Minimalissimo


Categorized “Art & Illustration”

January 1st Tilman Zitzmann, a Germany based interaction and graphic designer, decided to channel his enthusiasm for minimalist graphics in an on-going personal project. Each and every day he publishes a new minimalist art piece, based on geometric shapes, on his tumble log named Geometry Daily. I get a serious flow when I draw simple shapes, combine them and experiment until they start to “sing”. Zitzmann explains that he wants to concentrate on relevant things, as our daily lives are full of noise and complex dependencies. He wants to concentrate on the idea and execute it straight-forward, without fuss. Since the start of the project he has build up an impressive collection of graphs of which I made a tiny selection attached to this post.


In March of this year, multidisciplinary designers Signe Emma and Alice Young produced and exhibited an installation titled The Edge, at the Stour Space Gallery in Hackney Wick, London. The beautifully crafted project focuses on the vulnerability of the Eurozone, illustrating how the Euro is teetering ever closer to the edge of collapse. To demonstrate the effect of this collapse we used 100 sheets of A0 paper, which were individually cut to represent the imminence of a foreclosing gap. The assembly of the economy is ultimately the bane of its existence as expressed through each layer and finally to the last where none of the edges of the countries are cut out. An almost transparent Euro symbol in the top left hand corner serves to further the idea of weakness in the currency. I really enjoy the visual effect and simplicity of this installation whilst communicating a very complex issue. Very nice work.


Until September 9, photographer Jacky Redgate is exhibiting a collection of work at the Art Gallery of New South Wales under the title, The Logic of Vision. My favourite piece from the show is Untitled, vase shape #1-#5 from 1986-1989, where black objects are placed on black backgrounds (wooden stands which act as both plinths and infinity screens). Viewing them from the front, it is easy to miss the existence of the objects completely, but once we navigate through the space and view them from the side, they come fully into our consciousness. I think this is a marvellous exploration of the potential for the monochrome to render, “three-dimensional ‘things in the world’ into two dimensional images”, and the way colour and space form a relationship in our perception of the world. Writing of the work in 1993, Ross Gibson says: The object itself can not be represented and can only be experienced by the viewer seeing it directly, reinstating an elusive aura of the original which photography has largely replaced, but one which can only be fleetingly grasped. These images do the work no justice, so if you get a chance to see it in person, I’d highly recommend that...


Berlin based German artist Thilo Heinzmann is currently exhibiting his solo project, Tacmo at the Andersen-S Gallery in Copenhagen, Denmark. This interesting and wonderfully executed collection of canvas paintings has been beautifully presented in the gallery, running until 11 August 2012. Each canvas has an intricately structured black surface, illustrating elongated swings, elegant curves, straight lines of varying length and width that result from working into the paint. An acknowledgement of the tradition of colour-field painting, these black planes also become the site of inscription for sparse and well-calculated movements that the artist executes with both a brush and his hands. They produce a visual suppleness and the impression of speed that they project, emerges amidst the general calm that exudes from the paintings. If you managed to see this exhibition in person, please share your thoughts, or if you’re in the vicinity, try to catch it in the next couple of days.


Agnes Martin was a Canadian born, Vancouver raised artist who came to the United States at the age of 20, where she lived for most of her life. Influenced by the vast landscape she grew up surrounded by and by artists such as Mark Rothko, Donald Judd and Barnett Newman, her spare, paired down artistic style is often considered a minimalist art. An emphasis in her work was placed upon line, grids, and subtle color but her visual language consisting of these basic geometric shapes retains small flaws, purposefully left by the artist. Closeness is potentially created between the viewer and the artist herself as her imperfect hand becomes a connection of a human touch. Martin’s work then becomes an individual spiritual experience as one can interpret her repetitive, reductive elements on different levels, adding dimensionality based on their own perception. I love Martin’s delicate, nonhierarchical ease she brings into each piece. When you Google her name under images, you are instantly transformed into her fluent world of harmonized scales and rhythms.


And now, for a bit of minimalistic art history fun! The graphic designers from Polish studio re:design have recently published the first of three installments of a series entitled Iconic Painters to Guess. The premise is quite simple: choose a famous painter and decode them into three symbolic elements. Some are quite clear and immediately recognizable, like the ubiquitous Andy Warhol, Mondrian and Jackson Pollock, others less so. My favorite is a tie between Vermeer and Van Gogh (I still can’t believe how long it took me to figure that one out!). In the current blogging sphere where a lot of people are quite tired of badly done minimalistic movie posters and book covers, this little game seems like a breath of fresh air. If it were developed into a card game I’d definitely try to get my little hands on one!


Japanese composer and visual artist Ryoji Ikeda recently designed an exhibition for the Hamburger Bahnhof museum in Berlin, which ran from 28 January to 9 April of this year. The project’s title ‘db‘ (abbr. for decibel) refers to the symmetry of the two halls on the upper level of the museum’s east and west wings, while simultaneously indicating the complementary relationship between the two exhibition spaces. The project is a composition in which time and space are shaped through the most minimal use of sound, light and visual elements. There is a very insightful video of the exhibition, which illustrates just how stunning this work of art is. If you managed to visit the ‘db’ exhibition in person however, please share your thoughts.


Diary fragments is an on-going illustration experiment by Serbia-born and Croatia-based visual artist Mario Kolaric. Two simple elements combined – lines and color – are the basis for most of these drawings, so beautifully simple and yet each one is potent with personality, brought on by the bold pop of colors and the delicacy of each precise line. Coming from a background in Fine Arts and now dwelling in illustration, Kolaric’s minimalistic and pop sketches become even more intriguing when you see the rest of his body of work, filled with strongly narrative drawings with a deep folkloric and melancholy essence. His other interests are in merging his illustrations with spatial installations. I’d definitely love to see a spatial representation of these Diary fragments series. I’d also love a wall full of his drawings!


Karen O’Leary is a North Carolina, USA-based architect and artist that simplifies the classic map, rendering a clean design as a result of intricate hand-cuts or repetitive black hand-drawn lines. With maps ranging from New York City to Paris and London, O’Leary erases every information judged unnecessary, be it by cutting out land and water into negative space, or by electing only the barest elements to draw. What remains is the dense and intricately woven web of a very real geography, turned delicate by a meticulous work of reductionism. I love the possibilities of dramatically changing one’s perception of a map by electing what kind of information is shown… O’Leary’s minimalist editing of these complex graphics produces very simple yet strikingly beautiful results!


As a fan of New York-based practice Snarkitecture ever since their collaboration with fashion designer Richard Chai, I have been looking forward to their new installation in Chicago’s Volume Gallery, a series of everyday objects ‘confused’ in their original function, typical context and familiar materials, producing a collection of Fun. A lamp whose globe melts away from leaning onto another lamp. A coffee table frozen in collapse under the weight of a marble that ‘pours’ its heaviness out. These objects are kept in minimal colors and forms to convey the artists’ intention. Funiture reconsiders our reality, often centering on creating confusion – whether with familiar objects in unexpected contexts, or the dissolution of recognizable volumes into irrational forms. Snarkitecture, comprising of Alex Mustonen and Daniel Asham, has often brought the fields of topography and geography into a smaller, human scale. Shelves, smooth on the top surface to function as, well, shelves, are made out of fiberglass and wood while they resemble rock excavations on the underside. Consistent in their philosophy of making architectural sense in their work, what I like most about the collection is that it serves its purpose by reminding us that sometimes it is ok not to take architecture...


This children’s book by Antonio Ladrillo is absolutely adorable. Ladrillo is an illustrator from Spain. The book “Oh! A Zig-Zag!” is in Spanish and is intended to teach children about shapes and color in a simple way. The shapes twist and turn around each other on each page, and the captains are short and playful. The book reads: Oh! A zig-zag! A square has four sides And a triangle has three We are lines And we like to follow one another We are curves! One, two, three, four and five Five circles! Balancing! We love corners We are always parallel We are tangled up Wave! I love how Ladrillo has turned such simple shapes into lovable characters. Perfect!


I recently stumbled upon a new installation by Joel Shapiro of which I really like the energy it breaths. It was exhibited earlier this year at Rice University Art Gallery in Houston. The installation, Untitled, is, like all his later works, a gravity defying spectacle of shapes, colors and lines. Wooden geometric elements, painted in vibrant colors, seem to levitate in the air. Visitors can walk through the installation and the shape and color of each individual element changes, as well as how the different elements relate. In a piece like this, as you walk through it, it reconfigures, which is some essential aspect of sculpture. The sculpture is very different from a painting. It unfolds in time and space. In 2002, Shapiro started working with the idea of forms free from structure. He uses string or wire to suspend seemingly loose arrangements of painted and unpainted wooden elements. Photography by Nash Baker.