In the digital age and generation of the selfie, a spiraling and often disorienting importance placed on consumerism and commodities permeates even the most remote of regions. Through the billboard jungles and beehive of mass media, images relentlessly promoting youth and sexuality haphazardly depict ideals of femininity. Creating a wormhole of inadequacies, the female form has found itself in a constant tug-of-war in either defending its natural state or scrambling to correct propagated notions of aesthetic shortcomings. As Barbara Kruger famously stated on one of her notorious gelatin silver prints from the 1980’s, “You Are Not Yourself”.
With Britain celebrating the Year Of The Bus (#YOTB), three major companies teamed up to build an amazing life-sized LEGO bus stop on the Regent Street in London. Constructed from over 100,000 LEGO bricks, it features even the most intricate details and has a personal hashtag (#LEGOBusStop).
Opened to public just a few days ago, this bus stop already received huge attention from city’s visitors and locals. On Sunday, it served as a checkpoint for vintage bus parade and showcased models from the 1820’s up to the most modern Routemasters. According to the TfL spokesman, the bus stop was meant to stay in place until July 15th but the term may be prolonged.
“Many thousands of people pass along Regent Street each day and we hope the new shelter will bring a smile to the face of even a hardened commuter”,–Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport.
The LEGO bus stop project was initiated by Transport for London and developed together with LEGO and Trueform, a company that specializes in public transport hardware. It took around two weeks to build and appears on the outside of a legendary toy store Hamley’s.
Untitled, 2014. Styrene index cards, metal, wood, paint and glue
(detail) Untitled, 2014. Styrene index cards, metal, wood, paint and glue
Tara Donovan (previously featured here) has famously used inorganic materials to emulate organic shapes, resembling hives, mountains and other natural configurations. Her most recent exhibition, Tara Donovan, at Pace Gallery’s Chelsea, New York, expands on the artist’s use of inventive materials, including index cards, a first for Donovan. Featuring two large-scale works, “the artist continues to explore the phenomenological effect of work created through the accumulation of identical objects”
The former Macarthur Foundation ‘Genius’ Grant recipient is known for her commitment to process, inventive materials, and evocative installations. Says Donovan,
“There is a sense I get of wanting to choreograph someone’s experience of my work, because the surfaces of my work do often shift and follow the perspective of the viewer, there is a perceptual movement that coincides with a person’s physical movement within the gallery space.’”
Daan Botlek‘s trademark figural painted works always evoke a certain one-off kind of narrative, but his latest series, Escape From Wuhlheide, carries this idea even further. Based in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, Botlek (previously here) was exploring an abandoned and graffiti-filled building in Berlin, when the idea of painting an escape came to mind.
“While wandering through Wuhlheide looking for some spots to paint the idea arose…to make some sort of storyline of an escape.”
The story in Escape From Wuhlheidereads like a cartoon rendered in real life, blending street art, animation, illustration and painting. Each ‘cell’ of the escape is painted individually, depicting two blanked-outline characters making their way through the dilapidated space, peeking around corners, crawling up walls and climbing ladders. Each ‘cell’ is then photographed, documenting their run away. (via colossal)
Austrian artist Valentin Ruhry often plays with ideas of Minimalism and analog technologies, using light installations as a systematic approach which reveals a metaphor of interconnectedness, even when we do not see them present. In his 2013 exhibition Réclamer at Halle für Kunst & Medien in Graz, (then travelling to Österreich), Ruhry references advertising and promotional communication, using light boxes which generally house these messages. The exhibition’s title, Réclamer, comes from Latin and French, meaning to claim, to appeal, to call back. Ruhry, who was born in Graz, Austria and now lives and works in Vienna, used the empty light to represent a loss of function, “both through their components and in and of themselves.”
This type of installation investigates many of the themes present in Ruhry’s other works. When speaking with Jon Rathenberg’s Artist Interview Tumblr, Ruhry explains his fascination and his process, “I´m not a scientist nor have I ever been educated in mechanical engineering or whatever but I have always had a strong interest in technology. For me, a jet plane or a refrigerator is as fascinating and sometimes as miraculous as the power socket on your wall. Since I don’t understand much about the technical aspects of most of the equipment that surrounds me I study there aesthetic qualities. I try to highlight them by placing aesthetics or form before function.” (via likeafieldmouse and artistinterview)
Amy Boone-McCreesh’s sculptures and 2-D mixed-media works are both self-referential and highlight a larger aesthetic idea, which is the visual aspect of celebrations. For years, she’s explored the way in which different cultures commemorate events in their lives, particularly how they express it with decoration and objects. Now, with a new body of work, Boone-McCreesh goes beyond this initial inspiration and uses things she’s previously created as raw material for new pieces. They debuted at a recent two-person exhibition with artist Sarah Knobel entitled Anything Sacred at Hamiltonian Gallery in Washington, DC.
Anything Sacred is a birth of new from the old. Through digital manipulation, collage, printing, and reworking, I allow visual elements from an extant body of work to become new imagery printed on vinyl, paper, and custom fabric. The complex layering, stripping, and blending of the digital with the handmade gives birth to a new visual language.
In sampling my own imagery and re-contextualizing it in an immersive visual experience that is both cyclical and unifying, I am challenging traditional notions about value and pushing for a more complex, dynamic personal aesthetic. Simultaneously, my work in Anything Sacred continues to examine the use and meaning of decoration through formal arrangement and design.
You can view Anything Sacred now at Hamiltonian Gallery in Washington, DC until June 21 of this year. More shots of the candy-colored walls and lively work after the jump.
California-based artist Gregory Kloehn often repurposes the still completely-usable trash and street detritus that he finds in the streets. His ongoing project Homeless Homes takes this idea one step further, offering real aid by creating housing for the homeless in Oakland. Dubbed as “eclectic building materials for small but efficient mobile homes.” Kloehn and his volunteers recycle and reuse salvage to offer small, mobile house (they are on wheels), Mostly the size of a sofa or small room, these Homeless Homes offer a safe place and protection, and raise awareness to the needs of the homeless community. “Stuff people just throw away on the street can give someone a viable home,” Kloehn said in an interview with NBC News. “Does it have merit as a solution to homelessness? As far as giving people a shelter, yeah, definitely. Is it a solution to homelessness? It’s an answer. An attempt.”
Kloehn further describes his aims on the project’s website, “Our goal is to bring together imaginative people and discarded materials to make sturdy, innovative, mobile shelters for the homeless people. By sourcing our materials from illegal street dumping, commercial waste and excess household items, we strive to diminish money’s influence over the building process.”
Perhaps the fascination for artists utilizing chrome and mirror in their works is the increasing divide between seeing ourselves more and more via social media, yet understanding ourselves less. This is particularly evident in the work of New York-based Korean multidisciplinary artist Kimsooja, which often deals with the self-perception and the self and the other. In her installation To Breathe – A Mirror Woman at the Palacio de Cristal, Parque del Retiro, in Madrid, Kimsooja transformed a classic greenhouse by removing everything and replacing it with a mirrored floor. Next, the Tague, South Korean-born artist used a translucent, light-diffracting film to coat the windows, which cause an array of naturally occurring rainbows, which were in turn continuously reflected by a mirrored surface that covered the entire floor. Like many of her projects, an audio pairing accompanied the visuals. Visitors would experience a recording of Kimsooja breathing, enhancing the contemplative yet personal and relatable mystery of the installation.
Taken from Kimsooja’s description of the project, “Outside light filters through the glass of the pavilion and reflects off the diffraction film. It diffuses into rainbow spectrums, transforming the external panorama seen from within the palace. The resulting effect is that the entire structure as well as the rays of colour reflecting off the mirrored floor. Natural light, colour, and sound are all ethereal elements within the empty space. The artist’s breathing from the performance, The Weaving Factory, bounces off the mirrors and fills the entire building to intermix with it, breaking down barriers of inside and outside, self and other, and reality and fantasy.”