Junya Ishigami’s Enormous Helium-Filled Monolith

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Junya Ishigami (also identified by Junya Ishigami + Associates) has long been known as someone averse to the labeling or differentiating between art, design and architecture. Case in point, one of Ishigami’s most famous works which straddled various disciplines, and even played with ideas of weigh and weightlessness. Titled Cuboid Balloon, the helium-filled reflective vessel filled the hall with it’s five-story presence when it was installed at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. Although it appears massive, and therefore massively heavy, it is actually weightless (as seen in the video link below, when a museum staff member pulls it down with one hand). The reflective material responds both to its environment and surrounding architecture, but also to the people around it, an important creative rule for Ishigami’s work.

In a review of the architect by Magali Elali for All Items Loaded, they described the artist-slash-architect-slash-designer as such.

“Junya Ishigami is one of the most controversial architects, for his artistic approach to his practice has helped to redefine the ever closer boundaries between art and architecture. He draws inspiration from the way nature appears to man and aspires to an architecture that floats, is infinite, transparent and has hardly any substance. It is not the logic of the design of a building that should stand out. Ishigami wants his buildings to appeal through their new spatiality and environmental richness. His work is a quest for the pure and essential in architecture.” (via 2headedsnake and allitemsloaded)

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Norway’ Unveils Poetic Memorial For Tragic Mass Shooting

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A memorial to the victims of the worst mass shootings in modern history was recently announced, as the country revealed the selection of a design by Jonas Dahlberg. Almost three years ago on the island of Utøya, Norway, a gunman set off several bombs and killed 77 people. Rather than erecting a building or edifice in remberence, Dahlberg’s submission chose to focus on nature itself, separating the end of the island with a man-made fjord where the shooting took place. Across the channel, the names of the victims will be etched in stone, which will be seen by visitor’s in the viewing area. Separated from them physically, Dahlberg explained, “The concept for the Memorial Sørbråten proposes a wound or a cut within nature itself. It reproduces the physical experience of taking away, reflecting the abrupt and permanent loss of those who died.”

The Swedish designer’s submission was unanimously selected (his project description can be read in full here) Dahlberg explained the presence and loaded feelings upon visiting the future building site, “An emotional observation informs my overall concept. During the initial site visit to Utøya, I noticed how different the feeling was of walking outside in nature, compared to the feeling of walking through the rooms of the main building. The experience of seeing the vacant rooms and the traces of extreme violence brought me — and others around me — to a state of profound sadness. In its current state, the building kept close within it the memory of the terror acts of July 22, 2011. Like an open wound.” (via gizmodo)

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Jun Kitagawa’s Giant Zippers Open Up Large Public Spaces

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For the last few years, Japanese artist Jun Kitagawa has installed large zippers in public spaces. Sometimes they are painted on the wall, but more often and impressively, they are placed as sculptures in the middle of rooms and in public ponds. There, the ground looks as though it’s opening up and going to swallow you whole. Kitagawa has fashioned larger-than-life zippers, complete with his name on it (akin to the popular manufacturer YKK). Between the giant zipper’s teeth you can see what’s below, like wooden beams or most of the time, a dark void.

Kitagawa’s work plays into the wonder we have of what lies beneath the surface, and is a metaphor for making light of the unknown. The giant zipper reveals what can’t easily be seen, and what we often wish that we could. Even if the zipper is “open,” many times the artist fills it with nothing, saying that the truth or reality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  (Via Colossal)

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Gowri Savoor’s Compelling Sculptures Created Out Of Seeds

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Gowri Savoor

Gowri Savoor

Although Gowri Savoor experiments with dozens of different mediums, ranging from drawing and painting to mixed media sculptures made from fabrics, woods, her Seedscapes series might be the most immediately powerful. Taking various plant and fruit seeds which are pinned against boards like butterflies, in more geometrically-challenging patterns and formations, the sculptures resemble other natural forms, such as waves, sound-waves and snow or sand dunes.

The Leicester, England-born artist currently lives and works in Vermont, USA, where she gathers the various seeds used as materials in her metaphorically ephemeral works (including pumpkin, apple and sunflower). Says Savoor of her loaded-material choice, “In themselves they’re very fragile. No matter what I do, the pieces will continue to decay. There’s a human sadness as well, that everything will eventually die.” (via junk-culture)

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Incredible Balloon Art By Daisy Balloon – These Aren’t Your Party Store Balloons

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With a moniker like Daisy Balloon, it’s no surprise that their medium of choice is balloons and sculpted like you’ve probably never seen them before. The artist (whose real name is Rie Hosokai) uses them in window displays and as art objects, but more surprisingly, fashion. Taking numerous small balloons, she gathers them into large groups that make up long flowing dresses, body suits, and structures reminiscent of armor. Her avant-garde designs are worn by models and celebrities like Bjork (are you shocked?).

Her entire portfolio is no doubt impressive – after all, keeping all of those balloons full is no small feat – but the colorful, giant teddy bear that’s constructed completely out of smaller teddy bears is the right mix of visual ingenuity, nostalgia, and fun. (Via Spoon & Tamango)

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Fra.Biancoshock Insists His Street Interventions Are Not ‘Street Art’

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Fra.Biancoshock insists he is not a street artist, but rather the Milan-based experientialist noticed that his street-level installations and interventions spoke using the same language as Street Art. In regards to the movement of Street Art in regards to his work, the mysterious, identity-protecting Fra. says, “For me, that phrase is a provocation: I have not studied art, I do not frequent artistic circles, or amicidell’amicodelcuginodelfratellodelsuoamico … And I have no particular technical and artistic skills. I just have ideas and I like to strain my mind in trying to propose to the common people through what I call “Unconventional Experiences.” I think mine are “experiences” rather than works of art.”

With ties and intentions closer to Performance and Conceptual Art (for those paying off MFA degrees, think Guy Debord), the man who would become Fra.Biancoshock developed the performative avant-garde school of art he calls Effimerismo (“The Effimerismo is a movement that has the aim of producing works of art that exists in a limited way in the space, but that they persist in an infinite way in time…”) as a means of exploring and categorizing his specific means of street engagement (or as he is known to call them, “speeches”).

Operating in this very-intentionally public mode of communication, Fra.Biancoshock uses the streets as a forum, installing temporary interventions to call attention to themes of poverty, urban blight, modern stress and decay. Present in most works is how Fra deals with serious themes with a disarmingly light-hearted approach. His work has mostly been viewed (often quite temporarily) in Europe, though as Fra. says in his Manifesto-like statement, “Prior to founding the movement, [Fra.biancoshock] has made ​​more than 400 speeches on the streets of Italy , Spain , Portugal, Croatia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Malaysia and the State of Singapore, and has no intention of stopping.” (via hi-fructose)

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Metal Objects Covered With Elegant Embroidery

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Taking your average shovel, bucket, and spoon, Lithuanian-based artist Severija Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienė embroiders them with detailed cross stitch designs. She often adorns these items using conventional floral motifs, and combines the decorative art with the practical everyday object  (view some of her previous work). Most of the time, however, this renders its usefulness obsolete.

Severija’s work is cognizant of the history surrounding craft in her country. In an essay about her embroidery, Dr. Jurgita Ludavičienė writes:

Employing irony, Severija conceptually neutralizes the harmfulness of kitsch’s sweetness and sentimentality. Irony emerges in the process of drawing inspiration from the postwar Lithuanian village, with which artists have lost connection today, or from the destitute Soviet domestic environment, which women were trying to embellish with handicrafts, no matter what kind of absurd forms it would take. The intimacy of indoors freed from all tensions is the essence of coziness, that is crystallized in Severija’s works as cross stitch embroidery on various household utensils not intended for it.

 

The artist’s portfolio goes beyond floral arrangements. It has a sense of humor, as she embroiders trompe l’oeil cigarettes in an ashtray, the reflection of a mouth on a spoon, and fruit in a bowl. In addition to its meticulousness and amusement, it also blurs the lines of gendered objects, as she stitches “girly” flowers in to “manly” car parts. (Via Colossal)

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Andrea Hasler’s Sculptures Made Out Of Flesh And Guts

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Installation view Irreducible Complexity/ You and I and Irreducible Complexity/heart

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The sculptural work of Andrea Hasler has always created a dichotomous dynamic – push and pull, revulsion and attraction. The Zurich, Switzerland-born artist (previously featured here) has used her trademark visual medium of sculpted fiber-glass covered with wax to insinuate the human body, with equal parts inference to our insides as well as outsides. 

Her newest work is title Embrace the Base, a commission for Greenham Common in Berkshire, England by New Greenham Arts. The site, which held the longest women’s protest against a site storing nuclear weapons in the early 1980′s, is rich with history and emotion. The larger pieces in Hasler’s commission recall the tents that these women protesters erected in their camp outside of the military base which now serves as a cultural meeting place.

“For the New Greenham Arts Exhibition, I have created a new sculptural body of work that takes Greenham Common’s history as a starting point, particularly with the Women’s Peace Camp with its tents situated on the site during this time. This new work also takes into account the historical perspective. as well as entwines with the recreational aspect of how Greenham Common as a site, is being used now, as well as the New Greenham Art gallery being located in the former American Army’s entertainment quarter. Metaphorically I am taking the notion of the tents which were on site during the Women’s Peace Camp, as the container for emotions, and “humanise” these elements to create emotional surfaces.

Hasler mentions that with Embrace the Base she is taking a political element as a starting point and then involving body politics. In Matriarch and Next of Kin, two tent forms, cloaked in skin-like covering, recall the tents that these protesters erected in the Women’s Peace Camp. While one tent is a full-sized replica, the other scaled down, and as the artist hints, most likely represents a mother and child relationship. Often working with skin as a loaded (and typically, simultaneously literal) metaphor, Hasler says, “It’s almost like I am taking the fabric of the tent, the sort of the nylon element of the tent, and I make the fabric, this skin layer as sort of the container for emotion, or sort of the container to hold emotion, as in the skin holding emotion.”

Embrace the Base is on view now at the Corn Exchange Newbury & New Greenham Arts through April 11th, 2014.

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