Minimalissimo


Categorized “Sculpture”

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


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


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...


I first saw the work of Anish Kapoor at GOMA for the 2007 Asia Pacific Triennial. It left a very deep impression on me, and I am fortunate to have had another experience of his work just this week at his current exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. Kudos to the curatorial and installation team for putting together such a successful show; I left with that same feeling of awe I had several years ago. I found his work to be incredibly moving and transcendental, and enjoyed the scope of his body of work. I wanted to write about the exhibition for Minimalissimo, but I could not find suitable images on the MCA’s website from the show, so I’d like to draw your attention to just one work, which is titled Sky Mirror. Installed at the entrance of the MCA, this sculpture is a large circular piece of reflective stainless steel, installed at an angle to mirror the sky and its surroundings. A very simple and effective piece, the work has been installed in many different locations, and Mr Kapoor’s website features documentation and even videos of its previous incarnations.


Australian born visual artist, George Papadimas, currently based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, has a staggeringly impressive body of work including geometric forms and colour, and so today I am featuring a collection of his enamel on stainless steel minimalist sculptures. Each sculpture is a distortion of a cube comprised of stainless steel rods coated in black enamel. These art works, created in 2010, are perhaps Papadimas’s most striking sculptures, though many of them could certainly be defined as deceptively minimalist. I’ll undoubtedly be keeping an eye out for future exhibitions. Wonderful work.


Richard Long (b. 1945) is an English artist working in the mediums of painting, photography and sculpture. He is perhaps best known as a land artist, and the works featured here derive from this genre. Beautiful installations of natural material, including rock and bark, arranged in meticulous geometric forms. Whether situated in modern or old buildings, outdoors or near the sea, they never cease to juxtapose their surroundings exquisitely. Having seen some of this work in person at AGNSW recently, I was particularly impressed by their scale and struck with a feeling of awe. Can anyone else relay an encounter of Long’s 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...


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...


Richard Serra is an American minimalist sculptor. Considered one of the best living sculptors, Serra and abstraction have always been associated and he is well known for his minimalist large-scale works of sheet metal. His outdoor sculptures have an initial process of oxidation and the color remains more or less stable over time. One of his more notable works is this mammoth sculpture, Snake, a trio of steel blades that create a curved path. It is permanently located in the largest gallery of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. In 2005, the museum mounted eight of Serra’s sculptures to create a collection entitled The Matter of Time, and Snake has now become an addition to that collection. I had never previously written about sculptures before, but I find Richard Serra’s work really inspiring and powerful. And if you enjoy this you can also check another of Serra’s posts.


Composition Light is a project recently completed by Canadian born designer Miya Kondo. The collection is comprised of a series of light sculptures that vary in size and colour. Used in combination, the objects can create different effects. Depending on the position of the elements and their relation to each other, the quality of light is modified and the ambiance of the space altered. Miya Kondo explains: Light acts as an interpreter for how we experience space – our emotional experience of space, time and place. We can be captivated by the influence of light on the shape of objects, on the atmosphere around us and the feeling of our surroundings. The installation of the Composition Light project recently took place during the Dutch Design Week 2011.