Nina Saunders

Nina Saunders: Sculptural Works

Born in 1958 in Odense, Denmark, Nina Saunders studied Fine Art and Critical Studies at Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design. Working across a wide range of materials, her artwork and installations play with the functions of objects, which appear familiar but question our preconceptions.

Saunders strips domestic objects of their comfort and use, turning them into odd, subversive works of art which project a disturbing sense of humor. Reclaimed sofas and chairs with floral patterned upholstery seem to melt into amoebic forms flowing across rooms, or take the form of bizarre creatures with swelling cushions and awkward angled legs.

Saunders’s work range from small objects such as upholstered hairbrushes and oddly-shaped, vinyl-wrapped dust pans with zippers to larger works, such as the 2017 “She May Not Be Your Friend But She is Your Hairdresser”, a sculptural work fashioned from a 1950s hairdressing chair, a deer head, plywood, foam, and deerskin.

Even when a Saunders installation scene seems normal, the effect can be mildly disturbing. In Saunders’s 2002 installation “Forever”, the scene is an ordinary middle-class room with limited-budget furniture, containing a potted plant, a gash in the wall, and a rocking swing suspended from the ceiling. Playing in the background is a loop of singer Engelbert Humperdinck singing the Demis Roussos song “Forever and Ever”. Although containing normal, recognizable objects, the scene is strikingly reminiscent of a Twilight Zone episode.

Nina Saunders has exhibited her works at many international locations including the Pallant House in London,;Note Art Contemporanea in Arezzo, Italy; and The British Council in Brussels. Her work was in the group show “Hidden Histories, Untold Stories” at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; the Nordic and Danish Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale; and the Museum of Modern Art in Vaasa, Finland.

Brixel Mirror

BREAKFAST, “Brixel Mirror”, 2018, Kinetic Art Installation, Brooklyn, New York

Founded in 2009, BREAKFAST is a new media artist collective focused on creating innovative software and hardware driven artworks. These sculptures connect viewers to far-away places through interactive experiences, telling stories about our rapidly changing world. 

The studio’s practice employs a unique blend of mechanical engineering, computer science, and playful aesthetics to invite audiences to reflect on the relationship between the physical and  the digital, as well as the global and the intimate. The sculptures reflect the evolving relationship between human bodies and the technological innovation of the information age.

The “Brixel Mirror” is a 19 foot wide by 6 foot-tall installation made up of 540 Brixels, black on one side and polished aluminum on the other. The kinetic sculpture is the first installation built by BREAKFAST to utilize their new technology, which is a digitally controlled system that rotates each “brick” to make them act as pixels. The “Brixel Mirror” can cycle between various content, including “Silhouette” where, when you approach the installation, the Brixels directly in front of you rotate, creating a mirror that matches your silhouette that moves with you giving a one-to-one reflection.

BREAKFAST’s artworks have been exhibited worldwide, including the World Trade Center in New York City, the Houston Space Center in Texas, the 2019 Momeni Exhibition in Hamburg, Germany,  Google in Moscow, and at Christie’s in New York City. There are many permanent installation sites, including the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, the WNDR Museum in Chicago, and the Hudson Yards in New York City. 

Many thanks to BREAKFAST’s site: https://breakfastny.com/works

Mark Manders

Sculptural Work by Mark Manders

Born in 1968 in Volkel, The Netherlands, Mark Manders currently lives and works in Ronse, Belgium. He first studied graphic design, but soon changed his studies to sculpture, becoming interested in the paralleled evolution of humans and objects.

Mark Manders is best known for his rough-hewn, unfired clay sculptures, often later cast in bronze, and his installations of randomly arranged objects. Over thirty years of work, Mark Manders has developed an endless self-portrait in the form of sculpture, still life, and architectural plans. His works present mysterious and evocative tableaux that allow viewers to construct their own narrative conclusions and meanings.

Manders’ first conception of the self-portrait, inspired by an interest in writing, was more literal and employed language and the written word in the form of an autobiography. He later began to explore the architecture of story telling, focusing on structure, rather than on specific content. This early realization has resulted in a continually expanding body of sculptural investigations of form, meaning and narrative.

In 2010, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles opened a major retrospective of Mark Manders’ work entitled “Parallel Occurrences / Documented Assignments”,  which later traveled to the Aspen Art Museum in Colorado, The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, through 2012. Manders represented the Netherlands in 2013 at the 55th Venice Biennale. He also had solo exhibitions at Collezione Maramotti in Reggio Emilia, Italy, and the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea in Santiago de Compostel, Spain, both in 2014, Manders has had three solo exhibitions at the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, with locations both in Los Angeles and New York City.

Mark Mander’s 2017 sculptural work “September Room (Room with Two Reclining Figures and Composition with Long Verticals”, shown in image one, is now part of the Minneapolis Sculptural Garden at the Walker Art Center. Positioned in one of the Garden’s original formal quadrants, Manders’s commission consists of a grouping of five bronze sculptures combining human forms, architecture, and everyday objects, to suggest both the ancient and new.

Lucy Glendinning

Lucy Glendinning, “Feather Child 4″, Date Unknown, Feathers on Form

Lucy Glendinning is a sculptor and installation artist, who works in a contemporary British sculpture tradition. Her different aesthetic expressions are brought together under one central entry point: the human body as a semiotic medium. For Glendinning, art is the primary tool for investigating psychological and philosophical themes. Her work is thus permeated by a conceptual content, superior to the value of aesthetics.

Glendinning seduces the observing eye by emphasing subtle expressions and presenting stunning craftsmanship. Her way of cleverly combining paradoxical qualities are revealed in the twisted combinations of tenderness and brutality, empathety and ignorance, stillness and movement.

The suite “Feather Child” series originates from Glendinning’s fascination with visions of a future society. The feathered children are embodied questions, where the artist is asking us if we, in a world where our genetics could be freely manipulated, will be able to resist altering our physical abilities. Will necessity or vanity be the ruling power? The fragility of the feathers is simultaneously mirroring the perhaps most classic tale of human hubris: the fate of Icarus in Greek mythology.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei, “He Xie (River Crab)”, 2010, Porcelain

The installation “He Xie” consists of 3,200 porcelain crab sculptures. They were created after Chinese authorities ransacked and destroyed Weiwei’s studio in 2010. Following that event, a feast of real river crabs was hosted by Weiwei, who was unable to attend, due to his house arrest. The term “He Xie” is a homophone for “harmonious” in Chinese and has also become a term for internet censorship.

Matt Mullican

The Artwork of Matt Mullican

Matt Mullican is an American artist, active since the beginning of the 1970s and a pioneer in the use of hypnosis as a performance practice in art.

Mullican’s artistic practice is accompanied by two main ways of working: first,  with the constant aim of investigating and examining the relation between reality and perception; and second, providing structure for every aspect of the human condition. The definition of a genuine cosmology has been defined by Mullican as the “Five Worlds”. He shows in his work how the understanding of reality is an interior construction, forged entirely by the imagination,

Each world of the “Five Worlds” corresponds to a different level of perception and is represented by just as many colors. The color green is for the physical and material elements; blue for everyday life; yellow for the arts; black for language and signs, and red for subjective understanding.

Mullican’s art is also an exploration of the subconscious mind through the practice of hypnosis and of states of profound concentration and trances. In the state of the induced trance, Mullican claims that he becomes another person, quite unlike himself, known as “That Person”: an ageless and sexless entity yet with its own personality, and one capable of producing works of art.

Irina Nakhova

Irina Nakhova, “Pilot”, 2015, Installation at the 2015 Venice Biennale

“Pilot” is one part of a three-part installation “The Green Pavilion” presented by Russian artist Irina Nakhova at the Venice Biennale in 2015. It is a giant head of a helmeted pilot whose features subtly changed activated by sensors in the room to the movements of the viewers.

“When you walk into the first room, all the sizes are different, and who greets you there is the pilot. The pilot is your navigator through time. So when you are here, there is dark. The skies are closed, but you are in the cockpit of the flight. When you come closer to the pilot, his eyes open, he looks at you and he also looks at the sky, and you can see that the sky are opening [via a skylight]. Then you really see what’s going on, but it’s also like in a dream because there is no verbal communication.” -Irina Nakhova

An installation artist and academically trained painter, Nakhova combines painting, sculpture, and new media into interactive installations and environments that engage viewers as co-creators of conceptual mindscapes. A part of a new generation of Russian non-comformist artists now known as the Moscow Conceptual School, Nakhova received international recognition as a young artist for her first ‘total installation’ entitled “Rooms (1983-1987)”. She was chosen as the first female artist to represent Russia at its pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

Ming Fay

Ming Fay, “Shad Crossing”, Detail, 2014, Glass Mosaic, Delancy Street Subway Station, New York City

On the Manhattan-bound platform of the F Line at Delancy Street Station, the mosaic mural depicts a cherry orchard that was originally part of the Delancy family farm, that was at today’s Orchard Street. On the Brooklyn-bound side of the platform, shad fish, which make runs through rivers every spring, represent the travel of immigrants across the ocean.

Ming Fay is a Shanghai-born and New York City-based sculptor and professor. His work focuses on the garden as a symbol of utopia and the relationship between man and nature. He is well known for his sculptures and installations. Ming Fay currently teaches sculpture at William Paterson University in New Jersey.

David Nash

David Nash, “Ash Dome”, 1977, Circle of Ash Trees, Wales

In 1977, sculptor David Nash cleared an area of land near his home in Wales where he trained a circle of 22 ash trees to grow in a vortex-like shape for an artwork titled “Ash Dome”. Over 40 years later, the trees still grow today. The artist has long worked with wood and natural elements in his art practice, often incorporating live trees or even animals into pieces. The exact site of “Ash Dome” in the Snowdonia region of northwest Wales is a closely guarded secret,

“When I first planted the ring of trees for Ash Dome, the Cold War was still a threat. There was serious economic gloom, very high unemployment in our country, and nuclear war was a real possibility… To make a gesture by planting something for the 21st century, which was what Ash Dome was about, was a long-term commitment, an act of faith.“ – David Nash, 2001

Jean-Daniel Allanche 

Art Brut: Jean-Daniel Allanche

Born in Tunisia, Jean-Daniel Allanche returned to France for his studies, and ultimately became a professor of physics at the Faculty of Sciences Paris 7. In 1975 he bought an apartment on the Rue des Ciseaux, a small street in Paris’s central area of Saint-Germain.

In the late 1970s Allanche began embellishing his apartment with his paintings. After working for years, ultimately all available surfaces, including the ceilings, floors, cabinet doors, and step treads, along with the walls, were covered with polychrome works featuring whimsical motifs.

There are also occasional texts interspersed with the visuals, offering Allanche’s personal views, and on one of the doors he has painted his surname. The majority of the paintings, however, appear to have a more targeted decorative function; this is in line with a notation in one of his vast collection of notebooks, where he wrote that he believed he had managed to reveal the intimate relationship between musical harmony and colors.

Others of his notebooks included additional texts and aphorisms, but also hundreds of pages with sequences of numbers, referencing Allanche’s passion for gambling and his efforts, as a professor of physics, to model disorder.

Although Allanche’s artistic activity must have played an important role in his life, he was not very talkative about it, so his decorated apartment remained largely unknown. After Allanche died in Paris in August 2015, his heirs decided that they would retain it as a private apartment. Removable frescoed elements such as the doors have been preserved and the remainder of the apartment has been basically restored to its original state.

Tanabe Chikuunsai IV

Twisted Bamboo Sculptures by Tanabe Chikuunsai IV

Japanese artist Tanabe Chikuunsai IV earned a degree in sculpture from Tokyo University of the Arts and trained in bamboo crafts at a school in Beppu on the island of Kyushu, Japan.

Chikuunsai IV produces twisting installations of woven bamboo that meld into their environment’s floor and ceiling. To bend the durable material he first moistens each piece to achieve the perfect curve, and often recycles the same pieces of bamboo for future installations. In 2017 the artist constructed a site-specific piece titled “The Gate” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The work used tiger bamboo that had been used ten times, including in a piece shown at the Guimet Mueseum in Paris.

“Technique and skill and spirit are important, My parents taught me that this spirit is more important than technique. Using bamboo, I try to keep the spirit and tradition in my heart as I create new work.” -Tanabe Chikuunsai IV

Do Ho Suh

Fabric Installations by Do Ho Suh

Do Ho Suh’s immersive architectural installations—unexpectedly crafted with ethereal fabric—are spaces that are at once deeply familiar and profoundly alien. Suh is internationally renowned for his “fabric architecture” sculptures that explore the global nature of contemporary identity as well as memory, migration, and our ideas of home.

The large-scale installations of the artist’s brightly hued “Hub” sculptures—intricately detailed, hand-sewn fabric recreations of homes where Suh has lived from around the world. The Hubs comprise a series of conjoined rooms and passageways that visitors can enter and experience from the inside.

Suh was born in Korea and moved to the United States at the age of 29 in 1991, and he currently lives between New York, London, and Seoul. He crafts his works using traditional Korean sewing techniques combined with 3-D modeling and mapping technologies. Suh sees these works as “suitcase homes,” so lightweight and portable they can be installed almost anywhere.

Katharina Fritsch

Three Sculpture Installations by Katharina Fritsch

German sculptor Katharina Fritsch is known for her sculptures and installations that reinvigorate familiar objects with a jarring and uncanny sensibility. Her works’ iconography is drawn from many different sources, including Christianity, art history and folklore. She attracted international attention for the first time in the mid-1980s with life-size works such as a true-to-scale elephant. Fritsch’s art is often concerned with the psychology and expectations of visitors to a museum.

Katharina Fritsch takes on relatively ordinary subjects in new, and often times jarring, ways. Most notably is the size of her works. Though many are meant specifically for museums, the size and scope of these works make a real impact. The images above are examples of that:  “Child with Poodles” (1995),  “Company at the Table (1998)” and “Rattenkonig” (1993).

The first, “Child with Poodles”, has rows of poodles facing in at a single child. This thick ring of objects creates a barrier between the viewer and the child, creating a dark or sinister feel to the piece. The second work, “Company at the Table”, leaves a haunting impression on many levels. The identical, faceless people and the size of the fifty foot table leave quite a cold and impersonal impression. Her sculpture “Rattenkonig” consists of a circle of large polyester resin rats painted black Facing out to the museum visitors. The scale of the piece is again quite large and formidable; nine foot rats in a circle forty two feet wide.

Gothic Raygun Rocketship

Gothic Raygun Rocketship, Pier 14, San Francisco, California

The sculpture installation first landed at Burning Man event in 2009, and has subsequently appeared at the NASA “Ames for Yuri’s Night” and is now at Pier 14 in San Francisco.

This spectacular forty foot tall sci-fi sculpture is the creation of Bay Area artists Sean Orlando, Nathaniel Taylor, David Shulman and the dedicated crew of the Five Ton Crane Arts Group, who helped to bring their fantastic vision to fruition – a larger than life 1930’s-1940’s pulp fiction space ship, gleaming silver legs forever prepped for lift off, three interior chambers fitted with all of the whimsical knobs and dials that you dreamed of as a kid.

Originally created as a 2009 art installation for the Burning Man Festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, the large-scale immersion based piece currently resides on Pier 14, illuminated and dreamy at night and flashing with retro ingenuity during the day. Its presence inspiring the imaginations of all who see it, it stands tall as a symbol of what could have been, but never was.

Christo

Christo, Floating Mastaba in London, Project Design, 2018, Pencil, Charcoal, Wax Crayon, Enamel Paint, Hand-Drawn Map on Vellum

Artist Christo’s Mastaba project for London’s Hyde Park’s serpentine lake will float on the lake from June 18 to September 23, 2018.

Built by a team of experienced engineers, the London Mastaba comprises 7,506 horizontally stacked barrels on a floating platform. It will be 20 meters (65.5 ft) high x 30 meters (90 ft) wide (at the 60° slanted walls) x 40 meters (130 ft) long. Standard 55 gallon barrels will be specifically fabricated and painted for this sculpture. The sides of the barrels, visible on the top and on the two slanted walls of the sculpture, will be red and white; the ends of the barrels, visible on the two vertical walls, will be different hues of red, blue, and mauve.

Reblogged with thanks to http://contemporary-art-blog.com

Phillip K. Smith III

Phillip K. Smith III, “Open Sky”, 2018, Palazzo Isimbardi, Milan, Italy

Phillip K Smith III’s prominent use of mirrors and light refracts the environments surrounding each installation, but his unspoken request for the viewer to focus their intrigue on the often vast stretches of sea, sand and sky surrounding his work is powerful. While many artists thrive on the enigma of presenting an opportunity for subjective interpretation, the message presented by Smith in his Milan Design Week collaboration with COS, the Scandinavian heritage retail giant, is one of a person who spent a childhood bathing in the arid glow of the Coachella Valley and a lifetime meditating on the landscape as his palette.

“I’m already looking at the potential for this project to maybe be in another exterior site, maybe even to be in an interior site. You’re dealing with a vertical surface which is a piece of architecture – material A – then a horizontal surface above you, which is the sky – which is material B. That’s the case here in Milan, maybe if this piece moves somewhere else those materials A and B begin to shift, and the dynamic quality in which they merge across the surface begins to change.” – Phillip K Smith III

Felice Varini

Optical Installations by Felice Varini

Felice Varini is known for his geometric perspective-localized paintings in rooms and other spaces, using projector-stencil techniques. Varini’s work is really the opposite of a stereogram: a series of unintelligible figures painted across three dimensions, that when seen in just the right way, flatten themselves into a mind-bending 2D shape.

Varini is a Swiss artist who currently lives in Paris, and has done dozens and dozens of these types of installations. He thinks of his works comprehensively, not just from the single point where they come together.

“The viewer can be present in the work, but as far as I am concerned he may go through it without noticing the painting at all. If he is aware of the work, he might observe it from the vantage point and see the complete shape. But he might look from other points of views where he will not be able to understand the painting because the shapes will be fragmented and the work too abstract. Whichever way, that is ok with me.”- Felice Varini

Jorge Mendez Blake

Jorge Mendez Blake, “The Castle”, 2007, Bricks, Book

“The Castle” is a 2007 project by Mexican artist Jorge Mendez Blake that subtly examines the impact of a single outside force. For the installation, he constructed a 75 x 13 foot brick wall that balances on top of a single copy of Franz Kafka’s “The Castle”. The mortarless wall bulges at the site of the inserted text, creating an arch that extends to the top of the precarious structure.

Although a larger metaphor could be applied to the installation no matter what piece of literature was chosen, Méndez Blake specifically selected “The Castle” to pay tribute to Kafka’s lifestyle and work. The novelist was a deeply introverted figure who wrote privately throughout his life, and was only published posthumously by his friend Max Brod. This minimal, yet poignant presence is reflected in the brick work—Kafka’s novel showcasing how a small idea can have a monumental presence.

Amanda Parer

Amanda Parer, “Rabbits” from Her “Intrude” Series

Amanda Parer examines the relationship between humans and the natural world in her massive inflatable artworks. The Tasmania-based artist works with a team including New York based co-producer Chris Wangro. Together, Parer Studio realizes her larger-than-life versions of translucent rabbits, a series of works called” Intrude”.

The white fabric appears opaque during the day as it reflects sunlight. After dark, the creatures take on a different dimension: they are illuminated from within and reduce surrounding humans into diminutive silhouettes. Parer grew up in Australia, where rabbits are a non-native species and are considered a serious pest as opposed to a domestic pet.  Since being introduced by settlers in the late 18th century, their overpopulation has caused substantial ecological destruction.

“They represent the fairytale animals from our childhood – a furry innocence, frolicking through idyllic fields. Intrude deliberately evokes this cutesy image, and a strong visual humour, to lure you into the artwork only to reveal the more serious environmental messages in the work. They are huge, the size referencing ‘the elephant in the room’, the problem, like our environmental impact, big but easily ignored.”- Amanda Parer