Photo by Arjen Noordeman
In 2005, MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) presented a monumental and uniquely American sculptural installation by Dave Cole. Cole’s project The Knitting Machine comprised two excavators specially fitted with massive 20′ knitting needles which produced an oversized American flag, which can be seen as both a celebratory gesture of pride and a commentary on America’s role in world affairs.
When the flag was removed from The Knitting Machine it was folded into the traditional flag triangle and was on display in a presentation case which Cole described as slightly smaller than a Volkswagen Beetle, accompanied by the 20′ knitting needles, and a video of the knitting process.
Fat car, 2001
Fat car, 2005
Telekineticaly bent VW van, 2006
Erwin Wurm, one of Austria’s most important and internationally famous sculptors, has been preoccupied with expanding the concept of sculpture since the 1980s. Wurm is primarily a sculptor, and traditional sculptural concerns such as the relationship between object and pedestal, the function of gravity, the fixing of form, and the manipulation of volume, play through all his work.
Increasing, remodeling or removing volume, the habitual interests of many sculptors, are given a new twist in Wurm’s work. Volume and adding volume are treated as sociocrital issues. In 1993, Erwin Wurm wrote an instructional book on how to gain two clothing sizes in eight days. Eight years later, he made his first Fat Car by plumping up an existing car with styrofoam and fiberglass, which resulted in a pitiful, chubby version of the original sportsy model. By taking the question of obesity, Wurm probes the link between power, wealth and body weight. He also wants to offer a sharp criticism of our current value system, as the advertising world demands us to stay thin but to consume more and more.
> also see his One Minute Sculptures
Prada Marfa is a site specific, permanent land art project by artists Elmgreen & Dragset. From a distance the artwork appears ot be a large minimalist sculpture. As one gets closer the building resembles a Prada boutique where a display of Fall 2005 high-heel Prada shoes and bags can be seen through the store front windows. However, the sculpture will never function as a place of commerce, the door cannot be opened.
The work is located on the outskirts of Valentine, Texas near Marfa on desolate ranching land with no other visible trace of civilization.
(photos courtesy of Art Production Fund)
These two videos have Nadav Kander (1961) commenting on his famous Yangtze – The Long River series and deliver an interesting insight on his opinions on the purpose of photography, the rapid change of China, his own identity and more.
For his Yangtze photos Kander came to China several times in 2005 to 2007, visited 186 cities and traveled along the world’s third largest river, from the spring in the Himalaya to the mouth. Humans are usually just portrayed as small figures next to a gigantic setting, either of the river itself or one of the numerous construction projects. The Chinese people shown are often merely victims of the unstoppable change that is flowing through China with an enormous force, comparable to that of the Yangtze river. Old, traditional buildings and housing boats are replaced by gigantic anonymous buildings, reducing the human to the role of a spectator rather than a maker.
“Geographically, my eye has shifted from entire nations to border areas, the specificities of places, ethnic groups, traditions “not-yet-institutionalized”, and I think that my attitude is visible also in the approach that I use towards the media: I’m curious to face the spaces between photography and performance, interventions that cross public life and the virtual world, the search for beauty or controversy, without shutting myself into a specific classification. The cost reduction of technology on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the acquired ability to reproduce almost every idea, thanks to new technologies, are the perfect combinations for those, who, like me, are constantly distracted by what is around them and look for an approach that could be defined artisanal, based on mastering the use of various media not as the means to an end, but simply as tools.”
> read the full interview at Digicult