Multidisciplinary artist Georgios Cherouvim’s installation titled Debate looks like your average conversation between two political candidates. But, there are some big differences: the figures’ heads are replaced with flashing geometric forms and they talk using unintelligible robot noises (think a series of beep boops). And of course, these aren’t people – they are realistic-looking plastic mannequins that are animated by an Arduino micro-controller with a custom “conversation” – stimulating program.
Cherouvim says that he entered the world of visual arts through computer animation, which explains the complex nature of Debate. The triangular and rectangular “heads” are controlled by an algorithm that changes lights and sounds based on parameters like how long one of them has been talking, if there was any silence, and the last time one was ignored by the other.
In his artist statement, Cherouvim writes:
My work is a visual representation based upon my perspective of social and political issues. I question established ideas of the modern lifestyle and how common social behaviors and ideologies have turned us against our environment and our selves. I want my work to invite the viewer to step back, observe our actions from a different perspective and associate them to the consequences.
“The act never reaches a conclusion and it is performed in a non-deterministic way,” Cherouvim told The Creators Project. “Their language is incomprehensible, causing the viewer to lose interest in the conversation and politics all together.” (Via The Creators Project)
British set designer and artist Nicola Yeoman creates optical illusions via temporary installations. The complex arrangements use well-scoped vantage points and specifically-lit sets that conjure fantastical scenes. She uses both conventional and discarded objects in her work and places these objects in unexpected locations.
Yeoman combines moody lighting and a variety of textures to make her works appear simultaneously flat and three-dimensional. This is especially visible in her letter installations. The “D,” for instance, is crafted by negative space with chairs that occupy the foreground, middleground, and background. But, you wouldn’t necessarily realize it unless you looked closely – this photo is shot at just the right angle.
While some of Yeoman’s work is as specific as the alphabet, other installations are more mysterious. Outdoor scenes obscured by fog fill the composition, and paper planes and a silhouetted car on a journey into the unknown. Her work has the power to go in opposite directions – didactic and dreamy – and the well-thought compositions, allow her to take the viewer anywhere. (Via Yatzer)
Artist Carson Davis Brown wants to disrupt the big box stores (think Walmart or Target), or “places of mass” as he calls them. Not by making a lot of noise or leaving the aisles in total disarray, but by creating site-specific installations titled Mass that feature carefully-selected and thoughtfully-arranged products. He’ll pick one color and group those objects into totem-like structures that line the shelves, create an island in the shoe aisle, or block an important door. They form visually-pleasing works of art that are documented via photographs.
It’s no surprise that these installations were made without the permission of the store; Brown takes things from all around and somehow arranges the displays without getting stopped by staff. They are then left until they are inevitably disassembled.
There’s an inherent beauty of these works, but a guilty pleasure that comes from enjoying them. Brown’s disruptions highlight just how massive these warehouse-type stores really are – just look at the range of products. This “convenience” has put many “mom and pop” shops out of business. So, these works are a small way of fighting back. But, at the same time, having to disassemble these displays must be done by the lowest level, least-well paid employees – the sales staff.
Galleries come in all sizes, even in a really, really tiny scale. Swedish graphic designer and illustrator Henrik Franklin has created an installation that’s something you’d be more likely to see in a dollhouse than anywhere else. But, instead of a bedroom, it’s located at the Odenplan underground station at Gallery 1:10 in Stockholm, Sweden. The group exhibition is titled If You Tolerate This – an exhibition about resistance. Franklin’s piece features a library of colorful books, all small enough that you can hold between two fingers.
In a show centered around worries of the future and the holding on to hope, Franklin’s tiny books represent how important literature is in our development. It teaches us the lessons of the past so we won’t be doomed to repeat them; prose also encourages and inspires us to dream and to think differently.
If You Tolerate This – an exhibition about resistance is on view until December 6.
Walking past the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York City, you might catch a glimpse of a bright pink, floor-to-ceiling, perforated, amoeba-like shape. Don’t be alarmed. “Situation Room”, a collaborative project, is a self-supported interactive structure by architect Marc Fornes / TheVeryMany paired with Oslo-based artist Jana Winderen’s engineered sounds. Visitors are invited to move within the installation, triggering the responsive sound. The passageways, apertures and tunnels are composed of 2000 parts designed by Fornes and fabricated by bengal.fierro. Patterns punched in the structure create patterns of shadow and light in the darkened room. Access to additional storefront projects is available through provided tablets.
“Reflecting on the contemporary conditions emerging between the digital and the physical realms, the collaboration of Winderen and Fornes collapses sound, light and form in an object with intrinsic sensorial behaviors, inviting visitors to question the properties of matter and the built environment surrounding us.”(Source)
This site-specific work is immersive, enveloping visitors in a multi-sensory experience that enhances the tie between physical space and sound. The idea that human presence affects built environments is made clear by the integration of responsive audio. Winderen’s website explains, “She is concerned with finding and revealing sounds from hidden sources, both inaudible for the human senses and sounds from places and creatures difficult to access.”
“The installation is a vibrating sound experiment that aims to transform the architecture into animated sensible form. Conceived as a sound object that absorbs and contrasts the site specificity of the Storefront Gallery with abstract, spatial, formal and acoustic variations and compositions, Situation NY raises questions about context, sensorial readings, estrangement and the uncanny tangentially resonating with contemporary debates around the ontology of objects.” (Source)
The “Situation Room” was created with the support of Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and is on display through November 1, 2014.Photos by Miguel de Guzmán. (via Hi-Fructose)
Opening tomorrow, September 27, is Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei’s exhibition @Large in the former San Francisco Bay prison, Alcatraz Island. The sculpture, sound, and mixed media installations are staged in four locations throughout the space: the New Industries Building; a group of cells in A Block; the Hospital; and the Dining Hall. Ai’s work inside creates a dialogue about how we define liberty, justice, and individual rights.
In 2011, Ai was secretly detained by Chinese authorities for 81 days, and is still not permitted to travel outside of the country. He was unable to visit Alcatraz during the planning of the show and was developed in his studio with the help of the FOR-SITE Foundation.
There are a variety of pieces in @Large, including Trace, which is 176 portraits of political prisoners and exiles made from LEGO blocks. The impressive works began at Ai’s studio in Beijing and were completed in San Francisco by a team of 90 volunteers. Cheryl Haines, the exhibition’s curator told the San Francisco Chronicle, “I’m overwhelmed by how remarkable it looks. This is the face of the individual in the fight for freedom, but it’s also a collective statement and to see the density and quantity of people that are incorporated in this work, I find deeply moving.”
In addition to Trace, there are six other themes: With Wind, a giant traditional Chinese dragon kite; Refraction, stunning metal wings; Stay Tuned, sound installation that occupies 12 cells; Illumination, the sounds of Tibetan Buddhist and Native American chants; Blossom, fragile floral bouquets; and Yours Truly, where visitors can write postcards to prisoners. (Via FOR-SITE and Artnet)
Modeled after the iconic Terracotta Warriors, artist Prune Nourry’s series Terracotta Daughters is an installation featuring eight life-size sculptures modeled after eight Chinese orphan girls. It’s meant to reflect upon gender preference in China through the familiar symbolism of the soldiers, and Nourry created an army of 116 figures using the same clay that was dug up over 2,000 years ago for the original warriors. In this project, the artist also learned the local copyists’ technique based off the ancient practice.
Together, India and China represent ⅓ of the world population and both have a similar gender imbalance. This is because of the preference that parents give to having a son; the number of single men has been increasing since the 1980’s as well as the misuse of ultrasounds to choose the sex of the child. This has detrimental consequences for the women in Asia including kidnappings of children and women, forced marriages, prostitution, and more.
Nourry met the 8 orphan Chinese girls that inspired the artworks through the non-profit organization The Children of Madaifu. She photographed the girls during her visit to their villages in August 2012 and used the portraits as models for the sculptures. Nourry series that go beyond the sculptures and does good, too:
With the idea of continuity in mind, Prune works hand-in-hand with The Children of Madaifu to support the education of the 8 little girls for a minimum of 3 years thanks to the sale of the 8 original sculptures. In addition, each one of the little girls will be invited to the exhibition in Beijing in order to meet their terracotta double. The girls will also receive a 30 cm artist proof of Prune’s Mini Terracotta Daughter.
Thus, each collector who acquires one of the 8 unique original terracotta sculptures supports the project, as well as 3 years of the education of the little girl depicted in the Artwork.
Terracotta Daughters has travelled the world, and now they are in New York City. From September 11 to October 4, you can find them at China Institute.
London-based artist Gerry Judah has been widely known for his large-scale outdoor installations. Especially noteworthy are his works commissioned for such famous car brands as Jaguar, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and others. Collaborating with the sponsors, Judah has created a series of gravity-defying suspended installations featuring scale-sized model cars shooting as high as 35 meters in the sky.
Gerry Judah has been building his car-themed sculptures since 1997. His tremendous structures have always been a sight at the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed in Sussex, England. Judah works extensively with steel. Naturally the amount of it consumed for each installation can go as high as whopping 175 tonnes (Jaguar, 2011). Despite the rugged material, Judah’s structures seem to be incredibly lightweight flexible. His works are particularly appreciated for the cohesion with the style of cars they represent. Here’s Judah talking about the design of Porsche 911 monument (above):
”The 911 is a fantastic shape that can’t be deconstructed or embellished, so in this context, the sculpture had to provide the right platform for the car to soar up and shine in the sky. <…> The concept was that each car is shooting into the sky, supporting one another, racing each other, captured in a perfect moment. Like the cars it displays, the sculpture is superbly engineered, lightweight and reflective of the Porsche 911 itself: simple, pure and built for the job.”
His latest work for Mercedes-Benz (below) features a 160-tonne steel sculpture with two Mercedes-Benz cars passing each other in midair. The installation is 90 meters long and soars 26 meters into the sky. It celebrates the 120-years-anniversary of motorsport heritage by Mercedes-Benz.