Sculptor Sophie Kahn has merged new technology with old to haunting effect in her sculptures of incomplete women. Kahn initially worked as a photographer but became frustrated with working in two-dimensions. Modern 3d scanners initiate these sculptures, but the fragmentation of the figures is achieved by using the scanners in a way for which they were not designed. Kahn says:
“When confronted with a moving body, it receives conflicting spatial coordinates, generating fragmented results: a 3d ‘motion blur’. From these scans, I create videos or 3d printed molds for metal or clay sculptures. The resulting objects bear the artifacts of all the digital processes they have been though.”
The absences in these figures is what makes them so arresting. The elements that are represented are death-like in their pallor and stillness. There’s no sense of motion, instead the women look like they were captured post-mortem. Their peaceful body language and impassive faces contrast with their layers and patches. Like the juxtaposition of new and ancient techniques Kahn uses to create these works, the figures are both enduring and fragile.
“These scans, realized as life-size 3d printed statues and installed in darkened rooms as a damaged ancient artifact might be, serve as a incomplete memorials to the body as it moves through time and space.” (Source)
The imperfect sculptures reveal flaws, empty spaces, and altered textures. It speaks of the inability to ever really know a person, as if these pieces of the mapped and printed bodies are all that could be gathered.
“This concern with the instability of memory and representation is the common thread that weaves together the ancient and futuristic aspects of my work.”
Kahn’s fragmented women give form to the futility of capturing the essence of a life.
Dutch designer Jolan van der Wiel creates unusual ceramic sculptures using the conflicting properties of metallic clay and magnets. His latest project “Magnetism Meets Architecture” features a number of fantastic gravity-defying architectural models and explores the possibility of using magnetism in architecture.
The process of making such sculptures starts by mixing clay with water to create a slip, a mixture with the consistency of cream. Then he adds metallic powder like iron with the ratio typically being 90% clay, 10% metal. The whole blend is then transferred to a nozzle similar to the one confectioners use for cake icing. Carefully building layer after layer, van der Wiel allows surrounding magnets to pull them into various shapes resembling a drip sand castle (passing a magnetic field through the material provides an opposing force to gravity, thus the clay is pulled upwards and suspends in its place).
Van der Wiel is fascinated with the idea of using magnetism in architecture.
“I’m drawn to the idea that the force would make the final design of the building – architects would only have to think about the rough shape and a natural force would do the rest. This would create a totally different architectural field.”
According to the artist, he got the inspiration from Catalan architect Gaudi who used gravity to calculate the final shape of his famous building La Sagrada Familia: “I thought, what if he had the power to turn off the gravitation field for a while? Then he could have made the building straight up.” (via Wired)
In the digital age and generation of the selfie, a spiraling and often disorienting importance placed on consumerism and commodities permeates even the most remote of regions. Through the billboard jungles and beehive of mass media, images relentlessly promoting youth and sexuality haphazardly depict ideals of femininity. Creating a wormhole of inadequacies, the female form has found itself in a constant tug-of-war in either defending its natural state or scrambling to correct propagated notions of aesthetic shortcomings. As Barbara Kruger famously stated on one of her notorious gelatin silver prints from the 1980’s, “You Are Not Yourself”.
Packed within the four walls of a tiny 6 by 10 centimeter sardine can, the miniature characters created by sculptor Nathalie Alony for her project Home Sweet Home are both humorous and poignant. Arranged in a massive grid, the artist’s sardine can dioramas serve as a metaphor for the confined apartments in which we nest. These intricate figurines—men, women, children, beloved pets—each exist within the limits of their aluminum enclosure, building complex family and personal universes that seem to operate independently of the outside world. Despite the isolation of each piece, together Alony’s cans form a complex network that wakes and rests as a unified community, separated only by thin, delicate metal.
Like strange dollhouses, these precious sardine can apartments allow us to navigate and to find meaning in the rituals of domestic life. Much of the action portrayed here is banal: the routine laundering of children’s clothes, the checking off of days on a calendar, the painting of walls. When seen in miniature, intricately rendered by the artist’s masterful hands, mundane home improvement tasks become endlessly enthralling. Here, we can be voyeurs in the most innocent sense, entering the intimate confines of the homes of others with tender curiosity.
Alony’s brilliant little worlds capture the lonesomeness of modern living; seeing the fourth aluminum wall pulled back to reveal precious, private lives, we yearn for a similar intimacy in real life. A home, carved out lovingly from a tiny industrial box, contains all the secrets and wonders of families that are not our own. What goes on in the cherished homes of others? (via Junk Culture and Lost at E Minor)
Jessica Stoller‘s porcelain sculptures exaggerate the objectification of female bodies using 18th century French aesthetics. Through the medium of clay, Stoller sculpts fluid and grotesque shapes, emphasizing the lack of boundaries between bodies and other materialist images related to consumption. She embellishes this unsettling bodily abundance with a soft, feminine, candy and ice-cream color palette and opulent adornments. These figures are often erotically or mythically charged.This creates an experience of surreal bodily and material abjection for the viewer, while addressing cultural concerns about the control of the feminine body. Stoller’s work, “Spoil,” is currently on view at PPOW Gallery in New York until February 8. (via hi fructose)
Suellen Parker builds each character from unforgettable moments of strangers or friends. First, she starts with sculpting the shape from plastiline clay before photographing it with a blank backdrop. Then, simultaneously, she scavengers for props, walls, or environments that might suit a certain character well and shoots those too. All of these images are finally loaded into a computer, where the art of merging and manipulation occurs. Skin tones are “digitally painted” and human faces technologically blend with clay while backgrounds stitch together to create a new imaginative world.
Of Letting Go, her most recent series collected here, Parker strives to twist not only mediums, but also gender roles. She suggests her characters concretely and conceptually have a fine blend of both, and states, they “are attempting to find a sacred space, a place of vulnerability, a place where they allow themselves to be really seen. By quieting one’s life, even momentarily, an opportunity is presented to learn truths about oneself. By engaging in private play, one is able to let go of expectations and rules. The result is a private and truthful moment that may be enjoyed without fear of judgment or consequence.”
Street art has undergone some interesting developments of late. While not entirely forsaking its aerosol heritage, street art has definitely become more adventuresome in terms of medium in the past few years. Artist MRtoll exemplifies this well. While MRtoll’s aesthetic may resemble that of a stencil or poster artist, his medium is a bit more peculiar: clay. MRtoll works the clay into various images or texts then installs them on walls throughout Brooklyn. He often uses his clay in a nearly painterly manner creating impressive two dimensional work. Other times, his work is text based, seemingly a text or a tweet, playful much like its medium.
Nice wall-mounted sculptures made from books by Tennessee via Malaysia artist Daniel Lai. The sculptures feature clay figures in “Thinker” poses positioned amongst artfully folded leaves from various books. These capture the quiet, contemplative mind-space brought on by a good read, and would make good company in any studio, study, or living room. The Internet and tablet readers are alright, but there’s something about print that just can’t be beat. Always up for a good tribute to ink on paper. (via)