Over the weekend I had the pleasure of dropping by my neighborhood museum, the Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA), to check out new work by Guillermo Bert. The digital age has managed to find its way into places the mechanical age was never quite able to get to. In the exhibition’s accompanying essay, Peter Frank claims that this phenomenon has resulted in the poor becoming “confident operators” of this advanced technology. Of course accessibility is a good thing, but one can also argue that the arrival of this kind of technology can also put indigenous culture and tradition at risk. By combining QR Code technology with the very traditional art of textile weaving, Bert is bringing this infiltration of culture to the surface. The codes, when scanned with your mobile device, play one of a series of documentary films that contain several engaging protagonists who help unfold the story of the Mapuche people. Throughout history, textiles have been used by indigenous cultures to pass on the story of a culture from generation to generation. Perhaps Bert’s “encoded textiles” are a strange evolution of that tradition.
The work of art collective Ghost of a Dream uses lottery tickets and romance novel covers to mezmerizing effect. Often employing thousands of dollars worth of scratch-off tickets ($70,000 worth of tickets in the last installation alone), the work conjures a culture of hyper-materialism. The gaudy coloring of the tickets and cheap imagery of romance novels reflect the nature of the object they cover. Like the dream of striking it rich, the art of the collective is hypnotic and absorbing.
If you want to see more work from Ghost of a Dream be sure to check out their exclusive feature interview in Beautiful/Decay Book 9. The collective explores Greed in this Seven Deadly Sins themed edition.
The installations of Peruvian artist Antonio Paucar utilize a rather uncommon material: dead flies. By suspending dead flies from nylon string as well as meticulously placing them on the ground Paucaur painstakingly builds each pieces. The swarm of flies loosely forms the image of a human figure. The hazy form created by the collective flies imply the memory of a person, particularly in relation to the space it inhabitants. Further, the flies seem to suggest the idea of death or decay. The last four photos are taken from a piece installed in Germany’s Sacrow palace, a building dating back to the 17th century. The grounds had been inhabited by Prussian aristocrats, high ranking Nazi officials, as well as communist secret police.
British artist Rebecca Glover works in several mediums, but it’s her installations that are especially striking. The three installations pictured here – Space Invader, Flat 51, and The Inhabitant – invades the insides of an apartment and galleries. The calming, almost mesmerizing, color of the spikes clash against the installation’s overall sinister nature. She describes the installation in interview:
“I had an idea to create a sculpture that broke through the space and played with this idea that there’s something latent in the walls; playing around with what lies beyond what you can see.” [via]
The second series of photos are taken from the Market Estate Project in which seventy-five artists worked with residents to install art in a soon to be demolished housing estate in London. The work and apartment buildings were destroyed the very next day following the art’s installation.
Australian based artist Rebecca Baumann often uses what appear to be party supplies to build sculptures and installations. Her art interacts with the surrounding air – the space it occupies and even the breeze that makes it dance. From a bus station teeming inside with colorful streamers to vibrant books flapping in the wind, Baumann’s work is unexpectedly playful. However, the temporary nature of her materials and the relatively short-lived ‘performances’ of her installations hint at something much more weighty behind each piece.
Heeseop Yoon is a Korean artist based in New York concerned with clutter, junk, and our impossibility of absolute perception. His enormous installations begin with photographs of people’s piles of hoarded objects, which, like Giacometti, he then draws and re-draws and re-draws, leaving initial lines to remind him of the instability of his own perception, then re-draws them on enormous scale using tape (which is a form of junk in its own right) galleries and on buildings. The combination of cluttered objects and the instability of perception is a pretty perfect one, they feel like the exact opposite of Gursky’s 99 Cent store photograph yet weirdly similar, both enormous in scale, both about the glut of objects in our society, but executed in inverse manners. His pen and paper drawings are amazing too, check out his website to see more!
Julie Schenkelberg makes installations that look like domestic earthquakes. Her monumental pieces talk to us about the collective memory we share in objects and its inevitable disintegration. As most all domestic objects have some sort of function, their ubiquity–tables, chairs, lamps, plates, etc in every home– is a sign that our experience of the life is much more communal than individual, and likewise our memories. Julie takes the objects of our experience and compiles them into globs of memory, as they are probably situated in our own brains. But, like our own memories, she shows us these objects as broken and decaying in structures that look strong and sound but are, in the grand scheme of things, utterly tenuous. Her work is physical poetry at its best.
Eric Rieger, alias name (HOT TEA) completed this larger than life installation at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts very recently. It is so large in fact that it spans over two floors, and you can actually lie underneath the hanging mass. The installation is titled Letting Go, and the piece is compiled of orange and yellow colored string 84 miles in length meaning to represent the artist’s interpretation of the sun. As a former MCAD student, being right next to the MIA, I so wish I could teleport back to my art school days to see this in person.
Below is an statement directly from Mr. Rieger:
At least once in our lives we have all had to let go of something we truly love. Whether it be a pet, personal object or in some cases, loved ones. This piece is my interpretation of the sun. The sun brings life and also represents happiness, warmth and energy. When letting go of something or someone we truly love, sometimes it is okay to celebrate their lives along with mourning. This piece represents the warmth and love I have received from those I have had to let go of.
Letting Go will be on view through Septmeber 2 at MIA. (via)