Archive: 2012
Properties torched in the name of art

Properties torched in the name of art


Ian Strange – Film still from Suburban

Suburban is a complex film and photography installation that was created by New York-based Australian artist Ian Strange. Suburban was created by Strange as a result of a collaboration with a film crew and volunteers from different parts of America including Alabama, Detroit, New Hampshire, Ohio and New York. Over the course of three months Strange and the film crew photographed and filmed 8 different sites that featured singular suburban homes from different states.

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Artist makes US-Mexico Border Wall disappear

Artist makes US-Mexico Border Wall disappear

Ana Teresa Fernandez - Erasing the Border - Borrando la Frontera - Playas de Tijuana
Ana Teresa FernándezErasing the Border – Borrando la Frontera, 2012, Playas de Tijuana, Mexico

Ana Teresa Fernández, an artist born in Tampico, Mexico who studied in San Francisco, California and Lausanne, Switzerland, is known for her ability to make a powerful statement. Her statement is especially strong when it comes to the politics of space and place.

Her piece, “Erasing the Border” is one of her most commanding works in which alongside a number of other artist, residents, students and activists, she led an attack against the Mexico-US border wall, with the goal of “erasing” sections of the border. Sections of the fence were painted by Fernández to match the vast sky so that when viewed from afar there is the illusion of gaps in the fence. This appearance of a broken link, a useless border, is an effective statement on the arbitrary concept of borders separating place from place.

Fernández has been erasing the border wall in her series of installations “Borrando la Frontera” (Erasing the Border), beginning in 2011, where she erased a wall in Tijuana, Baja California. Prior to this she did a series of performance pieces near the border. She chose to use her art to breakdown the jail bars that impeded the sight of those in the border town by allowing people to see what it would look like if the bars didn’t run down the beach breaking up the scenery. From a distance the landscape is continuous, not broken apart by the intrusive fence.

As word of her work began to spread, more and more artists, locals, and border organizations wanted to be part of her project. They too wanted to make a statement, and wanted to see the sections of border fences erased in Texas and Arizona. Texas and Arizona were politically charged sites in particular as they have recently passed a series of severe anti-immigration laws and vigilante militias enacting violence and inciting fear at the border. The work of Fernández is especially meaningful now, as there is a new president-elect, Donald Trump, who has built a winning campaign around threats to extend and raise the wall to block immigrants. Thus, her work becomes an even more powerful statement, in how she opens up the border and unlocks our imaginations, bringing us to a more open and inclusive world; one where we do not fear our neighbors and try to keep them away.

At her most recent event, groups came to the three sections of the fence in Mexicali, Baja California; Agua Prieta, Sonora, and; Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua to erase the border. Groups from both Mexico and the U.S came to each site at the same time, as a planned attack, and began to paint and erase the fence. This unified people on both sides of the divide, effectively making the purpose of the fence (to separate people) mute.

Through her work, Ana Teresa Fernández proves that art is an effective political tool, a weapon even. One that can bring people together, bring freedom, and make a remarkable statement.

Ana Teresa Fernandez - Erasing the Border - Borrando la Frontera - Playas de Tijuana
Ana Teresa FernándezErasing the Border – Borrando la Frontera, 2012, Playas de Tijuana, Mexico

Ana Teresa Fernandez - Erasing the Border - Borrando la Frontera - Playas de Tijuana
Ana Teresa FernándezErasing the Border – Borrando la Frontera, 2012, Playas de Tijuana, Mexico

Ana Teresa Fernandez - Erasing the Border - Borrando la Frontera -  Mexicali, Mexico
Ana Teresa FernándezErasing the Border – Borrando la Frontera, 2016, Mexicali, Mexico
(Photo: Sandy Huffaker / Reuters)

Ana Teresa Fernandez - Erasing the Border - Borrando la Frontera -  Mexicali, Mexico
Ana Teresa FernándezErasing the Border – Borrando la Frontera, 2016, Mexicali, Mexico
(Photo: Sandy Huffaker / Reuters)

Ana Teresa Fernandez - Erasing the Border - Borrando la Frontera -  Mexicali, Mexico
Ana Teresa FernándezErasing the Border – Borrando la Frontera, 2016, Mexicali, Mexico
(Photo: Sandy Huffaker / Reuters)

Ana Teresa Fernandez - Erasing the Border - Borrando la Frontera -  Mexicali, Mexico
Ana Teresa FernándezErasing the Border – Borrando la Frontera, 2016, Mexicali, Mexico
(Photo: Sandy Huffaker / Reuters)

Ana Teresa Fernandez - Erasing the Border - Borrando la Frontera -  Mexicali, Mexico
Ana Teresa FernándezErasing the Border – Borrando la Frontera, 2016, Mexicali, Mexico
(Photo: Sandy Huffaker / Reuters)

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Chinese artist puts 14m long minibus in MoMA and other museums

Chinese artist puts 14m long minibus in MoMA and other museums

Yin Xiuzhen - Collective Subconscious

Yin XiuzhenCollective Subconscious, 2007, Minibus, stainless steel, used clothes, stools, music
1420 x 140 x 190 cm

Collective Subconscious is a large-scale installation sculpture presented by Projects 92. It is an interactive installation created by Beijing based artist Yin Xiuzhen, who has spent the last twenty five years creating and displaying works that reflect her surrounding environment and her relationship with it. Her works are at once personal and environmentally engaging, and are typically site-specific. Collective Subconscious, which is composed of a bisected minivan connected by a long tube covered in a quilt made of found garments, allows viewers to enter and have a seat on a small bench, and listen to the Chinese pop song “Beijing, Beijing” emitting from the read-end speakers. It is ethereal and a place for contemplation, meant to break the silence traditionally present within the gallery space.

About Yin Xiuzhen

A leading figure in contemporary Chinese art, Yin Xiuzhen has worked primarily in site-specific installation and sculpture since the early 1990s. Her work addresses issues on both an environmental scale and a personal one, and often employs quotidian materials, including found textiles. Projects 92 presents her large-scale sculpture Collective Subconscious, which is composed of a bisected minivan connected by a long tube covered in a quilt made of found garments. The public is welcomed inside this transformed conveyance, where they will find a cozy refuge complete with low stools and soft pop music—a space that invites visitors to break the silence of the hushed gallery, reinventing it as a place for conversation and discussion.

Collective Subconscious has been shown at Centre Pompidou, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, NYC MoMA and other spaces.

Yin Xiuzhen - Collective Subconscious
Yin XiuzhenCollective Subconscious, 2007, Minibus, stainless steel, used clothes, stools, music
1420 x 140 x 190 cm

Yin Xiuzhen - Collective Subconscious
Yin XiuzhenCollective Subconscious, 2007, Minibus, stainless steel, used clothes, stools, music
1420 x 140 x 190 cm

aYin Xiuzhen - Collective Subconscious
Yin XiuzhenCollective Subconscious, 2007, Minibus, stainless steel, used clothes, stools, music
1420 x 140 x 190 cm

Yin Xiuzhen - Collective-Subconscious, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf
Yin XiuzhenCollective Subconscious, 2007, Minibus, stainless steel, used clothes, stools, music
1420 x 140 x 190 cm


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You won’t find these tapestries in any church (NSFW)

You won’t find these tapestries in any church (NSFW)

Erin M Riley - Self Portrait 2, 72 x 48 inch, 2015

Erin M. RileySelf Portrait 2, 2015, Hand woven tapestry, hand dyed wool on a cotton warp, 182.9 x 121.9 cm

Is there a better reflection of a culture than the creatives living in it? From painters to photographers to poets, the voice of our moment is often told most aptly and timelessly through what they create. The same goes for Erin M. Riley. She has taken a look at both her own and the collective conscious of the individuals of today and laid what she sees for all to witness. 

She creates tapestries depicting occasionally controversial subject matter involving porn, guns and drugs. Her work has been featured in magazines and shown at numerous galleries both in her home country of the US as well as internationally.

Having just recently come across Erin’s work, I was full of questions- hard, silly and serious. I reached out to her in the end of 2015. This is the conversation that followed.

Phil America

Let’s start from the beginning. How did you first learn to start weaving?

I found weaving in college. I was interested in sewing and painting, and the fibers major was something that sat perfectly between those two. I could learn construction alongside fine art sensibilities. Weaving was a process I had no knowledge of and I connected instantly with it.

From there how did you progress into having a specific style?

I learned “tapestry” early on and was weaving abstract pieces while also making lots of paper collage work out of found and family photographs that used the silhouette a lot. These eventually led me to combining the two, making simple drawings that I translated into tapestry using a very limited color palette. This progressed and eventually I was using found and photographs I was taking for the work.

Marshall McLuhan famously said, “the medium is the message.” How does the medium you choose to work with inform the subtext of the image?

Weaving is just another way to arrange color on a 2 dimensional surface. I am an image maker. Think of me as a painter who uses yarn.

Erin M Riley - Alone Alone, 48 x 37 inch, 2014

Erin M. RileyAlone Alone, 2014, Hand woven tapestry, hand dyed wool on a cotton warp, 121.9 x 94 cm

Erin M Riley - Loot 5, 42 x 26 inch, 2012

Erin M. RileyLoot 5, 2012, Hand woven tapestry, hand dyed wool on a cotton warp, 106.7 x 66 cm

I know you told me before but how long does each piece take you, roughly, and do you ever get halfway done with a piece and scrap it?

I have only stopped two pieces, one because I had to move my loom and another because it was to small to get the detail I wanted. My work takes from a week to a month to weave, I work 12-14 hour days, every day and I also mix and dye my colors, plus all other prep.

I am really fascinated by how much work goes into each one. A lot of other artists do similar work to yours by designing it digitally. Can you explain
the process of creating one of your works?

There is either digitally woven work or work that is hired out. I work from images so I collect or take photos for an upcoming piece, blow it up to scale and start a line drawing that will be pinned behind the warp on the loom. I collect and prepare colors for the pieces and get everything ready to start weaving, after that its just a slow and steady process of weaving the image from the bottom up. Historically tapestry is woven side to side but I weave bottom to top.

Why do you choose using images of guns and porn rather than flowers or other imagery traditionally seen in tapestry?

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Stonehenge has never been this much fun: Inflated & bouncy

Stonehenge has never been this much fun: Inflated & bouncy

Jeremy Deller - Sacrilege, in West Kowloon Cultural District Promenade, Hong Kong
Jeremy DellerSacrilege, in West Kowloon Cultural District Promenade, Hong Kong

Sacrilege is a life-sized, inflatable replica of Stonehenge, the British heritage and pagan site and popular tourist attraction. It is a bouncy castle, an interactive inflatable pillow that viewers may walk and jump on. It is an energetic, humorous work that Jeremy Deller describes as a way to get reacquainted with ancient Britain with your shoes off. It is a touring project visiting 33 sites across the UK and launched at the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art.

Jeremy Deller - Sacrilege, in Heartlands, Cornwall (UK)
Jeremy DellerSacrilege, in Heartlands, Cornwall (UK)

Jeremy Deller - Sacrilege, in Hong Kong, West Kowloon Cultural District Promenade
Jeremy DellerSacrilege, in West Kowloon Cultural District Promenade, Hong Kong

Jeremy Deller - Sacrilege, in West Kowloon Cultural District Promenade, Hong Kong
Jeremy DellerSacrilege, in West Kowloon Cultural District Promenade, Hong Kong

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Smoke bomb photo exhibition in old Italian castle

Smoke bomb photo exhibition in old Italian castle

Filippo Minelli - Le Forme del Silenzio
Shape B/F + Shape C/A

Filippo Minelli’s solo exhibition Le Forme del Silenzio (the Shapes of Silence) opened last week. Read all about it in the previous post.

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Colorful smoke bombs in Italian 13th century castle

Colorful smoke bombs in Italian 13th century castle

Filippo Minelli - Shape CF

Filippo Minelli – Shape CF, 2012, 80x120cm, fine-art print on dibond

Filippo Minelli shows 12 photos of his iconic on-going smoke bomb series Silence/Shapes in his next solo exhibition Le Forme del Silenzio (the Shapes of Silence). It is held at Castello di Bornato, an Italian castle about 80km from Milan. Some of the works were created in the land visible from the castle hill.

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