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)
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.
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)
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)
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.
From afar, it’s unclear what this billowing, cloud-like sculpture is made of. Up close, however, you can see that it’s comprised of various plastic bottles that are strung together in round, pleasing shape. New York-based architects and designers STUDIO KCA collected a combination of one gallon jugs, 16 and 24-ounce bottles and compiled them into this ethereal, massive structure. In total, the installation titled Head in the Clouds is made from 53,780 containers to represent the amount of trash that’s thrown away in New York City in just one hour.
Beneath the cloud’s exterior is a small seating/dreaming pavilion that accommodates up to 50 people. It’s meant for visitors to contemplate the light and color filtering through the cloud, as well as our consumption problem and the impact on the environment. Sand, water, and a curved aluminum frame prove the structural integrity.
Head in the Clouds made its debut last year on New York’s Governor’s Island. The stay was temporary, and the studio is now looking for its next home. (Via Colossal)
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.
In New Hampshire-based artist Megan Bogonovich’s magical ceramic sculptures, well-dressed women and men peek into gigantic anemones and castle-like coral reefs, plunging headfirst inside like Alice in Wonderland. Looking at the sculptures is similar to reading an enchanting fairytale, with each ornate detail given the attention and intricacy usually afforded to the illustrations in a children’s storybook. Bogonovich’s eye for detail is perhaps most evident in the underwater creatures poised to swallow their small-scale human counterparts. Made colossal in comparison, they foster the sense of wonder and impending adventure that Bogonovich is so adept at creating for each of her sculptures. There’s no end to the number of details one can glean looking at just one of Bogonovich’s sculptures, from the little girl peering into the rose-like openings in a slab of coral to the woman on the cusp of falling headlong into a multicolored anemone that, with its open valves, strongly resembles a human heart. Bogonovich’s sculptures are painted in vivid pastel colors of yellows, pinks, and greens, which lends them an even stronger storybook aesthetic. This serves them well in conjuring up all of the magical scenarios to follow the spellbinding scenes her sculptures capture. (via Hi Fructose)