Archive: sculpture
Would you consider these gigantic blow-up sculptures art?

Would you consider these gigantic blow-up sculptures art?

FriendsWithYou - Light Cave, The Standard High Line Plaza, NYC, USA 4

FriendsWithYou - Happy Rainbow, Tuen Mun Town Plaza, Hong Kong, 2012
FriendsWithYouHappy Rainbow, Tuen Mun Town Plaza, Hong Kong, 2012

Highly interactive visual art has forged its way into the hearts and minds of the public. This new caliber of art is quirky, but it manages to so effortlessly fuse art, technology, and fashion in a trendy way that has us all captured.

One such collective is run by Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III, who were born in Florida and Havana respectively. The Los Angeles based duo is more commonly referred to by their moniker, FriendsWithYou. The pair has collaborated since 2002 to produce joyful pieces of work intended to “spread Magic, Luck, and Friendship.

FriendsWithYou brings a flair of kid-friendly fun to any proceeding with its bouncy castles, smiling and at times, glowing celestial bodies, brightly colored balloons and blow up structures. The pair uses a broad range of pop-infused media including extensive experiential installations, sculptures, paintings, playgrounds, published artwork, as well as live performances to exhibit their installations.

The two collaborative artists embrace play while subtly highlighting themes of technological innovation, iconography and religion. Their works challenge the progression of mechanical innovation while effectively juxtaposing human feelings such as delight and gratification. This art is effectively bringing change to how people socially experience places, spaces and other people around them, therefore supplying individuals with an enriching experience every time.

Often, Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval have been aptly described as progenies of Takashi Murakami and Yayoi Kusama. Since their work is so calculatingly playful, it might be difficult for some people to classify it as fine art. Instead, the artists represent their art disguised as bouncy castles or as anthropomorphized items. Recently, the crew introduced the first wave of a virtual reality experience aimed at giving people the opportunity to explore their emotions. For instance, their virtual reality ‘Light Spirit’ piece occurs in a metaphysical plane designed to affect people’s sentiments.

When asked why the size of their installations matter, the pair feels that size is essential as it dwarfs the audience, which helps in cultivating a sense of serenity and peace. At the end of it all, their pieces are intended to inspire emotions such as love, magic, and peace into the hearts of the audience. The pair continues to produce art that creates a blur between reality and imagination. Their focus remains to supply people with an active experience that is also interactive at the same time. So if you feel the need to undergo a calming and delightful experience that makes you yearn for light and love, watch out for the duo’s next installation.

FriendsWithYou - At This is not a toy exhibition Design Exchange - Toronto, 2014 2
FriendsWithYou – at This is not a toy exhibition, Design Exchange, Toronto, Canada, 2014

FriendsWithYou - Super Moon, 2016, Seokchon Lake, Seoul, South Korea
FriendsWithYouSuper Moon, 2016, Seokchon Lake, Seoul, South Korea

FriendsWithYou - Super Moon, 2016, Seokchon Lake, Seoul, South Korea 3
FriendsWithYouSuper Moon, 2016, Seokchon Lake, Seoul, South Korea

FriendsWithYou - Super Moon, 2016, Seokchon Lake, Seoul, South Korea 2
FriendsWithYouSuper Moon, 2016, Seokchon Lake, Seoul, South Korea

FriendsWithYou - Starry Eyes - Inflatable by FriendsWithYou 15 feet H x 10 feet W, 2006
FriendsWithYouStarry Eyes, 2006, inflatable, 15 feet H x 10 feet W

FriendsWithYou - Mafli heads- Inflatable, 8 feet x 8 feet, 2006
FriendsWithYouMafli heads, 2006, inflatable, 8 feet x 8 feet

FriendsWithYou - Starburst, Inflatable Sculpture- Ripstop Nylon, 300 inch diameter, Unique Piece, Brookfield Place Toronto 2013, Photo Ernesto DiStefano 4
FriendsWithYouStarburst, 2011, inflatable sculpture, ripstop nylon, 300 inch diameter, Brookfield Place Toronto, Canada, 2013
Photo: Ernesto DiStefano

FriendsWithYou - Starburst, Inflatable Sculpture- Ripstop Nylon, 300 inch diameter, Unique Piece, Brookfield Place Toronto 2013, Photo Ernesto DiStefano 2
FriendsWithYouStarburst, 2011, inflatable sculpture, ripstop nylon, 300 inch diameter, Brookfield Place Toronto, Canada, 2013
Photo: Ernesto DiStefano

FriendsWithYou - Starburst, Inflatable Sculpture- Ripstop Nylon, 300 inch diameter, Unique Piece, Art Basel Miami Beach 2010
FriendsWithYouStarburst, 2011, inflatable sculpture, ripstop nylon, 300 inch diameter, Art Basel Miami Beach, 2010

FriendsWithYou - Starburst, 2011
FriendsWithYouStarburst, 2011

FriendsWithYou - Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Art Basel Miami, USA, 2013 2
FriendsWithYouSomewhere Over the Rainbow, Art Basel Miami Beach, USA, 2013

FriendsWithYou - Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Art Basel Miami, USA, 2013 1
FriendsWithYouSomewhere Over the Rainbow, Art Basel Miami Beach, USA, 2013

https://vimeo.com/146832545
FriendsWithYouLight Spirit

FriendsWithYou - Rainbow city, Miami Basel 3
FriendsWithYouRainbow city, Art Basel Miami Beach, USA

FriendsWithYou - Rainbow city, Miami Basel 1
FriendsWithYouRainbow city, Art Basel Miami Beach, USA

FriendsWithYou - Rainbow city, Highline
FriendsWithYouRainbow city, Highline, NYC, USA

FriendsWithYou - Rainbow city, Highline 3
FriendsWithYouRainbow city, Highline, NYC, USA

FriendsWithYou - Light Cave, The Standard High Line Plaza, NYC, USA
FriendsWithYouLight Cave, 2014, inflatable, 55ft x 25ft x 14ft, The Standard High Line Plaza, NYC, USA

FriendsWithYou - Light Cave, The Standard High Line Plaza, NYC, USA 4
FriendsWithYouLight Cave, 2014, inflatable, 55ft x 25ft x 14ft, The Standard High Line Plaza, NYC, USA

FriendsWithYou - Light Cave, The Standard High Line Plaza, NYC, USA 3
FriendsWithYouLight Cave, 2014, inflatable, 55ft x 25ft x 14ft, The Standard High Line Plaza, NYC, USA

FriendsWithYou - Light Cave, The Standard High Line Plaza, NYC, USA 2
FriendsWithYouLight Cave, 2014, inflatable, 55ft x 25ft x 14ft, The Standard High Line Plaza, NYC, USA

FriendsWithYou - Light Cave, The Albright-Knox Art Gallery
FriendsWithYouLight Cave, 2014, inflatable, 55ft x 25ft x 14ft, The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, USA

FriendsWithYou - Light Cave, The Albright-Knox Art Gallery 1
FriendsWithYouLight Cave, 2014, inflatable, 55ft x 25ft x 14ft, The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, USA

FriendsWithYou - Light Cave, 2014, inflatable approximately 55ft x 25ft x 14ft, Photo Alyssa Ringler
FriendsWithYouLight Cave, 2014, inflatable, 55ft x 25ft x 14ft
Photo: Alyssa Ringler

FriendsWithYou – Inflatable by FriendsWithYou,
FriendsWithYou – 2006, inflatable, 10 feet x 8 feet

FriendsWithYou - At This is not a toy exhibition Design Exchange - Toronto, 2014
FriendsWithYou at This is not a toy exhibition, Design Exchange, Toronto, Canada, 2014

FriendsWithYou - Wish Come True Festival, Luminato 2010, Toronto, Canada 2
FriendsWithYou – at Wish Come True Festival, Luminato 2010, Toronto, Canada

FriendsWithYou - Wish Come True Festival, Luminato 2010, Toronto, Canada 2
FriendsWithYou – at Wish Come True Festival, Luminato 2010, Toronto, Canada

FriendsWithYou - Wish Come True Festival, Luminato 2010, Toronto, Canada 2
FriendsWithYou – at Wish Come True Festival, Luminato 2010, Toronto, Canada


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Artist got enormous meteorite on eBay for this installation

Artist got enormous meteorite on eBay for this installation

Chris Burden - Porsche with Meteorite, 2013, Photo by Benoit Pailley/New Museum
Chris BurdenPorsche with Meteorite, 2013, restored 1974 Porsche 914, 390 pound meteorite, steel structure installation, New Museum, New York City, USA, 2013
Photo: Benoit Pailley, New Museum

Chris Burden was not exactly an everyday artist. While his previous work usually involved a form of danger (see Shoot), his last works have still been about performance, but mostly involved creating very much advanced models of working machines. One of such of his works was sitting in the New Museum, NYC in 2013. At the New Museum, there was a large chunk of meteorite which weighed 365 pounds hanging from one end of a massive steel frame while a Canary yellow 1974 Porsche 914 hung from the other end.

Burden went to great lengths to make his machines come to live and a great deal of energy and intelligence is required. According to the story of how the meteorite machine came to be, Burden spotted the huge meteorite on eBay and it was available on free shipping too. He had never seen a meteorite that big and he went ahead to buy it without actually having any inkling whatsoever about what he would do with it.

Chris Burden whose most well-known work is Shoot, an art performance in which he had his own arm shot by a friend in 1971, had over the years grown into a stocky, vigorous 67 years old man. His works were usually huge and they always took very long time to bring to life but there is a clean elegance about them which Mr. Burden said he imbibed from the University of California.

Chris Burden - Porsche with Meteorite (2013), Gagosian Gallery, Paris, France, 2015, Photo Sophie Kitching, Art Observed 1
Chris BurdenPorsche with Meteorite, 2013, restored 1974 Porsche 914, 390 pound meteorite, steel structure installation, Gagosian Gallery, Paris, France, 2015
Photo Sophie Kitching, Art Observed

Chris Burden - Porsche with Meteorite (2013), Gagosian Gallery, Paris, France, 2015, Photo Sophie Kitching, Art Observed 2
Chris BurdenPorsche with Meteorite, 2013, restored 1974 Porsche 914, 390 pound meteorite, steel structure installation, Gagosian Gallery, Paris, France, 2015
Photo: Sophie Kitching, Art Observed

Chris Burden - Porsche with Meteorite (2013), Gagosian Gallery, Paris, France, 2015, Photo Sophie Kitching, Art Observed
Chris BurdenPorsche with Meteorite, 2013, restored 1974 Porsche 914, 390 pound meteorite, steel structure installation, Gagosian Gallery, Paris, France, 2015
Photo: Sophie Kitching, Art Observed

Chris Burden - Porsche with Meteorite (2013), Gagosian Gallery, Paris, France, 2015, Photo Sophie Kitching, Art Observed detail
Chris BurdenPorsche with Meteorite, 2013, restored 1974 Porsche 914, 390 pound meteorite, steel structure installation, Gagosian Gallery, Paris, France, 2015
Photo: Sophie Kitching, Art Observed

Chris Burden – Porsche with Meteorite, 2013, installation view at the artist’s studio in Topanga, CA – photo Brian Forrest
Chris BurdenPorsche with Meteorite, 2013, restored 1974 Porsche 914, 390 pound meteorite, steel structure installation, installation view at the artist’s studio in Topanga, California, USA
Photo: Brian Forrest


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Photos of world’s biggest statues taken from unusual angles

Photos of world’s biggest statues taken from unusual angles

Fabrice Fouillet - Colosses - Jibo Kannon Kagaonsen, Japan 73 m (239 ft) Built in 1987
Fabrice FouilletColosses, Jibo Kannon, Kagaonsen, Japan, 73m (239ft), Built in 1987

Through several centuries, there have been different statues erected around the world. These statues vary in sizes and what they represent. Photographer Fabrice Fouillet embarked on a tour to study and take photographs of the biggest and most imposing statues in the world; A project he named Colosses. The project brings about a change in how these monuments are viewed, in other words, the idea of the project is not entirely to capture images of the statues or show off their sizes or the symbol they represent. The project however is to show these figures in the environment they are in and how they fit into the landscape and their connections to their immediate surroundings. Colosses is a study of the landscape in which monuments and commemorative statues are erected, and tends to bring out another perspective from which these symbolic representations can be viewed.

There can be different reasons why statues are erected and these include political, ideological or religious. Most times, statues are erected to keep alive the memory of a person or event and with the passing of the years, the statue will eventually become a symbol for the community.

As the series Colosses is all about the landscapes in which these statues are sited, we get to see the connections these gigantic declarations have with their immediate environment. A lot of statues were erected around the world in the 1990s with many of them located in Asia. Right now the world’s highest statue is undergoing construction in India and it will go as high as 182 meters which will be almost twice the size of the statue of liberty.

For this project, Fouillet took photographs of the statues outside their surroundings totally detaching them from their natural environment thereby giving a wider view and perspective to how these huge monuments fit into the landscape. He captures the monuments from a perspective we don’t usually get to see every day. Some of these monuments include the Dai Kanon in Sendai, Japan which he framed from a few blocks away. Christ the King monument in Swiebudzin, Poland was framed from behind. For some of the monuments, Fouillet shoots wide enough to capture the details of the things in the environment of these looming monoliths. For example, in the image of the Grand Byakue Kannon in Takazai, Japan, there is a Coca-Cola machine just down the hill away from the monument. According to Fouillet, his intention is to take out the monument from its regular touristic and religious setting which we are already used to.

So far, the project has spanned through ten countries and Fouillet thinks the project would not be complete if he does not capture the monument of Genghis Kahn riding on horseback which is located on the banks of the Tuul River in Mongolia and the Sardar Patel statue which is under construction in India. For the biggest statue in the world at the moment, the Spring Temple Buddha in Henan, China, Fouillet said he was unable to find a satisfying angle.

Fabrice Fouillet - Colosses - African Renaissance Monument Dakar, Senegal 49 m (161 ft) Built in 2010
Fabrice FouilletColosses, African Renaissance Monument, Dakar, Senegal, 49m (161ft), Built in 2010

Fabrice Fouillet - Colosses - Alyosha Monument Murmansk, Russia 35.5 m (116.5 ft) Built in 1974
Fabrice FouilletColosses, Alyosha Monument, Murmansk, Russia 35.5 m (116.5 ft), Built in 1974

Fabrice Fouillet - Colosses - Amitabha Buddha Ushiku, Japan 110 m (360 ft) Built in 1993
Fabrice FouilletColosses, Amitabha Buddha, Ushiku, Japan, 110m (360ft), Built in 1993

Fabrice Fouillet - Colosses - Ataturk Mask Buca, Izmir, Turkey 40 m (132 ft) Built in 2009
Fabrice FouilletColosses, Ataturk Mask, Buca, Izmir, Turkey, 40m (132ft), Built in 2009

Fabrice Fouillet - Colosses - Christ Blessing Manado, Indonesia 30 m (98.5 ft) Built in 2007
Fabrice FouilletColosses, Christ Blessing, Manado, Indonesia, 30m (98.5ft), Built in 2007

Fabrice Fouillet - Colosses - Christ the King Świebodzin, Poland 36 m (120 ft) Built in 2010
Fabrice FouilletColosses, Christ the King Świebodzin, Poland, 36m (120 ft), Built in 2010

Fabrice Fouillet - Colosses - Dai Kannon Sendai, Japan, 100m (330 ft) Built in 1991
Fabrice FouilletColosses, Dai Kannon, Sendai, Japan, 100m (330 ft), Built in 1991

Fabrice Fouillet - Colosses - Grand Bouddha Sakayamunee. Ang Thong, Thailande 92 m (301 ft) Built in 2008
Fabrice FouilletColosses, Great Buddha of Thailand, Ang Thong, Thailand, 92m (301ft), Built in 2008

Fabrice Fouillet - Colosses - Grand Byakue Takazaki, Japan 42 m (137 ft) Built in 1936
Fabrice FouilletColosses, Grand Byakue, Takazaki, Japan, 42m (137ft), Built in 1936

Fabrice Fouillet - Colosses - Guan Yu Statue Yuncheng, China 80 meters (262 ft) Built in 2010
Fabrice FouilletColosses, Guan Yu Statue, Yuncheng, China, 80m (262ft), Built in 2010

Fabrice Fouillet - Colosses - Guanyin Foshan, China 62 m (203 ft) Built in 1998
Fabrice FouilletColosses, Guanyin, Foshan, China, 62m (203ft), Built in 1998

Fabrice Fouillet - Colosses - Laykyun Setkyar Monywa, Myanmar 116 m (381 ft) Built in 2008
Fabrice FouilletColosses, Laykyun Setkyar Monywa, Myanmar, 116m (381ft), Built in 2008

Fabrice Fouillet - Colosses - Mao Zedong Changsha, China, 32 m (105 ft), Built in 2009
Fabrice FouilletColosses, Mao Zedong, Changsha, China, 32m (105ft), Built in 2009

Fabrice Fouillet - Colosses - Mother of the Fatherland. Kiev, Ukraine, 62 m (203 ft). Built in 1981
Fabrice FouilletColosses, Mother of the Fatherland, Kiev, Ukraine, 62m (203ft), Built in 1981

Fabrice Fouillet - Colosses - The Motherland Call. Volgograd, Russia 87 m (285 ft) Built in 1967
Fabrice FouilletColosses, The Motherland Call, Volgograd, Russia, 87m (285ft), Built in 1967


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The power of laughter

The power of laughter

Yue Minjun - One of 14 A-maze-ing Laughter bronze sculptures in Morton Park, Vancouver, BC

Yue Minjun - Untitled, stainless steel sculpture, 95x197x143cm
Yue MinjunUntitled, stainless steel sculpture, 95x197x143cm

Yue Minjun was born in Daqing in Heilongjiang, China in 1962. For most of his life, Yue moved from place to place, because his family had to move from oilfield to oilfield to find work. Before starting to work as an electrician, he graduated from Hebei Normal University in 1989, where he studied oil painting. 1989 was the same year in which China was left shocked by the infamous student-led demonstrations and the suppression of such on Tiananmen Square. These movements played a large part in the inspiration and mood of Yue’s work. In order to fight the dark mood of the hour, the dark reality of the time, he created vibrant self-images embodying an almost mania; The laughing image.

Laughter never necessarily means happiness. Laughter can be nervous. It can be spiteful. It can be healing. A smile or a laugh can be genuine but can also be a mask. They can mask feelings of loss, feelings of helplessness, feelings of confusion. Although the smile on Yue’s sculptures and paintings has often been interpreted as a joke or bliss, the meaning behind the smile often is so much deeper.

Yue was influenced by the Chinese modern art revolution, during which old ideas were being broken down and new thoughts were being created. He grew up in a time when market economic policies were beginning to release and there was accelerated development. This was also a period of global economic prosperity. These social and economic changes that were happening on a global level, especially within China pushed artists like Yue Minjun to quickly grow and evolve grow. Within this group of artists, Yue is without a doubt one of the most successful. He is also known as an influential member of the Cynical Realism movement.

His famous self-portraits take place in various settings, with an infamous expression of wide-toothed laughter. The figures featured in these self-portraits with disproportionately large faces, gleefully open mouths and eyes closed, have become recognizable to admirers around the world. Throughout his work, Yue utilizes humor as a tool to convey a tempestuous stage in modern China.

In more recent years, Yue’s sculptures have become the most famous and most visible works around the world. His sculpture A-mazing Laughter is a permanent installation in Vancouver, Canada. Yue’s Warriors were installed at LongHouse Reserve in New York.

In portraying himself within his paintings he allows himself more freedom of expression. Through this expression he is able to look at himself and society. He has the ability to question reality, and the laugh that is portrayed in his portraits and sculptures is one that is relatable for his countrymen and women who have experienced the changes in society. The smile that is so large and convincing often has something else behind it. Sometimes in any given situation all we can really do is smile.

Yue Minjun - A-Maze-ing Laughter, Vancouver 1
Yue MinjunA-Maze-ing Laughter, Vancouver, Canada

Yue Minjun - A-Maze-ing Laughter, Vancouver 2
Yue MinjunA-Maze-ing Laughter, Vancouver, Canada

Yue Minjun - A-Maze-ing Laughter, Vancouver 3
Yue MinjunA-Maze-ing Laughter, Vancouver, Canada

Yue Minjun - A-Maze-ing Laughter, Vancouver
Yue MinjunA-Maze-ing Laughter, Vancouver, Canada

Yue Minjun - Amazing Laughter, 2009, Photo Matthew Grapengieser
Yue MinjunA-Maze-ing Laughter, Vancouver, Canada
Photo: Matthew Grapengieser

Yue Minjun - Amazing Laughter, 2009
Yue MinjunA-Maze-ing Laughter, Vancouver, Canada

Yue Minjun - Today Art Museum
Yue Minjun – Today Art Museum, Beijing, China

Yue Minjun - Beijing, China, Photo by Jason Lee/Reuters
Yue Minjun – Today Art Museum, Beijing, China
Photo by Jason Lee/Reuters

Yue Minjun - Contemporary Terracotta Warriors 2000 Fiberglass, paint, iron base, 60x53x186cm, 2000
Yue MinjunContemporary Terracotta Warriors, 2000, Fiberglass, paint, iron base, 60x53x186cm

Yue Minjun - Contemporary Terracotta Warriors Series No. 6, 2005, Bronze, 46x61x288cm
Yue MinjunContemporary Terracotta Warriors No. 6, 2005, Bronze, 46x61x288cm

Yue Minjun - Contemporary Terracotta Warriors No. 9, 2006, Set of 25, Bronze, 190.5x61x61cm
Yue MinjunContemporary Terracotta Warriors No. 9, 2006, Set of 25, Bronze, 190,5x61x61cm

Yue Minjun - Contemporary Terracotta Warriors, 2005, installation view, Pete and Repeat, 2009 at Zabludowicz Collection, London. Photo- Thierry Bal
Yue MinjunContemporary Terracotta Warriors, 2005, Zabludowicz Collection, London, 2009
Photo: Thierry Bal

Yue Minjun - Contemporary Terracotta Warriors, 2005 (detail)
Yue MinjunContemporary Terracotta Warriors (detail), 2005

Yue Minjun - Contemporary Terracotta Warriors, 2005, LongHouse Reserve garden, East Hampton, NY, USA
Yue MinjunContemporary Terracotta Warriors, 2005, LongHouse Reserve garden, East Hampton, NY, USA

Yue Minjun - Contemporary Terracotta Warriors, Chatsworth House
Yue MinjunContemporary Terracotta Warriors, Chatsworth House, United Kingdom

Yue Minjun - Contemporary Terracotta Warriors, Chatsworth House 2
Yue MinjunContemporary Terracotta Warriors, Chatsworth House, United Kingdom

Yue Minjun - Flexible Latitude 2010
Yue MinjunFlexible Latitude, 2010

Yue Minjun - Laugh 2, 2009 Stainless steel, iron 200 x 80 x 80 cm
Yue MinjunLaugh 2, 2009, Stainless steel, iron 200x80x80cm

Yue Minjun - Milwaukee Art Museum 1
Yue MinjunChinese Contemporary Warriors, at Milwaukee Art Museum, USA, 2011

Yue Minjun - Milwaukee Art Museum 2
Yue MinjunChinese Contemporary Warriors, at Milwaukee Art Museum, USA, 2011

Yue Minjun - One of 14 A-maze-ing Laughter bronze sculptures in Morton Park, Vancouver, BC
Yue Minjun – One of 14 A-maze-ing Laughter bronze sculptures in Morton Park, Vancouver, BC

Yue Minjun - The Tao of Laughter, Harbour City – Part II , Hong Kong, 2012 2
Yue MinjunThe Tao of Laughter, Harbour City, Hong Kong, 2012

Yue Minjun - The Tao of Laughter, Harbour City – Part II , Hong Kong, 2012 3
Yue MinjunThe Tao of Laughter, Harbour City, Hong Kong, 2012

Yue Minjun - The Tao of Laughter, Harbour City – Part II , Hong Kong, 2012 4
Yue MinjunThe Tao of Laughter, Harbour City, Hong Kong, 2012

Yue Minjun - The Tao of Laughter, Harbour City – Part II , Hong Kong, 2012 5
Yue MinjunThe Tao of Laughter, Harbour City, Hong Kong, 2012

Yue Minjun - The Tao of Laughter, Harbour City – Part II , Hong Kong, 2012 6
Yue MinjunThe Tao of Laughter, Harbour City, Hong Kong, 2012

Yue Minjun - The Tao of Laughter, Harbour City – Part II , Hong Kong, 2012 7
Yue MinjunThe Tao of Laughter, Harbour City, Hong Kong, 2012

Yue Minjun - The Tao of Laughter, Harbour City – Part II , Hong Kong, 2012
Yue MinjunThe Tao of Laughter, Harbour City, Hong Kong, 2012


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Suicide car bomb from Iraq turned into art piece

Suicide car bomb from Iraq turned into art piece

 Jeremy Deller - It is what it is- Conversations About Iraq, 2009, at Joy in People at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre,  Photos: Linda Nylind
Jeremy DellerIt is what it is- Conversations About Iraq, 2009, at Joy in People at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre
Photo: Linda Nylind

In the Imperial War Museum in London, surrounded by some of the most powerful military hardware of the last 100 years rests a rusting, crumpled car. This is a clear example of what war does. The car is a piece by Jeremy Deller, and was a car that was contorted in a street bombing that killed 38 people and wounded many more at Baghdad’s Al-Mutanabbi book market. Al-Mutanabbi book market was at the heart of the Baghdad’s cultural and intellectual life.

The car serves as a sobering reminder of the consequences of war on civilians, the toll it takes on lives, the destruction and devastation that comes with every act of war. The artist, Deller, won the Turner prize in 2004, is best known for recreating the battle of Orgreave from the miners’ strike.

The visual destruction and devastation on the vehicle is only small and representative compared to the destruction and devastation in people’s lives, especially those who are in war torn countries. Lives are lost and destroyed, worlds and realities become twisted and mangled, and families become broken. Deller’s piece is a gateway into the hurt, harm, and brokenness that comes with war. The fact that this piece is held at a war museum is also extremely significant.

This piece serves as a discussion piece, arguing different sides and aspects of war- this piece is simply what we need more of. Thought provoking, raw, emotional, and profound- it takes the audience’s thoughts in different directions as they inspect the twisted metal that was once a fully formed vehicle, maybe like their own. It takes the audience to a place of realism and realization, and takes something that is often out of sight and out of mind and places it directly I the guests line of sight.

Jeremy Deller - It Is What It Is- Conversations About Iraq, 2009 (detail)
Jeremy DellerIt is what it is- Conversations About Iraq (detail), 2009

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Artist dissects car and re-composes it piece by piece to create a celebrated artwork

Artist dissects car and re-composes it piece by piece to create a celebrated artwork

Damián Ortega – Cosmic Thing, 2002, Volkswagen Beetle 1983, stainless steel wire, acrylic, Malmö Konsthall
Damián OrtegaCosmic Thing, 2002, Volkswagen Beetle 1983, stainless steel wire, acrylic, Malmö Konsthall

Damián Ortega was born in Mexico City in 1967. He now divides his time between Mexico City and Berlin. He has gained a world-renowned reputation as his works have been exhibited internationally. His career in art began as a political cartoonist, work that has influenced his more recent work, as is evidence in the playful energy often found in his works. Ortega is a multitalented artist who is known for his installations, sculptures, videos and performance pieces. He takes inspiration from a variety of seemingly mundane objects, and is known for his ability to transform the mundane into something that is anything but. Ortega’s work investigates the ways in which culture affects consumption, focusing on explicit economic, aesthetic and cultural situations.

Ortega’s work includes photography, sculpting, collage creation, and film; all which serve to draw audience attention to the sociopolitical and very poetic dimensions of the everyday. It is evident that through his use of satire, Ortega is successful at pointing out the issues and other themes related to capitalism, poverty, globalization, westernization, and immigration.

“Cosmic Thing” (2002), is without a doubt one of his Ortega’s most celebrated works, in which he took apart a Volkswagen Beetle and re-composed it piece by piece, where it was suspended in midair from wires. It could be described as a hanging diagram where you can see each part of the vehicle, dissected for all to see.

The vehicle hangs from the ceiling in an satirical meditation on an evident symbol of mass production and of course, westernization. The Volkswagen Beetle is without a doubt the most perfect symbol of both. The Volkswagen Beetle was originally developed in 1930s in Nazi Germany and became known as both being efficient and the affordable. Following the Second World War the Beetle had great manufacturing success, there were increasing safety regulations in Europe and the United States, and by the 1970s the Beetle was exclusively manufactured in Mexico and Brazil. This soon became the most use car in Mexico City as it was mechanically straightforward and cheap spare parts where always available allowing Do-It-Yourself repairs. This vehicle was not only accessible but functional and commonly seen on the streets around the world.

However, in Ortega’s piece, as the Beetle suspends in the air, disassembled, it is somewhat shocking. This suspended car, looking like a puzzle that needs to be solved, seems so different than the Beetles commonly seen being driven on the streets; So much more empty and cold, yet undeniably mesmerizing.

Ortega’s “Cosmic Thing” causes viewers to think about how several small pieces come together to create one whole thing. This is the case for mundane objects, images, and structures we see every day. Every structure we have ever seen and many of the objects we own is made of several small pieces pulled together to create a complete product for consumption. This once again draws into the ideas surrounding the ways in which culture affects consumption.

Damián Ortega - Cosmic Thing, 2002
Damián OrtegaCosmic Thing, 2002, Volkswagen Beetle 1983, stainless steel wire, acrylic, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, Italy
Photo: Agostino Osio. Courtesy Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan

Damián Ortega - Cosmic Thing, 2002
Damián OrtegaCosmic Thing, 2002, Volkswagen Beetle 1983, stainless steel wire, acrylic, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, Italy
Photo: Agostino Osio. Courtesy Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan

Damián Ortega - Cosmic Thing, 2002
Damián OrtegaCosmic Thing, 2002, Volkswagen Beetle 1983, stainless steel wire, acrylic, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, Italy
Photo: Agostino Osio. Courtesy Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan


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Free candy in a museum

Free candy in a museum

Felix Gonzalez-Torres - "Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), 1991, The Art Institute of Chicago
Felix Gonzalez-TorresUntitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), 1991, Candies individually wrapped in multicolor cellophane, endless supply. Dimensions vary with installation; ideal weight 175 lbs. At The Art Institute of Chicago
(Photo mark6mauno Flickr)

Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ piece “Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) is one of his nineteen candy pieces and featured in many museums around the world. The work targets the topic of a serious nature, one that is still unfortunately often taboo in mainstream society. It takes the topic from the shadows, where individuals still cringe and avert their eyes, and lays it on the table for discussion and contemplation.

The approximate 175 pounds of candy that make up the work resemble the 175-pound body of Ross Laycock, the artists’ boyfriend who died of AIDS in 1991. As each person takes a piece of candy, they in turn act as the AIDS virus depleting Ross’ body, piece be piece taking it away until there is nothing left. Felix Gonzalez-Torres, who dedicated his artwork to the one he love and lost, died in 1996 of AIDS.

His work doesn’t only represent the disease and its depletion on the body, but it represents the love between the person who is suffering from the disease and the person who is there to support them and suffer with them. The sweet candy, in and of itself, is a representation of love. If you think about giving candy to a loved one on valentine’s day, sweets in a box with flowers on mother’s day, candy has long been tied to affection and love. While the candy is eaten, while the body begins to disappear, the love remains.

While there has been much development and change since the 80’s and 90’s, there has been no cure and there has remained a stigma attached to the disease. Treatment allows individuals with HIV to live long and fairly normal lives, however there is still much more work needed in the area, and there is need for unstigmatized conversation.

This work of art says so much and is absolutely just as important today as it was in the 90’s. If you ever have the chance, this is a piece you must see.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres - "Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), 1991, The Art Institute of Chicago
Felix Gonzalez-TorresUntitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), 1991, Candies individually wrapped in multicolor cellophane, endless supply. Dimensions vary with installation; ideal weight 175 lbs. At The Art Institute of Chicago

Felix Gonzalez-Torres - "Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), 1991, The Art Institute of Chicago
Felix Gonzalez-TorresUntitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), 1991, Candies individually wrapped in multicolor cellophane, endless supply. Dimensions vary with installation; ideal weight 175 lbs. At The Art Institute of Chicago

Felix Gonzalez-Torres - "Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), 1991, The Art Institute of Chicago
Felix Gonzalez-TorresUntitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), 1991, Candies individually wrapped in multicolor cellophane, endless supply. Dimensions vary with installation; ideal weight 175 lbs. At The Art Institute of Chicago


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