Swedish artist Cajsa von Zeipel (1983) works with large format sculptures that carry references to both fashion and teen culture, the Renaissance masters and the classical tradition of sculpture. They are modelled in polystyrene and the final form covered with a layer of plaster. The white surface, the unclothed figures and the realistic depiction of the tall and thin characters have an aesthetic that is simultaneously appealing and scary. Her figures seamlessly move from the attractive to the repulsive, grotesque and studied.
Cornelia Parker investigates the nature of matter often using materials that have a history loaded with association.
Cold Dark Matter, 1991. Parker had a garden shed blown up by the British Army and suspended the fragments as if suspending the explosion process in time.
Mass (Colder Darker Matter), 1997. Parker arranged the charred remains of a church that had been struck by lightning in Texas into a visual form looking like a suspended cube.
Anti-Mass, 2005 – detail. A companion piece for Mass, this time using charcoal from a black congregation church in Kentucky that had been destroyed by arson.
In 2000 Belgian artist Berlinde de Bruyckere made “Flanders Fields”, a poignant commentary on World War I, for the Flanders Fields Museum. This work consists of five life-sized horse casts covered in horse skin displayed in vulnerable poses.
For the 54th Venice Art Biennale (2011), Swiss artist Urs Fischer created a full-size wax replica of Giambologna’s 16th-century sculpture ‘The Rape of the Sabine Women’ in front of a viewer. Both served as a giant candles, gradually disintegrating during the months-long show.
Artist Miya Ando is of half-Japanese and half-Russian heritage and is a descendent of Bizen sword maker Ando Yoshiro Masakatsu. Her 2012 art installation Obon – named after the Japanese Obon Festival that commemorates the spirit of the dead and is said to guide ancestral spirits home with floating lanterns – consisted of a thousand ficus leaves coated in a non-toxic bioluminescent resin, floating in a small pond in Puerto Rico. During the day, the coating absorbed energy from the sun and when night arrived, each leaf would emit a soft blue and purple hued light.
‘Falling’, a series of sculptures and drawings, visualises Clara Lieu’s personal experience with depression and anxiety. Unable to “release” herself from these episodes, she waited for the physical limitations of her body to end them.
Diana Al-Hadid is a Syrian-American artist who lives and works in New York. Her sculptures take “towers” as their central theme, drawing together a wide variety of associations: power, wealth, technological and urban development, ideas of progress and globalism, problems of cultural difference and conflict. Her works are informed by myriad sources: Eastern and Western-ancient biblical and mythological narratives, Arabic oral traditions, Gothic architecture, Italian and Northern Renaissance painting, Islamic ornamentation, and scientific advances in physics and astronomy.
Israeli artist Ronit Bigal meticulously presents excerpts from sacred Biblical texts on the human body in her Body Scripture II series by getting in close to the contours of the human form, re-imagining the body as an abstract landscape. Via My Modern Met
Slovenian artist Franc Grom creates amazingly beautiful and delicate eggshell art. A painstaking process, drilling one hole at time, a single egg will typically contain around 3,000 holes. In some the remaining connecting bits of eggshell are little more than a millimeter wide. Inspired by traditional Slovenian designs, his work ranges from asymmetrical botanical motifs to cut-outs that glow brilliantly when illuminated from the inside. Happy Easter!
Anya Gallaccio‘s ‘Red on Green’ (first exhibited at the ICA in 1992) consists of 10,000 red tea rose heads placed on a bed of green stalks and thorns. The blooms are left to decay during the exhibition.
“I pull the heads off the long stems. I make a bed of the green, and then the heads of the roses are really tightly packed. So for a couple of days anyway there is this really fantastic surface which is velvety, really seductive and tactile. Because they’re slightly raised off the floor by the layer underneath, they dry into perfect rosebuds.”
Milky Ways is a series of figurative sculptures in which artist Mihoko Ogaki explores life and death. Dying figures are made of black plastic and contain LEDs, which – when the room is dark – shine through little holes, illuminating the surrounding walls into a Milky Way display.
Nobuhiro Nakanishi’s Layered Drawings contain scenes that are repeatedly photographed, capturing change and the subtle passage of time. Laser printed and mounted onto acrylic they are layered into sculpture installations.
“The theme of my work is: the physical that permeates into the art piece. In a foggy landscape, we no longer see what we are usually able to see – the distance to the traffic light, the silhouette of the trees, the slope of the ground. By capturing spatial change and the infinite flow of time, I strive to produce art that creates movement between the artwork itself and the viewer’s experience of the artwork.”
French artist Christian Boltanski (1944) began his artistic career at the age of 12, when he started painting and drawing. In the 60s he moved on to creating art installations revolving around life & death and the ephemera of the human experience, tracing the lives of the lost and forgotten through objects that serve as relentless reminder to human experience and suffering.
10 Portraits Photographiques de Christian Boltanski, 1946-1964 (1972) is an artists’ book seemingly featuring photographs of Christian Boltanski at ages 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 14, 17, and 20. In fact, all photographs were taken by Annette Messager one afternoon near the waterfall in the Parc Montsouris in Paris. Only the last photograph portrays Christian Boltanski, at the age of 28, not 20.
Photos © Annette Messager
The Shadows (1984) consists of light focused on figurative shapes and forms generating a mysterious environment of silhouettes in movement.
Photo: source unknown
“Personnes” Monumenta, Paris (2010) is a series of monumental exhibitions at the Grand Palais is a work in sound and vision. “Personnes”, meaning both “people” and “nobodies” is a “social, religious and humanistic exploration of life, memory and the irreductible individuality of each and every human existence – together with the presence of death, the dehumanisation of the body, chance and destiny.
Photo © Shann Biglione
“The wheel of fortune” is part of the installation “Chance” at Venice Art Biennale (2011). A thematic exploration of the luck and fate of newborns, whose beginnings are subject entirely to chance.
Dutch artist and designer Roeland Otten‘s Transformatie Huisje (2009) aims to bring back the lost view in this historical part of Rotterdam, that was taken by a concrete electricity substation by covering unattractive areas with high-resolution photographs that blend seamlessly into the surroundings.
Italy-based sculptor Aron Demetz constructs life-sized figurative wooden sculptures and sets them ablaze. On their own, before they are scorched, the stoic human figures are presented in a variety of poses that appear to be rather classic. Though their anatomic construction is impressive, it’s after their dematerialization that viewers are offered something far more emotional. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Demetz’s sculptures are reborn as new entities
The charred remains of the artist’s works evoke a new range of sentiments that delve deeper into the vulnerabilities of both the wooden materials they are composed of and the human figures they represent. Demetz’s sculptures present mankind and nature as one, reflecting the fragility of both. The burned structures peel back the facade of the figurative forms and expose their susceptibility to hindering elements, both in the literal and metaphoric sense. The wood-turned-charcoal figures present an interpretive look at the outcome of physical and emotional onslaught. Via My Modern Met.
“Let it bleed“, is a series of life-size sculptures (of young women and young girls), as well as a
series of fragments, such as heads or hands by Greek artist Vally Nomidou. Paper is her sole material. The antithetical elements of Nomidou’s work are beauty and the repulsive. Sorrow and pain are tempered by additional materials, such as transparent fabrics, precious stones, paper lace and ribbons. Moreover, the cheap exists side by side with the precious, the vulnerable with the robust, the authentic with the eccentric, realism with flights of fantasy and psychological repercussions. At the same time, extreme realism, combined with hints of the absurd, open up her inquiry.
In her series Conflict (2011), Melinda Le Guay furthers her investigation into the repetitiveness of ‘women’s work’ through the process of knitting – often considered a nurturing activity associated with femininity. Delicate sculptures made from wire instead of the soft material expected introduce a conflict between protection and exposure in the form of seemingly simply beautiful dresses. Source: Brenda May Gallery
Brendan Hesmondhalgh is a Yorkshire based animal sculptor who works primarily in clay, wax and bronze. Capturing the dynamic nature of animals, and focusing upon structure, movement and character, Hesmondhalgh creates works that encapsulate and embody a creature’s spirit in inimitable style.
Chinese artist Cao Hui‘s sculptures manage to intrigue as well as turn stomachs. His (mostly) inanimate objects contain organs and raw meat that are either made visible through the surface or upon disassembling the sculpture. Through juxtaposing inside and outside, he seemingly gives life to dead objects.
German artist Regine Ramseier‘s project Dandelion Ceiling was being exhibited as part of the ArTroll Summer Lab 2011.
All the flowers were hand-picked by the artist, then sprayed separately with an adhesive. All the dandelions were then installed into a special palette and transported to the installation room, where the artist hung the flowers down the ceiling one by one. Via Bored Panda and The jealous curator.
Tara Donovan (1969, New York) is an American artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She is known for site-specific installation art that utilizes everyday materials. Known for her commitment to process, she has earned acclaim for her ability to discover the inherent physical characteristics of an object and transform it into art.
London-based artist Jonty Hurwitz creates anamorphic sculptures which only reveal themselves once facing a reflective cylinder.
“For the anamorphic pieces its an algorithmic thing, distorting the original sculptures in 3D space using 2πr or πr3 (cubed). Much of it is mathematical, relying on processing power. There is also a lot of hand manipulation to make it all work properly too as spacial transformation have a subtle sweet spot which can only be found by eye. Generally I will 3D scan my subject in a lab and then work the model using Mathematica or a range of 3D software tools. I think the π factor is really important in these pieces. We all know about this irrational number but the anamorphic pieces really are a distortion of a “normal” sculpture onto an imaginary sphere with its centre at the heart of the cylinder.”
On view at the upcoming Kinetica Art Fair starting February 28th, 2013.
In her project ‘Manuscripts of nature’ artist Cui Fei uses natural materials, such as thorns in response to a continually changing outside world.
“I seek the underlying essence of our lives, something that is real and permanent, which cannot be altered by social, political, cultural, or geographic conditions. I see nature as consistent and ordered, thus providing a therapeutic agent for healing and harmony in an otherwise chaotic world. I utilize materials found in nature, such as tendrils, leaves and thorns composing a manuscript symbolizing the voiceless messages in nature that are waiting to be discovered and to be heard.”