Minimalissimo


Categorized “Installation”

Tony Smith’s current exhibition Forms through Matthew Marks Gallery is a testament to his life’s work. The series of space-enveloping forms are striking, bold and minimal. Tony’s iconic, geometric metal forms actual emerged in tandem with the burgeoning minimalist scene, and this exhibition is a nod to this dedication. Responsible for more than fifty large-scale sculptures in the final two decades of this life, his work as a contemporary of American art still stands relevant and as beautiful as ever. His works, in particular, the curation of Forms, highlights how art can have a transformative ability; that through art and sculpture, spaces and architectures can be created and changed. Smith’s work is described as contributing to the idea of reductionism that lies at the heart of minimalism. And that contribution is to be celebrated. His estate is handled through Matthew Marks Gallery.


Swiss artist Zimoun, creator of exceptional minimalist sound installations, some of which you may already be familiar with, has recently introduced me to his latest work. As a collaboration with architect Hannes Zweifel, Zimoun installed 81 boxes between two levels of a room at the Mannheimer Kunstverein gallery in Germany. The boxes hang between floor and ceiling and can be seen from two different levels. 20 dc-motors are mounted and distributed along a handrail. When activated, they set the boxes in motion by means of thin nylon ropes connected vertically to the individual boxes, causing them to move with varying intensity and directions. Since the spaces between the boxes are small, the movement of one box affects neighbouring boxes, leading to a very complex overall performance of the suspension, which constantly changes and progresses. Zimoun explains: The collision of the boxes and the friction caused when they collide gives rise to a multitude of sounds and noises. The acoustic perspective changes as the viewer moves along the exhibition space and can be experienced in constantly new ways. Minimalist, ambient sound with wonderful visuals. Outstanding work. → Watch the 20 dc-motors, 81 cardboard boxes video


Recently opened to the public is the Infinity Bamboo Forest, a spectacular passage in a public annex building located in Wuxi, China. The installation is a reference to the traditional Japanese culture with its characteristic bamboo forests, and from the beginning experienced limitations of space, time and budget. So the result cannot be more magnificent, developing a passage of twenty meters as an infinity bamboo forest essentially using a combination of light and mirrors. The design of the installation was conceived by Prism Design, a Shanghai-based architecture and design studio, founded in 2009 by Tomohiro Katsuki.


Amsterdam based artist Berndnaut Smilde is known for his cloud installations. After the TIME magazine listed them as one of the Top 10 inventions of 2012, people’s fascination with Smilde’s work became widespread. The latest cloud installation, called Nimbus Green Room, took place this summer at the Veterans Building in downtown San Francisco. Here is how artist comments on this project: It’s not so much about the shape of the cloud but about placing it out of its natural context. It brings duality, because you can’t really grasp how to interpret the situation you are viewing. People have always had strong metaphysical connections to clouds as they symbolize the ominous. Even though the clouds look spontaneous, each takes meticulous preparation. The room has to have the right temperature and humidity for the effect to last several seconds. Probably the most fleeting installation in history, Numbus creates a profound impact. And each chosen room adds new context and atmosphere. Watch the film about the Nimbus project to see it in the making.


James Turrell’s latest exhibition, A Retrospective, pays homage to a much celebrated career spanning over half a century. The exhibition is currently being shown at LACMA, where Turrell himself was a driving force behind the curation of his work with instruction; you have to reserve a ticket and there are strict maximum capacities of certain pieces. Such detailing of experience is imperative to his work. Installations that encompass entire rooms and yet are composed of singular lines encompass minimalist principles at best, with vast impact through light and scale. Born in California, Turrell’s career has seen the composition of works that comprise a combination of light projections, prints, drawings and installations. This latest exhibition is about exploring sensory deprivation and highlights work from his past and most recent works. Said to have been a key artist in the Southern California Light and Space movement of the 1960s and 70s, the importance of this exhibition is great. Turrell says, I make spaces that apprehend light in our perception, and in some ways gather it, or seem to hold it. His work is represented across the US and throughout Europe and is not about light, or a record of light; it is...


Australian artist and designer Belinda Winkler has produced yet another series to the evolution of her beautiful voluptuous forms, respectively named Gravity + Align + Brink. The collections evoke connections, sensually, emotionally and imaginatively, all embodying a recurring theme of light and shadow while playing on a sense of tension between the objects. Finished from a combination of porcelain and bronze, this minimalist artist describes the process as soft, dove grey dewy forms emerging from their moulds. Winkler has contributed to both solo and group exhibitions, having won awards internationally and within Australia, where she studied. She is based in Hobart, Tasmania where she creates her sculptures and public art. Self described as a maker by nature, her work is represented by the Bett Gallery in Hobart, Tasmania. Described as biotic minimalism, I find her work to be extremely beautiful, intriguing and playful. The performance that each piece plays on gravity, and the traditional expectations of form is incredible and challenges the imagination. Gravity + Align + Brink all tempt touch, be that with the eyes, the hands, the memory or the imagination where the relationship between forms, where curve almost meets curve, nearly, but not quite touching, creating a...


Last month we featured the talented Bern-based Studio Zimoun and their wonderful sound sculptures. The studio’s latest offering is no exception. Introducing thier first permanent installation, Zimoun closely collaborated with architect Hannes Zweifel, producing a large, towering mechanical sound sculpture inside a beautiful abandoned toluene tank from 1951, located in Dottikon, Switzerland. The installation presents a complex kinetic sound sculpture, this time with 329 DC-motors and cotton balls arranged meticulously throughout the interior fabric of the space, producing a stunningly stark appearance and hypnotic hum. I’m happy this is a permanent installation, as it gives me time to get out there and see it for myself. Great work. → Watch the Toluene Tank installation video


2084 is a wall lamp by French-born product designer and visual artist Geoffroy Gillant, whose design intent uses the electric cord to suspend the lamp, maintaining an equilibrium and lightness. Electric cords are often left aside the conception of lamps and therefore rarely considered as part of their aesthetic. In the contrary, the cord of “2084″ is used as a structural element that allows a modular lighting, so the lamp could adapt to various daily needs. I especially love this element behind Gillant’s design since it not only challenges what we expect from an ubiquitous object, but it has also produced a visually inspiring silhouette that changes the illumination of a space so elegantly, and so cleverly. There is something so beautiful in the sharp contrast of how even the light is against the minimalist black linear tubes and wires. Gillant had worked with ToolsGalerie to produce an edition exhibited for their gallery which was made with black leather over bended PMMA tubes and dimmable LED strips. Images courtesy of Geoffroy Gillant.


Having previously been featured on Minimalissimo, thrilling us with his exceptional sound installations, Swiss artist Zimoun has returned with three new terrific pieces. It is one in particular that I would like to share with you however – 198 prepared DC-motors, wire isolated, cardboard boxes. Curated by CAN Neuchatel, this installation not only offers a beautiful minimalist aesthetic, but it also embodies some of the purest elements of contemporary culture – constant speed, constant noise and constant motion. In an obsessive display of simple and functional materials, these works articulate a tension between the orderly patterns of Modernism and the chaotic forces of life. Carrying an emotional depth, the acoustic hum of natural phenomena in Zimoun’s minimalist constructions, effortlessly reverberates. → Watch the 198 DC-motors video


Trace Heavens by James Nizam, is an installation that plays with light in its natural form, through manipulation of the building it exists through. Primarily, his work is based on manipulating the form of homes and buildings slated for demolition with the intention to repurpose their inevitable future, through capturing a moment. The resulting works are photographic. Trace Heavens was originally composed in 2011, and exhibited in Vancouver in 2012. Nizam, originally from England, now living in Canada, is represented in galleries across Canada and Switzerland. His work is a combined portfolio of his own solo work, and collaborations with other artists, across these geographical platforms. His work can be found in a number of private collections across the United States, Europe and Canada also. Trace Heavens, as well as Nizam’s other work, centres around the idea of the rooms becoming backdrops for the discarded contents and architectural debris that he accumulated and constructed into sculptures of elegant complexity. The emphasis on re-inventing and giving meaning to an otherwise discarded object, through manipulation of its form, is at the heart of this inquiry of Nizam’s understanding of the photograph as a trace; a documentary image that comes to act as...


Fabian Bürgy is a Swiss born sculptor and independent digital creative, who’s diverse and artistic practice includes sculpture, installation and digital imaging. His work explores the aesthetic of things through random encounters of materials, misplaced situations and spatial relationships. It is a series of Bürgy’s incredible installations and digital creations that I would like to share with you here. He creates conceptual situations and small interventions, which are inspired by a wide range of mundane objects and appearances. All of which are characterised by a slightly violent and disturbing process of transformation, misplacement and dysfunction of things. Bürgy takes specific thoughts and develops conflicts with precise and absolutely minimalistic means – constantly exploring the point where known things become something else, where metamorphosis is reached. Personal favourite has to be the lonely and misplaced black cloud floating in space. Wonderful.


Danish design office, Kollision, who specialise in interaction design, recently introduced me to their truly remarkable kinetic media sculpture, Spine. Spine is an interactive installation based on twenty glowing cubes and an atmospheric sound composition. Each cube is moved precisely in fluid motions by two computer-controlled motors. The movements of the cubes as well as the sound composition react to nearby visitors by working together as one coherent expression in dialogue with the surroundings – a fifty meter long spine floating in space continually displaying new movements, light scenes and sounds. Spine was displayed between November 15th and December 15th 2012 at Godsbanen in Aarhus, Denmark, during the Media Architecture Biennale 2012. Did any of you see this in person? What I find particularly striking about Spine, beyond the basic geometric shapes, is the different atmospheres it can create for passers by. I only wish I was one of them. To better appreciate this installation, please watch the video to see the lighting and sound effects in action.