Michael Craig-Martin has been creating art since the 1960s. His wall painting installations from the 1990s and 2000s feel current with their bright colors and flat appearance, but some of the items in the paintings, ubiquitous at the time they were captured, are now relics. Among the shoes and pails rendered in black tape outlines are Nokia style cell phones and milk bottles. That doesn’t diminish the charm of these installations. Craig-Martin’s intent was to make these works in a generic style, even attempting to erase his personality from the works by using tape as outlines instead of pencil drawings. It didn’t work. The purposeful non-style of painted mass-produced items executed meticulously in a vibrant palette at enlarged scale has become one of Craig-Martin’s signatures. The choice of everyday objects for his wall installations was a purposeful one.
“I thought the objects we value least because they were ubiquitous were actually the most extraordinary. … I wanted people to realise how extraordinary everyday objects are, and think about what image-making is. The impulse was never nostalgia, kitsch or a critique of consumerism.” (Source)
Photos of the installations can only capture part of their impact. Walking around a corner only to be confronted with an enormous pink desk lamp is part of the experience, as are the shifting views of eyeglasses and belts through the arches of a candy-colored room. Only when standing next to a seven-foot extinguisher can the scale of the articles be truly appreciated.
Though he is often called a conceptual artist, Craig-Martin prefers to be called radical. It’s not just about the concept for him—the making that comes from the idea is equally important. “Throughout his career, through work in many different media, he has explored the expressive potential of commonplace objects and images.”
Founder of Los Angeles-based architecture and design studio Urbana, Rob Ley has yet made another venture into the world of interactive architectural installations. This time large-scale. His project “May-September” features a field of 7,000 angled multi-color metal panels constructed onto the facade of Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis.
According to Ley, the project began when he started wondering about the typical notion of the parking structure. Often these huge concrete constructions are unappreciated and ignored by public. Ley posed himself a challenge to turn it into a dynamic system that would interact with the viewers as they pass it by.
Together with Indianapolis Fabrications, they’ve built a huge angular aluminum and stainless steel installation (12,500 square feet) that also features an east/west color strategy (yellow and blue). The visual experience of changing colors and patterns depends on observers’ perspective and speed when they move across the hospital grounds or drive along the street. The piece also interacts with nature as every sun beam or cloud can shape the hues and saturation of colors.
As in nature, the volume and shade offered by the piece shies away from harsh, geometric patterning – instead tending towards a gentle, dappled variability in form <…> [parts of installation] work together as brush strokes to create a dynamic façade <…>.
Lately, we’ve seen shipping containers used as repurposed mobile shelters for the homeless. The sculpture featured here serves an arguably less practical purpose but is a nonetheless an inventive and impressive use of the limited space. It was created by designers Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki who created a massive kaleidoscope as part of the Kobe Biennial Art Container Contest. This competition challenged creatives to craft an environment within the confines of an international shipping container. Here, the participants installed this brilliant piece as one that people could walk into and immerse themselves in an experience.
A kaleidoscope generally consists of carefully-angled mirrors that change light, color, and shape as it’s shifted. While their installation followed this general principle, Shirane and Miyazaki wanted to build the world’s first zipper architecture. “We wanted to create the world’s first zipper architecture. In other words, this polyhedron is completely connected by zippers. And in order to facilitate even more radical change some of the surfaces open and close like windows,” explains Shirane. The structure needed to be light, soft and mobile, and they were able to accomplish it; their ingenuity paid off, too, and they won an award at the Kobe Biennial and more recently a CS Design Award. (Via Spoon and Tamago)
French artist Didier Massard creates eye-deceiving miniature dioramas depicting surreal, mystical landscapes. From a first glance, these sets remind of extremely detailed, hyper-realistic paintings or digitally rendered images. The striking effect unfolds after closer examination, when the viewer is exposed to careful layering and thoughtful light arrangements.
Massard explains his inspiration comes from real and imagined places. The limits of real life infuses his imagination to create mythological and romantic scenarios, which he then calls “the completion of an inner imaginary journey”. China, India, the cliffs of Normandy and many other locations have been depicted in Didier’s works.
“There were many places in the world where I’d never gone that I wished to photograph. I realized that they would not at all look like the images I had of them. Reality was different from my imagination. So I started building and photographing in a studio what I had in mind.”
Artist spends months constructing his miniature worlds, thus the collection is only slowly growing in size. Massard started his career as a commercial photographer for fashion and cosmetic companies like Chanel, Hermes and others. After his first series of dioramas, titled “Imaginary Journeys”, his work was acknowledged and now Didier works exclusively on his personal projects. His work is currently on display at Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles until August 23.
Casa Tomada is a project of traveling installations started in 2007 by Colombian artist Rafael Gómezbarros in which giant sculptures of ants are fixed in swarms on buildings and structures. Self-described as “urban intervention” by Gómezbarros, the ants have been showcased in locations varying from London to Cuba with a very specific goal in mind: shedding light on immigration, forced displacement, and uprooting through historical points of departure for travelers and immigrants. The 2-foot ants themselves are crafted out of tree branches for legs and two joined skull casts made of fiberglass resin and fabric to make up the torso, making for a particularly morbid, visceral depiction of migrant workers in Latin America who are looked at as nothing more than vermin.
When placed on the facades of government buildings and blank gallery walls alike, the ants give off a chilling sense of foreboding and encroachment. By placing them in swarms, Gómezbarros makes the insects even more strikingly representative of the peasants displaced by war and strife in Gómezbarros’ native Colombia. The giant insects that make up Casa Tomada, which translates to Seized House, are certainly works that are bound to linger with viewers, whether in nightmares or otherwise.
Artists Walter Hugo & Zoniel have created a surreal installation featuring a large-scale glowing jellyfish tank as part of the Liverpool Biennal. Located in the Toxteth district, the piece is installed in the facade of an abandoned garage. Closed during the day, it opens its shutters every evening at 10 pm and is live-streamed to the Gazelli Art House in London.
Unusual project, titled “The Physical Possibility of Inspiring Imagination in the Mind of Somebody Living”, is based on the juxtaposition between the harshness of an old derelict building and the dreamlike flow of these fragile underwater creatures. It aims to inspire local communities by showing that inspiration can happen anywhere at any time.
“We placed the work there so that it could be enjoyed outside of a gallery environment while people are just walking down the street, going to the shop or home. The response that we’ve had from people so far has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve seen reactions ranging from excitement to disbelief to nonchalance.”
The psychedelic display was opened almost secretly from the public. Artists chose not to promote their project through press and marketing, rather focus on the residents of the area and rely on natural word-of-mouth. What’s more interesting is the link created between Liverpool and London by streaming live footage to the virtual screen at the Gazelli Art House.
The original installation is up until July 24 at 53 High Park Street in Liverpool. Digital versions of the artwork can be purchased here. (via thisiscolossal)
Through the metamorphic conversion of discarded paraphernalia given a second life, art created from materials otherwise destined for a landfill has turned waste into resource. In a conscious reflection of a recycled object’s inherent value as a cultural statement, the fragmented disarray of salvaged goods conjoin as a reflection on the surplus of consumerism. Computer relics and plastic toys from the 1990’s resurface as jarring, three-dimensional works that reestablish a value beyond their initial introduction as cultural commodities. Extending the life of goods long since forgotten, the immortalization of a wastefulness that continues to swell stands as not only a poignant reminder of the ecological decay resulting from our consumption, but the opportunity to revisit and remake otherwise quotidian, superfluous goods.
Working predominately, if not entirely, with upcycled goods, the following artists create stunning installation and sculptural works that are a visual whirlpool of texture, color and line.
A giant red ball has traveled the globe for the past 13 years. Aptly called the RedBall Project, it’s stopped in cities from Paris to Perth and is currently stationed in Rennes, France at the historic Place de la Mairie. It’s there from July 3rd to July 9th as part of the Les Tombées de la Nuit Arts Festival.
The larger-than-life inflatable sphere is currently squeezed into the Opéra de Rennes’ narrow archways and begs for the passersby to interact with it; at 250 pounds and 15 feet tall, it’s hard to miss. Reminiscent of a child’s toy on steroids, it adds a sense of playfulness to the landscape as it’s photographed, touched, and even bounced into.
The creator, Kurt Perschke, explains the idea behind his sculpture:
The urban environment is overbuilt and full of possibilities, and the project is about seeing the sculptural spaces of a city. The humor and charisma of the piece allow it access to the city and invites others into its story. I think it’s essential for public work to do more than be “outdoors” – it needs to live in the public’s imagination. (Via designboom)