Prune Nourry’s ‘Terracotta Daughters’ Reflect Gender Preference In China

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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.

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Brian Dettmer Uses Surgical Tools To Carve Intricate Drawings Into Old Books

brian-dettmer1 brian-dettmer2brian-dettmer11 brian-dettmer12New York-based artist Brian Dettmer’s sculptural, multi-layered books are so intricate that they require him to use surgeon tools in his process. He carefully carves illustrations and text out of old medical journals, dictionaries, maps books, encyclopedias, and more. Nothing inside of the books is implanted – pieces are only removed. The idea is that these subtractions will reveal new histories and memories now that the story and context has changed. Dettmer sees his work as a collaboration with the existing work’s past creators.

He writes about his creations, which are a comment on the changing landscape of technology. From Dettmer’s artist statement:

The age of information in physical form is waning. As intangible routes thrive with quicker fluidity, material and history are being lost, slipping and eroding into the ether. Newer media swiftly flips forms, unrestricted by the weight of material and the responsibility of history. In the tangible world we are left with a frozen material but in the intangible world we may be left with nothing. History is lost as formats change from physical stability to digital distress.

 

The richness and depth of the book is universally respected yet often undiscovered as the monopoly of the form and relevance of the information fades over time. The book’s intended function has decreased and the form remains linear in a non-linear world. By altering physical forms of information and shifting preconceived functions, new and unexpected roles emerge. (Via Demilked)

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Cedric Laquieze Uses Parts Of Insects To Construct Exquisite Fairies

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Amsterdam-based artist Cedric Laquieze has recently completed an exquisite series of taxidermy Fairies. These probably aren’t the type of fairies you’re imagining – no Tinkerbell-looking creatures here. Instead, the small, delicate sculptures are constructed using a myriad of different insect species, bones, seeds, and even scorpion parts, giving them a quasi-bug look.

Laquieze uses the brilliant blues, greens, oranges, and more to form the fairies’ wings, headdresses, and bodies. The insects are meticulously crafted and seamlessly integrate all of the otherwise disparate parts into a whole. While they might not look like the typical storybook cartoons, they are definitely more detailed and visually intriguing. The artist’s interpretation lends itself to darker, less cheery tales where fairies don’t have to be good. (Via Archie McPhee)

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Famous Cars Soar Through The Sky In Gerry Judah’s Gravity-Defying Installations

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Porsche, 2013

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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.

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Red Poppies Flood Like Blood From The Tower Of London Commemorating WWI Centenary

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Ceramic artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper collaborate to create a stunning installation commemorating the centennial of the First World War. A scarlet sea of 888,246 ceramic red poppies will be “planted” around the Tower of London. Titled “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red”, the installation pays tribute to soldiers who perished during the war.

For the past few weeks, volunteers have been carefully placing the flowers all around the famous dry moat around the Tower. Poppies burst through one of the windows and then flow loosely, forming an arch over the footbridge to the castle. Each poppy represents a soldier from the United Kingdom and its colonies who was killed during WWI. Cummings says he was inspired by a line in the will of a soldier from Derbyshire.

“I don’t know his name or where he was buried or anything about him. But this line he wrote, when everyone he knew was dead and everywhere around him was covered in blood, jumped out at me: ‘The blood-swept lands and seas of red, where angels fear to tread.’ I believe he meant the angels to refer to his children.”

Poppy is considered a flower of remembrance in Britain. The reason is because most of the soldiers died fighting in the trenches in the poppy fields of Flanders.

The blooming field will continue to grow throughout the summer. The final flower will be symbolically planted on November 11th, Armistice Day. The ceramic blossoms are for sale for £25 ($42) each. 10 percent of the proceeds go to benefit six different charities. You can find out more about the project by following the #TowerPoppies hashtag on Twitter. (via Colossal)

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Silly Pendants Transform Women’s Breasts Into Site-Specific Art Installations

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The goal of Japanese designer Takayuki Fukusawa’s work is “to create things that make people say , ‘he made another ridiculous thing.’” And that he did. His newest series of works is called Tanama Diver, and it features pendants that resemble human and animals who are poised to look like divers and climbers. They are positioned in a way that they appear as if they’re headed into the cleavage of whomever is wearing them.

The silly accessory includes figurines like a salaryman diver, a skydiver, an astronaut, and canyon climber. There’s even a sloth and wolf thrown into the mix. Alone, they look innocuous, but when around someone’s neck suddenly transform into provocative pieces of tiny, site-specific works of art that interact with your breasts. (Via Demilked and Spoon and Tamago)

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Nancy Rubins’ Transforms Children’s Playground Toys Into Large-Scale Explosive Sculptures

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NANCY RUBINS ‘Our Friend Fluid Metal’, 2014. Aluminum, stainless steel, 204 x 500 x 281 inches, (518.2 x 1.270 x 713.7 cm). © Nancy Rubins. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery. Photography by Robert McKeever.

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NANCY RUBINS ‘Our Friend Fluid Metal, Chunkus Majoris’, 2013. Aluminum and stainless steel, 150 x 192 x 145 inches, (381 x 487.7 x 368.3 cm). © Nancy Rubins. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery. Photography by Robert McKeever.

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NANCY RUBINS ‘Our Friend Fluid Metal, Paquito’, 2013 Aluminum and stainless steel, 132 x 168 x 96 inches, (335.3 x 426.7 x 243.8 cm). © Nancy Rubins. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery. Photography by Robert McKeever.

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NANCY RUBINS ‘Our Friend Fluid Metal, Spiral Ragusso’, 2013. Aluminum, stainless steel, 134 x 228 x 187 inches, (340.4 x 579.1 x 475 cm). © Nancy Rubins. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery. Photography by Robert McKeever.

Nancy Rubins‘ grandiose sculpture exhibition Our Friend Fluid Metal is open to public at the Gagosian Gallery, New York. Famous for her explosive installations featuring re-purposed objects, this time Rubins’ transforms old equipment from children’s playgrounds into dynamic large-scale floating structures.

The title of the exhibition refers to materials Rubins’ used to create her surrealist sculptures. The monumental figures are constructed from recycled aluminum playground toys. But the story goes back even further, as the playful critters (elephants, ponies, giraffes, etc.) were made with aluminum from WW2 military planes. Sturdy and, at that time, cheap material was perfect for making thick children’s playground equipment. For the artist, this flux was a natural inspiration.

“Even before the airplane parts the aluminum was a part of the earth and before it was part of the earth it was probably parts of stars and meteors and things that slammed into the earth.”

The exhibition consists of four massive sculptures, all compound through a system of steel trusses and tension cables. Dimensions vary, but the largest measures 17 x 42 x 24 feet. Despite that, Rubins’ works ten to evoke a sense of lightness and stillness, like someone had pushed a Pause button in the middle of an explosion. Her expressionist take towards unwieldy constructions reveals the fair line between rigid and gracefully fluid.

The exhibition runs until September 13, 2014 at Gagosian Gallery, New York.

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Gravity-Defying Objects Created With Magnetic Clay

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Dutch designer Jolan van der Wiel creates unusual ceramic sculptures using the conflicting properties of metallic clay and magnets. His latest project “Magnetism Meets Architecture” features a number of fantastic gravity-defying architectural models and explores the possibility of using magnetism in architecture.

The process of making such sculptures starts by mixing clay with water to create a slip, a mixture with the consistency of cream. Then he adds metallic powder like iron with the ratio typically being 90% clay, 10% metal. The whole blend is then transferred to a nozzle similar to the one confectioners use for cake icing. Carefully building layer after layer, van der Wiel allows surrounding magnets to pull them into various shapes resembling a drip sand castle (passing a magnetic field through the material provides an opposing force to gravity, thus the clay is pulled upwards and suspends in its place).

Van der Wiel is fascinated with the idea of using magnetism in architecture.

“I’m drawn to the idea that the force would make the final design of the building – architects would only have to think about the rough shape and a natural force would do the rest. This would create a totally different architectural field.”

According to the artist, he got the inspiration from Catalan architect Gaudi who used gravity to calculate the final shape of his famous building La Sagrada Familia: “I thought, what if he had the power to turn off the gravitation field for a while? Then he could have made the building straight up.” (via Wired)

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