Taxidermy is a subject that frequently makes people squeamish and uncomfortable, and there is something definitely something surreal about preserving an animal that has died. Idiots are a Dutch art collective who combine their skills in sculpture and design create taxidermy works of art that are both playful and disturbing. The animals are lifelike and dynamic, but often with their bodies torn apart, stuffed into glass containers, or trapped in unnatural positions. Their sculptures often exhibit the animals inner workings, and replace organs with metals, minerals, or jewels. The beauty contained inside the animals makes their lifelessness even more tragic, and indicates that the artists recognize the morbidity in their own work.
Lotta Mattila is a Helsinki-based Finnish sculptor who is currently the artist-in-residence at Skylab Gallery in Columbus, Ohio. Mattila finds meaning in the contradictions between her sculptures’ form and their content (a literal battering ram made of glass), and uses those material contradictions to comment on human nature, often by punning off of Finnish sayings.
Mattila’s Skylab exhibition Gravitation opens Friday (11/30) and runs until December 10th. Gravitation takes the “weight of the world” – its physicality and heaviness when one is depressed – as its central metaphor. More of Mattila’s work can be found after the jump.
Artist Anne Ten Donkelaar‘s series Broken Butterflies takes its inspiration from a children’s book. According to the story, because of his dream to create a mix between a flower and a bird, the protagonist Arno is banished to an insect workshop. In a way, Donkelaar works from her own insect workshop. She says:
“I had my own collection of damaged butterflies, so I decided to repair each one differently according to their needs. So in a way, I now have my own workplace with butterflies and give the butterflies a second life.”
Much of her work begins with objects that are often overlooked. Infusing them with renewed attention and narrative, Donkelaar then reintroduces the object to the viewer.
Artist Daniel Palacios‘ sculpture nearly seems alive. A length of rope is attached at to a machine at each end and spun. The spinning rope creates waves against a black backdrop, which are also audible as the rope cuts through the air. Visitors entering the gallery and their movement then influence the rope’s wave. The more a visitor moves in front of the installation, the more chaotic the wave pattern. It’s interesting to note a visitors surprise or sudden discomfort upon realizing their influence on the wave. The sculpture not only reveals a viewers impact on sonic surroundings, but also concretely presents also seems to eerily acknowledge each viewers existence in space and movement.
People are on the move in the installations of Clinton De Menezes. Large crowds of people seem to be trudging through a white field – a snowy plain or salt flat. The exodus, though, plays out on the side of a wall. The South African artist’s model migrations exhibit patience and attention to detail. Each figure is hand painted before being placed and plastered to the wall. De Menezes’ installations illustrate the personal and collective drama of human migration. His work is clearly influence by the ever shifting and complex social landscape of the land of his birth.
Stephanie Herr is a German artist whose topographic sculptures speak to humanity’s interaction with the natural world and dissociation thereof. Painstakingly cut by hand, her mapping of sausage and chicken breasts in styrofoam reference our pursuit of complete knowledge and control of the world at large, charmingly jabbing its warped products through her topographic style. This isn’t to say her works are merely didactic condemnations of mankind’s imperialism, her work is as critical of it as it is inspired by its imagination and absurdity. Political or not, Kerr’s work is a real pleasure to look at. (via)
Cao Hui‘s ultra realistic sculptures manage to be intriguing while stomach turning. Cao sculpts every day objects such as furniture or clothing as if from butchered flesh and innards. His strict attention to detail can be seen from the entrails spilling out of a slashed cushion to a couple swollen armrest stitches. Though constructed from resin, his artwork appears to bulge, droop, and tear much like actual flesh. Cao juxtaposes inside and outside, essence and appearance in a very literal (albeit gory) manner. While disturbing, Cao effectively executes his work with a certain dark humor. [via]
Artist Patrick Jacobs creates highly intricate dioramas. His dioramas, once created, are installed inside the gallery wall and fitted with a large lens. Gallery visitors can spy on each of the miniature scenes through these lenses. Jacobs’ dioramas are often of idealized landscapes or peaceful indoor scenes carefully detailed to appear as entirely separate worlds. Hidden lighting glows as if entirely natural while the foreground seamlessly blends with a background and further to the horizon.