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
Categorized “Art & Illustration”
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.
Speaking of the notion of ‘suchness’ in his book Zen and the Brian, James H. Austin notes: In Japanese, the word ‘sono-mama’ had long implied that something could stand as it is, untouched. In Chinese, the expressions ‘Chi-mo’ or ‘Shi-mo’ were used to mean ‘just so’, or ‘so it is.’ I open with this quote to introduce Carl Andre’s sculpture of 1966, Equivalent VIII, which consists of of 120 fire bricks arranged as a rectangular prism on the floor of the gallery space. I would like to suggest—for I haven’t encountered it myself—a Zen Buddhist reading of Andre’s work, which would frame it as a presentation of things as they are, untouched. In David Batchelor’s book on Minimal Art, André is quoted as saying this about his work: The one thing I learned in my work is that to make the work I wanted to you couldn’t impose properties on materials, you have to reveal the properties of the material. And elsewhere, speaking of his sculpture: Their subject is matter. These quotes encapsulate for me what is offered by Andre’s work: the opportunity to encounter this sculpture as just bricks. Let it be so.
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
The String Lights installation, created by London based designer Michael Anastassiades for Italian brand Flos, was presented during Euroluche 2013 in Milan. Thin electrical cords, arranged into laconic shapes, held pendants, fitted with LED light sources. Here is how the designer describes his inspiration: Every time I take the train, I sit by the window and watch the series of perfectly parallel strings connecting the pylons, as we move at high speed. I love the way they divide the landscape and how spheres are occasionally beaded through the wires at random intervals. I also love how, in Mediterranean cultures, strings of lights are stretched between posts to mark an outdoor space for an evening party in a village square. And finally, I love how human ingenuity works around problems created by everyday things in the house (like switches and power points) that others have chosen to position where we don’t want them. I love how these delicate pensil-thin lines create the shapes our mind finishes and makes three-dimensional. Who ever said that the electrical cord is not a beautiful thing?
Toronto based visual artist, Kal Mansur, specialises in solid acrylic sculpture. It is Mansur’s minimalist styled Pixels collection that I am delighted to share with you today. The Pixels bring to mind scaled-down architectural models. Empty spaces, walls and blocks are suggested, subtly visible through the semi-opaque acrylic. There is no point of entry, sealed completely on all six sides. The viewer gets just a hint of the interior as available light creates shadows, exposing voids. Created in 2010 and 2011, each piece is made up of solid acrylic, beautifully hand carved, featuring straight painted lines. All measuring 16 x 16 x 3 inches, it is certainly the dark canvas sculptures that I find most striking, particularly that entitled, Secrets.
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...
Manhattan-based artist, Tim Furzer’s Atheist’s Day Off is a collection of photographic pieces taken from the summit of Sugar Loaf Mountain, Rio De Janeiro. This collection further cements his presence on an international platform as an emerging talent. Although his body of work is primarily comprised of watercolour in media, this collection taps into the fragility of the human state; of suspension and a certain unearthed-ness. Tim Furzer’s work focuses on the interconnection of natural phenomena, the persistence of chronic conditions and the inherent difficulty in recording moments of epiphany. The Atheist’s Day Off collection has both a luminescent and ethereal quality, where the feeling of being in-amongst and above the blanket of clouds is notable and voiced. The cable lines that disappear into the distance help with this withdrawal from gravity. Central to the work is the ideal of simplification – any subject or entity expressed by the complex interaction of energy and information. Initially exhibited in 2011, I find the composition expresses a beauty and lightness.
This week I have been reminded of the work of Yves Klein (1928-1962) who is perhaps best remembered as a painter of blue monochrome paintings. More specifically, he is known for the particular shade of blue paint employed in his paintings and sculptures, the trademarked International Klein Blue (IKB). But what has drawn my attention to Klein’s work this week is more the conceptual side of his practice (although this is not to imply that his blue monochromes are not conceptual), especially the work in which Klein explored (and exposed) throughout many mediums what he dubbed ‘the void.’ To this effect, Wikipedia recounts works by Klein such as a composition with no actual composition, painting without painting, and an exhibition without any content whatsoever (his Iris Clert Gallery exhibition of April, 1958). I’ve stressed in the past that where minimal art succeeds for me is in its ability to be reductive and to reveal the essence of being and matter. Klein took this to—what was at the time—extremes, and in his idiosyncratic grand and theatrical manner. We’re all better off for having him.
Chris Packer exhibited a series of paintings titled ‘The Planes’ for Factory 49 in February in what’s known as the ‘Office Space’; for the same duration, I exhibited a new project in the ‘Showroom’. The paintings were white canvases with cotton tape arranged geometrically across them; the cotton tape was white on the outside, but coloured on the underside. As a result, the white canvases were illuminated by the reflection of colour from the underside of tape in a very alluring way. In the catalogue available at the gallery, Packer comments: In the present work, the cotton tape acts as ground and curtain, at once carrying and hiding the painting. What struck me most with Packer’s exhibition was the way he utilised a small space with comparatively quite large paintings that were compositionally connected. Speaking of this aspect of his work on his website, Packer writes: Where you might ordinarily create a series which you then cull to make a cohesive offering, this show proceeded from a design based on the shape of the space, then isolated parts of the whole to produce independent ‘easel paintings’. It was a delight to exhibit alongside Packer and I look forward to seeing...
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.
Brazilian photographer and architecture student Vinícius Vitoriano Barbosa, based in São Paulo, has recently created a minimalist photographic paper series titled, Less is More. The whole concept of the project can be summarised in this phrase by legendary abstract expressionist painter Hans Hofmann: The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. Vitoriano explains that the goal was to find an object as simple as possible that was capable of creating diversity, textures, shadow and light: the essence of photography. The chosen object to achieve this, was paper. Through this simple and commonplace industrialised material, were framed compositions of organic shapes that recall nature. What I particularly like about this project is that it gives the viewer a chance to be in touch with the essence of photography, rather than distract them with the trivial. Vitoriano has produced something really quite beautiful with this series. Less is indeed more.