The installations of Damian Ortega reflect a curiosity that is at once childlike and serious. His dismantled, dissected, carefully arranged pieces often hang from the ceiling prepared for inspection. Ortega’s installations encourage viewers to think about relationships between the parts and its whole, between individuals items and the group. It’s easy to see how these ideas can expand to wider topics. In a way, Ortega not only takes apart a Volkswagen physically, but also socially. He deconstructs ideas in a playfully literal way.
Wolfgang Stiller‘s series Matchstickmen are a depiction of people that are literally burnt out. The sculptures resemble giant match sticks, the the charred match head like a human head, ignited and tossed about the gallery. A play on the phrase ‘burnt out’, the series comments on the unending demand of human labor. Interestingly the installation was created while the German artist was living in China. However, Stiller says of the work:
“I don’t want to see it only as a critique on the Chinese system. Any other system in the world has the same problem. Big companies exploit their employees to make larger profits, all over the world. As long as we have affordable T-shirts or sneakers, we don’t really want to know whether they are made by children in India or not.” [via]
Artist Mark Dean Veca opened his new solo exhibit Made For You and Me at Cristin Tierney January 31st and is on view through March 9th. The title of the exhibit is a lyric from the Woodie Guthrie song This Land is Your Land. The song, originally expressing an anti-capitalist sensibility, has since often been appropriated to convey capitalist sentiments such as growth through consumption. Interestingly, Veca’s work often reverses this same process. He re-appropriates corporate images to comment on corruption, consumption, and a generally waning culture. Appropriately the gallery statement calls his work a kind of “Sinister Pop”. This is particularly evident in his piece titled Tailspin. The piece depicts the Exxon-Mobil Pegasus pointing down, blue on one side, red on the other, and spinning. Tailspin subtly references a society’s consumption dependent on energy resources that are exceedingly spinning out of control.
Brazilian artist Vik Muniz created these images of animals using scrap metal. You can get idea of the huge scale of Muniz’ work by looking at the first image – notice the pile of car doors on the left. Much of Muniz’ art is an accumulation of what many would consider garbage to create fine art. He creates huge ‘collages’ from these objects, photographs them, and returns them to their smaller scale. You may recognize Muniz and his work from the acclaimed documentary Wasteland in which his process was detailed. [via]
Erno-Erik Raitanen‘s site specific installation, Cotton Candy Works, is built to crumble. For the installation Raitanen builds a wall of cotton candy. Visitors lick or pull off the cotton candy. Within hours the entire installation returns back to its original nature – the fluffy sugar reverts back to its crystalline form. The installation is definitely playful and looks like for gallery visitors. Its more serious ideas of creation and destruction can’t be ignored.
Check out the artwork of Japanese artist Takahiro Iwasaki. “Not only are his small buildings and electrical towers excruciatingly small and delicate, but they also rest on absurdly mundane objects: rolls of tape, a haphazardly wrinkled towel, or from the bristles of a discarded toothbrush. Only on close inspection do the small details come into focus, faint hints of urbanization sprouting from disorder.” (via).
The slick site specific installations of Megan Geckler beam and bounce of walls like lasers. Her installations’ ultra clean geometric forms and bright colors nearly hide the personal quality to the work. The plastic rays are actually made of flagging tape – the kind you find just off the sidewalk typically used by surveyors. Her installations intentionally bounce between art and design, industrial and hand made, cold and personal. Also, just as her work shifts conceptually, it also shifts in shape from angle to angle. Strands at one angle interact with strands at other angles as a viewer moves through the space. [via]
The Spanish collective Penique Productions creates massive installations that at the same feel nearly weightless. Using fans and colored plastic the collective entirely covers a selected space in a bright hue. Though the concept is relatively simple, the space feels totally transformed. The space and its furnishings are stripped of all their details and reduced to a set of shapes. Penique’s Productions create an interesting way to investigate familiar places. Interestingly the collective says regarding the installations:
“It works the relationship between fullness and emptiness, creating a dialogue with the space it temporarily inhabits.”