Archive: sculpture
Stunning flexible sculptures are not what they seem

Stunning flexible sculptures are not what they seem


Li HongboTeaching Aid, 2014, paper

Li Hongbo is an artist based in Beijing, China and creates unusual and surprising art pieces from paper. A designer and book editor, Li Hongbo started collecting and experimenting his ideas with paper after being inspired by the festive ‘paper gourd’ decorations and traditional Chinese boys’ toys. Both of these pieces have a simple but amazing ‘honeycomb’ composition and can be molded into any shape.

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This gigantic sculpture resembles Noah’s ark

This gigantic sculpture resembles Noah’s ark

Mark Bradford - Mithra, 2008, Plywood, shipping containers, steel, 2133.6 x 609.6 x 762 cm, installation view at Prospect 1, New Orleans, Photo Nicole J. Caruth
Mark BradfordMithra, 2008, plywood, shipping containers, steel, 2133.6 x 609.6 x 762 cm, installation view at Prospect.1, New Orleans
Photo: Nicole J. Caruth

Asked to describe himself, Mark Bradford uses the words demolisher and builder in the same breadth and it is easy to see why. Using posters created for promoting merchant goods and services, flyers and general advertising materials, he takes pride in transforming anything he can lay his hands on, into large-scale art pieces. His specialty in the arts is sculpting but to arrive at a final piece that impresses him, he takes advantage of media such as film, photography, and collage. Mithra is one such creation made for the public in 2008 as part of the Prospect.1, the largest biennial of international contemporary art in the United States held in New Orleans. What was the inspiration? Hurricane Katrina.

Mithra, a gigantic sculpture that resembled Noah’s ark was placed at the center of Lower Ninth Ward in the city and this was to deliberately preach restoration that faced this epicenter of the storm.

New Orleans is a special place and especially in light of the terrible storm and so only an artist who had experience in relating to people in a way that made them feel important would drive the message of restoration home. Luckily, Bradford learned this trait early in life, first when he worked at a salon. When he was invited to create an art project for the people of New Orleans, he automatically knew the weight that the art piece he would create needed to bear, and was it heavy? While he purposed to use materials that he was familiar with, it took tons of materials. On the social aspect, he required for the project to create social impact. Three containers stacked one on top of the other was what it would take.

Original pictures of the sculpture show it as it stood in New Orleans in the parking lot of a local religious science church. This would later be dismantled, shipped in the Ninth Ward at a vacant space and reassembled to stand there. For all those who interact with this version of the work and especially those who are familiar with its biblical significance, it symbolizes a quest for salvation or futility. Any way you look at it, it is clear that those who fell victim to Hurricane Katrina need more than came their way in the form of support and government intervention.

Mark Bradford - Mithra, 2008, Plywood, shipping containers, steel, 2133.6 x 609.6 x 762 cm 1
Mark BradfordMithra, 2008, plywood, shipping containers, steel, 2133.6 x 609.6 x 762 cm, installation view at Prospect.1, New Orleans

Mark Bradford - Mithra, 2008, Plywood, shipping containers, steel, 2133.6 x 609.6 x 762 cm 2
Mark BradfordMithra, 2008, plywood, shipping containers, steel, 2133.6 x 609.6 x 762 cm, installation view at Prospect.1, New Orleans

Mark Bradford - Mithra, 2008, Plywood, shipping containers, steel, 2133.6 x 609.6 x 762 cm 3
Mark BradfordMithra, 2008, plywood, shipping containers, steel, 2133.6 x 609.6 x 762 cm, installation view at Prospect.1, New Orleans

Mark Bradford - Mithra (detail), 2008, Plywood, shipping containers, steel, 2133.6 x 609.6 x 762 cm
Mark BradfordMithra (detail), 2008, plywood, shipping containers, steel, 2133.6 x 609.6 x 762 cm, installation view at Prospect.1, New Orleans

Mark Bradford - Detail, 2009–10 (parts of Mithra reassembled), plywood, found paper, adhesive, 498 x 549 x 914 cm) Installation view at the Wexner Center for the Arts
Mark BradfordDetail, 2009–2010 (parts of Mithra reassembled), plywood, found paper, adhesive, 498 x 549 x 914 cm, Installation view at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University

Mark Bradford - Detail, 2009–10 (parts of Mithra reassembled), plywood, found paper, adhesive, 498 x 549 x 914 cm) Installation view at the Wexner Center for the Arts Photo- Sven Kahns
Mark BradfordDetail, 2009–2010 (parts of Mithra reassembled), plywood, found paper, adhesive, 498 x 549 x 914 cm, Installation view at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University
Photo: Sven Kahns


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Scale of Anish Kapoor’s sculpture is frighteningly extraordinary

Scale of Anish Kapoor’s sculpture is frighteningly extraordinary

Anish Kapoor - Dismemberment, Site 1, 2009

Anish Kapoor - Dismemberment, Site 1, 2009
Anish KapoorDismemberment, Site 1, 2009, mild steel tube and tensioned fabric. Each end 25x8m, length 85m, Gibbs Farm, Kaipara Harbour, New Zealand
Photo: Paul Kramer

North of Auckland, in a stretch of land called Gibbs Farms, sits Anish Kapoor’s Dismemberment, Site 1 (2009). The scale of this sculpture is frighteningly extraordinary and is the largest one that Kapoor has ever created; it is the height of an 8 story building.

Unsurprisingly, the sculpture makes little effort to blend in with the expansive landscape; however, it does a great job of complementing it. The sculpture imposes itself on you, and it draws you in, dominating the area in which it sits, so much so that the sculpture appears to have always been there. This speaks to the work that went into the sculpture’s construction and design.

Kapoor had to create a free standing sculpture that would last for long, which is why the monumental sculpture was created using Serge Ferrari textile that is set up to survive harsh winds and severe weather conditions. The sculpture elicits various visual sensations and interpretations from the scores of people that arrive daily at Gibbs’s farm. At first sight, the Dismemberment sculpture looks like a swollen ear whose primary purpose is to capture the sounds and the spirit of the landscape. However, with every winding turn that you take, the sculpture transforms into a large external trumpet that appears to be signaling and calling travelers from distance lands.

In a way, it bears a resemblance to the trumpet that Joshua used to spy on the town of Jericho in the Bible. Like with every art installation, the audience reserves the right to interpret a masterpiece depending on the feelings that the piece evokes. Some people have interpreted the sculpture and found it to represent a large sized vulva, while others think that it represents the head and nucleus of a large bright flower.

Kapoor created the sculpture as a way of connecting the body to the sky. The tubular red structure symbolizes colostomy bags, and the red color represents the insides of the human body. The red is internal, but it externalizes itself in various ways. The sculpture also suggests that it may be a motherly creature that is brought forth by the earth and the tube represents flesh, skin, or a dismembered artery that is bleeding on the ground possibly feeding and rejuvenating the soil it rests on. From within, the sculpture is intimate and private, however, from inside it, the landscape emerges paving the way to new life in a fragile earth.


Anish KapoorDismemberment, Site 1, 2009, mild steel tube and tensioned fabric. Each end 25x8m, length 85m, Gibbs Farm, Kaipara Harbour, New Zealand

Anish Kapoor - Dismemberment, Site 1, 2009
Anish KapoorDismemberment, Site 1, 2009, mild steel tube and tensioned fabric. Each end 25x8m, length 85m, Gibbs Farm, Kaipara Harbour, New Zealand

Anish Kapoor - Dismemberment, Site 1, 2009
Anish KapoorDismemberment, Site 1, 2009, mild steel tube and tensioned fabric. Each end 25x8m, length 85m, Gibbs Farm, Kaipara Harbour, New Zealand

Anish Kapoor - Dismemberment, Site 1, 2009
Anish KapoorDismemberment, Site 1, 2009, mild steel tube and tensioned fabric. Each end 25x8m, length 85m, Gibbs Farm, Kaipara Harbour, New Zealand

Anish Kapoor - Dismemberment, Site 1, 2009
Anish KapoorDismemberment, Site 1, 2009, mild steel tube and tensioned fabric. Each end 25x8m, length 85m, Gibbs Farm, Kaipara Harbour, New Zealand

Anish Kapoor - Dismemberment, Site 1, 2009
Anish KapoorDismemberment, Site 1, 2009, mild steel tube and tensioned fabric. Each end 25x8m, length 85m, Gibbs Farm, Kaipara Harbour, New Zealand

Anish Kapoor - Dismemberment, Site 1, 2009
Anish KapoorDismemberment, Site 1, 2009, mild steel tube and tensioned fabric. Each end 25x8m, length 85m, Gibbs Farm, Kaipara Harbour, New Zealand

Anish Kapoor - Dismemberment, Site 1, 2009
Anish KapoorDismemberment, Site 1, 2009, mild steel tube and tensioned fabric. Each end 25x8m, length 85m, Gibbs Farm, Kaipara Harbour, New Zealand


Anish KapoorDismemberment, Site 1, 2009, mild steel tube and tensioned fabric. Each end 25x8m, length 85m, Gibbs Farm, Kaipara Harbour, New Zealand

Anish Kapoor - Dismemberment, Site 1, 2009
Anish KapoorDismemberment, Site 1, 2009, mild steel tube and tensioned fabric. Each end 25x8m, length 85m, Gibbs Farm, Kaipara Harbour, New Zealand

Anish Kapoor - Dismemberment, Site 1, 2009
Anish KapoorDismemberment, Site 1, 2009, mild steel tube and tensioned fabric. Each end 25x8m, length 85m, Gibbs Farm, Kaipara Harbour, New Zealand

Anish Kapoor - Dismemberment, Site 1, 2009
Anish KapoorDismemberment, Site 1, 2009, mild steel tube and tensioned fabric. Each end 25x8m, length 85m, Gibbs Farm, Kaipara Harbour, New Zealand

Anish Kapoor - Dismemberment, Site 1, 2009
Anish KapoorDismemberment, Site 1, 2009, mild steel tube and tensioned fabric. Each end 25x8m, length 85m, Gibbs Farm, Kaipara Harbour, New Zealand

Anish Kapoor - Dismemberment, Site 1, 2009
Anish KapoorDismemberment, Site 1, 2009, mild steel tube and tensioned fabric. Each end 25x8m, length 85m, Gibbs Farm, Kaipara Harbour, New Zealand

Anish Kapoor - Dismemberment, Site 1, 2009
Anish KapoorDismemberment, Site 1, 2009, mild steel tube and tensioned fabric. Each end 25x8m, length 85m, Gibbs Farm, Kaipara Harbour, New Zealand

Anish Kapoor - Dismemberment, Site 1, 2009
Anish KapoorDismemberment, Site 1, 2009, mild steel tube and tensioned fabric. Each end 25x8m, length 85m, Gibbs Farm, Kaipara Harbour, New Zealand

Anish Kapoor - Dismemberment, Site 1, 2009
Anish KapoorDismemberment, Site 1, 2009, mild steel tube and tensioned fabric. Each end 25x8m, length 85m, Gibbs Farm, Kaipara Harbour, New Zealand


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Colossal bright neon pink sculpture: Impossible to ignore

Colossal bright neon pink sculpture: Impossible to ignore

Tavares Strachan - You Belong Here, 2014, blocked out neon, 9.1x24.4m
Tavares StrachanYou Belong Here, 2014, blocked out neon, 9.1×24.4m, on Mississippi River, New Orleans, USA, for Prospect New Orleans’ triennial, Prospect.3

Tavares Strachan showed his large-scale flowing sculpture in 2014. The sculpture was part of the Prospect.3: Notes for Now biennial show that occurred between October 2014 and January 2015 in New Orleans.

Strachan’s project was a declarative statement and performance that was entitled You Belong Here. The installation featured a 100-foot neon art piece that would be transported from one location to another on a 140- foot barge on the Mississippi River. The barge that carried the neon piece was made visible from different regions and places throughout New Orleans. It was created to pass on a message to the residents of the city, encouraging the city dwellers to examine themselves and what the city of New Orleans means to them and their futures.

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Controversial sculpture cut into 3 pieces after heated debate

Controversial sculpture cut into 3 pieces after heated debate

Richard Serra - Tilted Arc, 1981, COR-TEN steel, 37m long, 3.7m tall, 6.4cm thick, Federal Plaza in lower Manhattan, New York
Richard SerraTilted Arc, 1981, COR-TEN steel, 37m long, 3.7m tall, 6.4cm thick, Federal Plaza in Lower Manhattan, New York

Richard Serra is a leading sculptor who is known for creating minimalist artwork. While he began his career after studying fine arts at Yale University, he created the sculpture Tilted Arc in 1981 New York after celebrating his fortieth birthday. By this time he was already highly recognized and this is one of the reasons so much attention has been given to what became of the Titled Arc, an artwork that was intended to grace the Foley Federal Plaza for a long time would be relocated in 1989 after it became the subject of a heated debate.

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World’s worst criminal regretting his sins

World’s worst criminal regretting his sins

Maurizio Cattelan - Him
Maurizio CattelanHim, 2001, wax, human hair, suit, polyester resin and pigment, 101×43.1×63.5cm, Edition of 3 + AP

How much penance do the atrocities that Adolf Hitler committed in his lifetime require to be forgiven? This is perhaps the question which Maurizio Cattelan wanted to arouse in his audience when he drew a picture of the Nazi leader in a kneeling position. There is nothing wrong with someone kneeling down in prayer and in fact, it is an aspect of humanity that keeps us humble. With this in mind, it is hard to imagine that the person seeking forgiveness exercised untold torture on fellow human beings. If approached from behind, one cannot help but marvel at the self-discipline and commitment that this young boy eludes. It is not until one gets close enough that they realize that the neatly pressed school boy attire, fresh raven hair and well-polished shoes, actually belong to a leader whose name still raises goose bumps in the present day.

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Bridging cultures with influential sculptures & furniture

Bridging cultures with influential sculptures & furniture

Isamu Noguchi - Red Cube Sculpture, 1968, 140 Broadway Between Cedar and Liberty Streets, Financial District in Lower Manhattan, New York, USA 1

Isamu Noguchi - Red Cube Sculpture, 1968, 140 Broadway Between Cedar and Liberty Streets, Financial District in Lower Manhattan, New York, USA 1
Isamu NoguchiRed Cube Sculpture, 1968, 140 Broadway Between Cedar and Liberty Streets, Financial District in Lower Manhattan, New York, USA

A walk through Japan reveals the close correlation between nature and aesthetics. Amid the natural setup are works of art that remind everyone about the history, beliefs and affiliations of the Japanese people. The modern art concept of creating spectacular pieces to create an art park is becoming rather common owing to the pioneer work of artists like Isamu Noguchi. Having been an artist for 60 years, he has helped shape the aesthetic and cultural appearance of Japan and the US through the creation of sculpture parks. Even in death, Noguchi is still recognized for his artwork on furniture, gardens, ceramics and architecture. Although considered subtle and bold during his time, his work is now the standard for modern and expressionist art.

Owing to his mixed heritage, Isamu Noguchi was an internationalist and it is during his travels that he picked up the inspiration to express himself in sculptures. His inspiration for large scale sculpture works with a story actually came from Mexico. He would then incorporate Japanese tranquil garden and earthy ceramic setup as well as the Chinese light ink brushing technique into his work. As one would imagine, what he created from bringing together these different aspects was epic creativity. Once he had settled in his trade, he would maintain studios in New York and Japan, perhaps to declare allegiance to his roots. The works of Isamu Noguchi are evidently aimed at enhancing harmony in human coexistence. The blend of Western and Eastern cultures, modern and traditional life, organic and geometric alignment of nature are some of the efforts Isamu Noguchi made to create tranquility in his work.

Isamu Noguchi - Red Cube Sculpture, 1968, 140 Broadway Between Cedar and Liberty Streets, Financial District in Lower Manhattan, New York, USA 2
Isamu NoguchiRed Cube Sculpture, 1968, 140 Broadway Between Cedar and Liberty Streets, Financial District in Lower Manhattan, New York, USA

Isamu Noguchi - Red Cube Sculpture, 1968, 140 Broadway Between Cedar and Liberty Streets, Financial District in Lower Manhattan, New York, USA 3
Isamu NoguchiRed Cube Sculpture, 1968, 140 Broadway Between Cedar and Liberty Streets, Financial District in Lower Manhattan, New York, USA

Isamu Noguchi - Octetra, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, USA
Isamu NoguchiOctetra, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, USA

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