Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro’s large scale installations leave us feeling a bit overwhelmed or claustrophobic, and this is perhaps maybe the point. Their installations use recyclables to not only emphasize the gluttony of spending, but even more so, to confront the looming power of clutter and our strange animalistic aversion and contrasting need for it.
Of their work, the two say, we “live in such an organized society where detritus is not an issue. You put your garbage in a bin, and it goes somewhere. When you start to look at detritus, you automatically think about refuse. Or even more about consumption…getting caught up in the cycle of consume, consume, consume. And how these objects start to quantify your life.”
Sarah Sze’s installations incorporate everyday items from toothpicks to light bulbs, and “Triple Point,” her most recent endeavor at the Venice Biennale, is no different. Ladders, paper scraps, aluminum rods, sleeping bags, and other finely scavenged items collect and assemble to create a whole new type of machinery: a thinking one that has to do with re-assessing value and investigating the romanticism of objects at play with one another in this never-ending Milky Way of constructs.
According to The New York Times, Sze “wanted the installation to bleed out into the environment.’’ This is relevant to not only the pavilion itself, where the bulk of her work sprawls from room to room and outward onto the exterior landscaping, but also the neighboring community.
Blazing a cryptic trail, before the opening, Sze deposited a series of fake rocks (aluminum structures wrapped in photographs of rocks) sporadically in unexpected places, sometimes, with local businesses, who now house them in unconventional spaces, often along with their own imaginative origin stories. The intention is to lead patrons into the exhibit slowly, almost subconsciously, as though foraging their own trail into the surprising wilderness of Sze’s art.
More images of the installation and a video after the jump.
Iconic Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei has never shied away from political ideas in his art. His contributions to this year’s Venice Biennale are no exception. Bang utilizes 886 stools to create this sprawling installation. Such three legged stools were traditionally handcrafted and a common item in many Chinese households. They had numerous uses and were often passed down through generations. With the onset of the Cultural Revolution and modernization such stools soon disappeared. The enormous structure seems to have grown uncontrollably but organically – much like the explosion of growth in population urban centers, and consumer products.
Straight addresses the tragic 2008 Sichuan Earthquake and specifically the thousands of children’s lives claimed by the disaster. Ai Wei Wei straightened 150 tons of mangled steel rebar and neatly stacked in the project space. While bringing to mind the suspicion of shoddy school construction the installation also serves as a vehicle to mourn, remember, and address. Straight reflects Ai Wei Wei’s desire to straighten out the complexities and problems surrounding the massive casualties. [via]
The artwork created by the Japanese art collective known as Three creates work with a political subtext as powerful as it is subtle. Three often uses common food objects such as fish shaped soy sauce packets or candy. For example, the installation Eat Me uses 7,000 wrapped candy pieces hung from the gallery ceiling in the shape of a house. Visitors are encouraged to pluck candy from the installation and toss the wrapper in a corner set aside in the gallery. Slowly throughout the day the ‘house’ of candy is transformed into a pile of trash – a symbolic recreation of the overwhelming destruction of homes by Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
A Million Times by the Stockholm based studio Humans Since 1982 beautifully mixes the analog and the digital. The piece begins with the simple analog clock as its starting point. 288 clocks are arranged on the wall, their hands spinning to run through hypnotic patterns and display the time digitally. Each of the 288 clocks’ two hands run independently, powered by 576 individual motors. The entire installation is connected to custom made software and operated from an iPad. Watch the dials spin in the video after the jump.
The work of Chinese artist Wang Zhiyuan turns our attention to the overlooked and discarded. Whether he is using garbage to make art or making art look like garbage Zhiyuan’s art attempts to draw out a double take, a second slower look. Zhiyuan has also created giant pairs of underwear – some of huge swaths of fabric others carefully carved. Some seem like large and ancient bronze panties adorned with a relief addressing the AIDS pandemic. He’s also made use of refuse to create a dizzyingly high tower stretching to be nearly four stories tall. He says of the project:
“I thought it would be difficult to make these dead objects interesting or beautiful. But I discovered that if you bring order to them, you can create beauty.”[via]
Sound artist Zimoun creates simple but arresting sound art installations. His stark installations use common objects to noise atmospheres. Zimoun often uses small DC motors with small cotton ball mallets in his work. His newest piece using the motors may be his largest yet. Utilizing over 300 motors, Zimoun neatly installed his piece inside an abandoned chemical tank. The drone of the cotton balls and the echo within the tank produces a hypnotic hum. Check out the video of Zimoun’s installation in action after the jump. [via]
The work of artist Adel Abdessemed is at once direct and poetic. He often uses common imagery and objects as a point of departure. However, the mundane beginnings of these objects only further underscore the weighty nature of his art. Abdessemed’s installations are able to provoke a sudden impact of its viewer. Still, the installations communicate complex ideas that unfold over extended viewing. At times controversial, his work is effective in piquing thought and discussion.