Archive: Architecture
Higher than trees: A seemingly impossible installation

Higher than trees: A seemingly impossible installation

Tomás Saraceno - In Orbit, 2013. Installation view, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf
Tomás SaracenoIn Orbit, 2013, permanent installation at Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf

A massive installation by Tomás Saraceno titled In Orbit has to be one of the artist’s most notable and successful installations. At a height of more than 20 meters, Saraceno suspended a mesh construction within which audiences could move weightlessly on the net. The net construction, which was accessible on 3 levels, was designed to resemble a cloud setting or landscape.

Audiences that were brave enough to walk on the net enjoyed the rare opportunity to observe the museum’s visitors from above who looked like tiny dots and figures from the lofty heights. The gigantic installation spanned the K21, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf museum’s cosmic cupola. The resulting aerial landscape was a fun mixture of science fiction, cloud formation, and spider webs which are all elements which helped to draw thousands of audiences to the exhibition.

Well known for pushing boundaries that incorporate both scientific and artistic elements, Saraceno often classified his installation as living organisms. Over the course of creating his masterpieces, Saraceno consulted with arachnologists so that he could gain a deeper understanding of how spiders behave and live, as well as architects and engineers that helped him achieve a structurally sound design that could be walked on safely by visitors. The entire planning process of the installation took over three years to create.

Saraceno created the installation to represent a large network of communication. As visitors explored the different levels and the structure, their movements would resonate throughout the net, allowing others that were also on the same level to perceive space through vibrations just like spiders have done since time in memorial. According to Saraceno, In Orbit was also created to represent the space-time continuum, the ramifications of tissue in the human brain and dark matter or the structure of the universe. Within Saraceno’s orbit, proportions entered into new relationships where human beings were transformed to social black holes, molecules or planets.

Although the mesh construction of In Orbit alone weighed a staggering 3 tons with the largest of the spheres weighing 300 kilograms, In Orbit was adapted with accuracy to fit the museum. Despite being quite heavy, the mesh structure appeared to be lightweight, with its stability managing to truly echo a spider’s web. Tomás successfully pulled off a seemingly impossible installation by incorporating beauty, functionality, and strength into the artwork, something that many artists have failed to do and do well. The awe-inspiring piece manages to evoke feelings and emotions about life, fear, excitement, which are all common human emotions and part of the In-Orbit experience.

Tomás Saraceno - In Orbit, 2013. Installation view, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf
Tomás SaracenoIn Orbit, 2013, permanent installation at Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf

Tomás Saraceno - In Orbit, 2013. Installation view, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf
Tomás SaracenoIn Orbit, 2013, permanent installation at Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf

Tomás Saraceno - In Orbit, 2013. Installation view, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf
Tomás SaracenoIn Orbit, 2013, permanent installation at Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf

Tomás Saraceno - In Orbit, 2013. Installation view, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf
Tomás SaracenoIn Orbit, 2013, permanent installation at Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf

Tomás Saraceno - In Orbit, 2013. Installation view, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf
Tomás SaracenoIn Orbit, 2013, permanent installation at Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf

Tomás Saraceno - In Orbit, 2013. Installation view, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf
Tomás SaracenoIn Orbit, 2013, permanent installation at Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf

Tomás Saraceno - In Orbit, 2013. Installation view, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf
Tomás SaracenoIn Orbit, 2013, permanent installation at Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROqL-8h_7DM
Tomás Saraceno about In Orbit, 2013, permanent installation at Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf


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Simplicity and beauty: Paintings at the Rothko Chapel

Simplicity and beauty: Paintings at the Rothko Chapel

Mark Rothko – Rothko Chapel interior, photo Judith Kurnick
Mark Rothko – Interior of Rothko Chapel, Houston, Texas
Photo: Judith Kurnick

The Rothko Chapel has been providing a space for people in need of spiritual guidance and meditation since it was established back in 1971. The Rothko Chapel was founded and dedicated as an intimate sanctuary that was open for anyone of any religious or spiritual belief by Houston philanthropists Dominique and John De Menil.

The Menils, who were well-known Catholics were inspired to establish the chapel after they received advice from a friend known as Rev Marie-Alain Couturier, who believed that modern artists could revive forgotten sacred art. The Rothko Chapel sits next to the campus of the Menil collection and has been open to the public almost every day since it was established.

Since it was opened by two founders, the chapel has hosted world leaders and people from all walks of life in its halls. The Rothko Chapel has and always be an epicenter for civil rights activists and the more than 10,000 people from all over the world that visit the chapel grounds each year.

There is plenty to see and do while at the chapel. The interior contains 14 murals that have been created by renowned artists such as Howard Barnstone, Phil Johnson, Eugene Aubry, and of course, Mark Rothko himself. The Rothko Chapel is also the official home of the Oscar Romero Award, which recognizes courageous grassroots work relating to human rights advocacy.

Although a number of artists and architects have helped to shape the reputation of the chapel, Mark Rothko played an invaluable role in ensuring that the chapel was well known in the local community and consequently in the globe. It is because of Mark’s efforts that the chapel was designed in the shape of an octagon inscribed in a Greek cross. Some of Rothko’s art that is still on display in the chapel includes 3 triptychs on one wall and 5 other walls display single Rothko murals.

At the beginning of 1964, Rothko started painting a number of black paintings containing dark hues and texture effects. The hues of the black paintings vary depending on the light intensity of that day so the paintings are different for every visitor that experiences them. According to Rothko, the subject of most of his dark paintings was human emotions expressed in the different color values that Rothko developed from layered pigments.

The end result of his paintings is a deep, provocative and charged feeling that forces audiences to examine their emotions in turn. Because of their simplicity and beauty, Rothko’s paintings at the chapel have been known to move people to the point of tears, which speaks to the artist’s talent.

Mark Rothko – Rothko Chapel interior 3
Mark Rothko – Rothko Chapel interior

Mark Rothko – Rothko Chapel interior
Mark Rothko – Rothko Chapel interior

Mark Rothko – Rothko Chapel interior, photo by Christian Heeb
Mark Rothko – Rothko Chapel interior
Photo: Christian Heeb

Mark Rothko – Rothko Chapel interior
Mark Rothko – Rothko Chapel interior

Mark Rothko – Rothko Chapel interior
Mark Rothko – Rothko Chapel interior

Mark Rothko – Rothko Chapel interior, 1971, Hickey Robertson
Mark Rothko – Rothko Chapel interior, 1971
Photo: Hickey Robertson

Mark Rothko – Rothko Chapel interior, A Time Of Prayer, 1978, Photo by David Crossley
Mark Rothko – Rothko Chapel interior, 1978
Photo: David Crossley

Mark Rothko – Rothko Chapel interior, Eid Al Adha, 1972, photo Hickey Robertson
Mark Rothko – Rothko Chapel interior, Eid Al Adha, 1972
Photo: Hickey Robertson

Rothko Chapel exterior with Broken Obelisk by Barnett Newman at the Rothko Chapel, Houston, Texas
Mark Rothko – Rothko Chapel exterior with Broken Obelisk by Barnett Newman at the Rothko Chapel, Houston, Texas

Mark Rothko portrait
Mark Rothko portrait


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North Korea leaves its mark on Africa with huge sculptures

North Korea leaves its mark on Africa with huge sculptures

The Mansudae Overseas Project - Angola - Agostinho Neto Mausoleum, Luanda 1
Angola – Agostinho Neto Mausoleum, Luanda

Artwork from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has always been a trademark for modern socialist realism. Although North Korea is well known for being the most secretive nation in the world, the largely unknown nation is certainly not shy when it comes to publicizing their statues, monuments, grand festivals, and celebrations. In particular, a North Korean based construction company known as Mansudae Overseas Project, has been designing fine art for decades, helping art to become one of North Korea’s most important and most successful exports. While many other North Korean barriers remain up, fine art from the country has managed to make its way in foreign countries that are located as far away as Africa.

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Artist creates tiny house & paddles away in the ocean

Artist creates tiny house & paddles away in the ocean

Kacey Wong - Paddling Home, 2009 1
Kacey WongPaddling Home, 2009, wood, ceramic tiles, aluminum windows, stainless steel gate, pipes, plastic barrels, 278 x 220 x 290cm, Hong Kong

Kacey Wong has a knack for creating art which investigates the space between people and their surrounding environment. Paddling Home, which was performed on the Hong Kong Victoria Harbor, was a star feature in the Hong Kong contemporary art scene. The project features deep architectural elements, which clearly show in the design. The project also features various functional and commercial aspects. The result of the Paddling Home house was the creation of artwork unbounded by business values or functionality, which allowed it to represent the philosophies of Kacey Wong.

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Pyongyang interiors in unexpected and bizarre colors

Pyongyang interiors in unexpected and bizarre colors

Oliver Wainwright - National Drama Theatre, Pyongyang
Oliver WainwrightNational Drama Theatre, Pyongyang, 2015

Oliver Wainwright North Korean Interiors documents the unique architecture and the interiors of various regions of North Korea and its capital Pyongyang. Not many photographers get the opportunity to explore this isolated country owing to its closed state; however, Wainwright took the opportunity and ran with it. The interiors that he documented were very kitsch and retro as they were originally created to adorn important theaters and buildings that were designed during the Soviet era.

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Calm photos of Pyongyang, the ultimate socialist city

Calm photos of Pyongyang, the ultimate socialist city

North Korea - Setting the Stage - Pyongyang - Pyongyang women 01

North Korea - Setting the Stage - Pyongyang - Pyongyang women 01
Eddo HartmannSetting the Stage: Pyongyang – Pyongyang women 01, 2014

North Korea is known for its fascination and terror in the same measure. Most of the world knows North Korea for its former leader Kim Jong-II and the current Kim Jong Un. However, the fascinating thing about Pyongyang is its architecture.

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Humans reduced to a blob of color

Humans reduced to a blob of color

Andreas Gursky - Kuwait Stock Exchange, 2007

Andreas Gursky - Kuwait Stock Exchange II, 2007
Andreas GurskyKuwait Stock Exchange II, 2007
Photo: Andreas Gursky/VG Bild-Kunst, Courtesy Sprüth Magers, Berlin London

Andreas Gursky is a German photographer and professor. He is most well known for large format architecture and landscape color photos, and following the 1990’s; Gursky has been using technology and computers for editing and enhancing his photos.

Gursky is known for using an elevated vantage point as his main perspective. This allows the audience to view the scenes from a place that is both peripheral and central. Using each subject to create an unconventional geometry, he organizes the world fitting in with his personal visual logic. He began his portrayals of stock exchanges in 1990 and has continued this project throughout his career.

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