of domestic life, becomes elevated to the realm of high art. Elias’s visual narratives span time and space; as surely as summer swings fade to frigid snowmen, we move from an underwater universe to the barber shop around the corner.
Caught between the circular borders of the toilet paper roll, Elias’s characters seem to emerge from the cardboard of their own volition. Each racehorse and dinosaur is constructed from cut pieces of paper that share their color with the naked roll itself. The artist chooses not to paint either the rolls or the scenes that emerge from within them, allowing the textured, sand-hued paper to maintain a uniform circularity; ultimately, each tiny world appears to be eternally collapsing into itself. Horses run in circles, and a weary man and his donkey, who lowers his head in exhaustion, appear to trudge forward down a path that will only lead to the start.
Fitting in the palm of one’s hand, Elias’s delicate pieces remind us of the preciousness of even the most banal moments. Beneath sheets of toilet tissue, we might discover secret universes, available only to those with a childlike imagination and a thirst for adventure. Rouleaux is now available as a book, and the pieces are currently on view at the National Museum of Singapore until August 3, 2014. (via Demilked)
Artist Leonardo Ulian offers another interpretation of the mandala with his assemblages of electronic components, copper wire, and more. The intricate, finely detailed works radiate the innards of what makes technology tick. Ulian crafts smaller geometric patterns within a larger, more general shape that become more impressive once you see close up shots of his handiwork.
The mandala is typically a spiritual symbol that is often destroyed after its created (like the ones created from sand). This is a practice that establishes a sacred space, which is Ulian’s technological collage can be a metaphor for. Circuit boards, computer chips, and wire connectors have not only transformed the way we live, but the way in which we see the world. The artist could be saying that our dependency on it is akin to the worshiping of a larger being. (Via The Inspiration Provider)