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Iran do Espírito Santo’s concrete ‘Playground’ in New York

Iran do Espírito Santo’s concrete ‘Playground’ in New York

Iran do Espírito Santo – Playground, concrete, 411,5 x 411,5 x 411,5 cm (162 x 162 x 162 in), Doris C. Freedman Plaza, New York, 2013-2014
Iran do Espírito Santo – Playground, concrete, 411,5 x 411,5 x 411,5 cm (162 x 162 x 162 in), Doris C. Freedman Plaza, New York, 2013-2014

Introduction

Iran do Espírito Santo has over the years managed to become one of the most fascinating contemporary artists not just in Brazil, but in the world as well. Today, he is primarily celebrated for his minimalist projects that cover issues of design, place, surface, structure and material. By using abstracted day-to-day objects, his installations assume a delicate mutiny of minimalism. As a result, Santo is often concerned with the tactile features of his chosen subjects and materials. Working with different mediums such as copper, steel, paint and stone, his work emphasizes the sleekness of surfaces and forms of manufactured goods to seduce audiences all over the world.

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Anish Kapoor’s whirlpool – Everything you need to know

Anish Kapoor’s whirlpool – Everything you need to know

Anish Kapoor - Descension, 2014, Château de Versailles, Courtesy Kapoor Studio e Kamel Mennour 1, photo Silvia Neri
Anish Kapoor – Descension, 2014, Château de Versailles, 2015
Photo: Silvia Neri

Introduction

This installation by Anish Kapoor is a depiction of the fluidity and motion of water as a liquid mass and the void into which it descends. Descension is an impressive sculpture that depicts water’s continuous swirling motion as it rushes down an 8m (26-ft) diameter vortex representing a powerful physical form that is sucked into the earth. This art piece induces a mesmerized feeling in the audience when viewing the perpetual black water being pulled down into an unknown interior. Descension also induces a visceral feeling like the center is an abyss that seems bottomless and which sucks the water that spins into a vortex as it descends into this abyss. As such, the installation conveys different meanings and feelings based on the viewer’s own experiences. For instance, while some may view it as a transience of humanity’s existence, to others, it looks like a portal into a different world or even, a window into the past or future.

‘Decension’ at Château de Versailles, France, 2015

Anish Kapoor - Descension, 2014, Château de Versailles, photo Tadzio
Anish Kapoor – Descension, 2014, Château de Versailles, 2015
Photo: Tadzio

Anish Kapoor - Descension, 2014, Château de Versailles, Versailles, 2015, © ADAGP Anish Kapoor, photo Fabrice Seixas
Anish Kapoor – Descension, 2014, Château de Versailles, 2015
© ADAGP Anish Kapoor, photo Fabrice Seixas

Anish Kapoor - Descension, 2014, Château de Versailles, Versailles, 2015
Anish Kapoor – Descension, 2014, Château de Versailles, 2015

Anish Kapoor - Descension, 2014, Château de Versailles, Courtesy Kapoor Studio e Kamel Mennour 1, photo Silvia Neri
Anish Kapoor – Descension, 2014, Château de Versailles, 2015
Photo: Silvia Neri

Anish Kapoor - Descension, 2014, Château de Versailles, photo Tadzio
Anish Kapoor – Descension, 2014, Château de Versailles, 2015
Photo: Tadzio

The whirlpool & politics

According to Kapoor, the pool is also a representation of the current state of affairs in America regarding politics for which he is vocal about. Indeed, the artist has since formed a coalition of over 200 creatives to engage in art exhibitions aimed at confronting right-wing populism. Dubbed ‘Hands off Our Revolution,’ the coalition will use contemporary art forms in its exhibitions.

‘Decension’ at Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York, 2017

Anish Kapoor - Descension, 2014, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1, New York, 2017, photo James Ewing, Public Art Fund, NY
Anish Kapoor – Descension, 2014, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1, New York, 2017
Photo: James Ewing, Public Art Fund, NY

Anish Kapoor - Descension, 2014, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1, New York, 2017, photo James Ewing, Public Art Fund, NY
Anish Kapoor – Descension, 2014, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1, New York, 2017
Photo: James Ewing, Public Art Fund, NY

Anish Kapoor - Descension, 2014, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1, New York, 2017, photo James Ewing, Public Art Fund, NY
Anish Kapoor – Descension, 2014, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1, New York, 2017
Photo: James Ewing, Public Art Fund, NY

Anish Kapoor - Descension, 2014, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1, New York, 2017, photo James Ewing, Public Art Fund, NY
Anish Kapoor – Descension, 2014, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1, New York, 2017
Photo: James Ewing, Public Art Fund, NY

How does it work?

The work was created using pipes and was powered by a recirculating discharge pump. The pull of the water descending into unknowable depths attracts the audience and activates their perceptions as they try to guess what’s beyond the vortex that pulls the water in such a spinning vortex fashion. The installation was surrounded by a railing to enable viewers to peer into the depths of the whirlpool. Like in all his works, Anish Kapoor makes use of ordinary materials and elements to create art that induces a strong feeling in viewers. In this case, he used water and artificial black dye to create the effect of swirling motion and a seemingly bottomless pool into which the water spins. Later, he did away with black dye to leave the water in its natural color as a resemblance to the water in the East River of Brooklyn, New York.

Destruction of Anish Kapoor's Descension, 2014. In the foreground installation for soil drainage, Château de Versailles, photo T. Lefebvre
Destruction of Anish Kapoor’s Descension, 2014. In the foreground installation for soil drainage, Château de Versailles
Photo: T. Lefebvre

‘Decension’ at Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, Italy, 2015

Anish Kapoor - Descension, 2014, Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, Italy, 2015
Anish Kapoor – Descension, 2014, Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, Italy, 2015

Anish Kapoor - Descension, 2014, Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, Italy, 2015
Anish Kapoor – Descension, 2014, Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, Italy, 2015

About Anish Kapoor

Anish Kapoor was born in 1954 in India’s Mumbai area and moved to London in the early 1970s where he attended art school and continues to live and create inventive art. He created artworks using materials such as stone, stainless steel, resin, raw pigment, wax and synthetic polymer among others while also displaying a healthy obsession with water as a sculptural potential as seen in Descension.

Portrait of Anish Kapoor in front of Descension, 2014, photo Ela Bialkowska
Portrait of Anish Kapoor in front of Descension, 2014
Photo: Ela Bialkowska

Video: Anish Kapoor talks about ‘Descension’

3min 13sec

Related works


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Tokujin Yoshioka’s ‘Rainbow Church’ – The liberation of light

Tokujin Yoshioka’s ‘Rainbow Church’ – The liberation of light

Tokujin-Yoshioka-Rainbow-Church-installation-view-feat

Tokujin Yoshioka - Rainbow Church installation view

‘Rainbow Church’

Rainbow church is aptly named and refers to an eight-meter-high installation that creates a rainbow as light is refracted within its space. The installation is a wall of crystal prism that throws off rainbows to anyone within the installation space. The 500 crystal prisms that make up the installation allow light passing through them to be refracted, creating rainbow hues in the areas around the installation and the adjacent walls resulting in an effect seen with stained glass only in this case there is no stained glass. One can interpret Rainbow Church in a number of ways. One interpretation draws upon the relationship between man and nature and hence creates a scene where form is given to it as his creation such as in the case of light into rainbows.

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What font is used in Barbara Kruger’s art?

What font is used in Barbara Kruger’s art?

Barbara Kruger - Untitled (Your body is a battleground), 1989
Barbara Kruger – Untitled (Your body is a battleground), 1989

Introduction

Barbara Kruger’s art is easily one of the most recognizable on the planet. Characterized by the bold white Futura1 Oblique and sometimes caps locked sans serif, her artwork forces audiences to take a hard look at the institutions that she satirizes. Both direct and political, her art is designed to question the modern political and democratic process while challenging societal notions of sexism, consumerism and corruption.

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The story behind Keith Haring’s subversive Berlin Wall mural

The story behind Keith Haring’s subversive Berlin Wall mural

Keith Haring in front of his Berlin Wall Mural, 1986
Keith Haring in front of his Berlin Wall Mural, 1986

Introduction

As an outspoken social rights activist, Keith Haring was not one to shy away from controversy. His Berlin Wall Mural is just that – controversial and provocative. In fact, Haring himself told The New York Times1 that the mural was a “subversive” act that was meant to make a political statement, and help on a psychological level destroy the Berlin Wall.

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The longest snake you have ever seen

The longest snake you have ever seen

Huang Yong Ping - Ressort 2012, Aluminium, stainless steel, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Australia
Huang Yong Ping – Ressort, 2012, aluminium, stainless steel, 53m/185 foot, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Australia

Introduction

A massive snake in real life? Absolutely frightening. A massive snake skeleton, aluminum and stainless steel structure on the other hand? Absolutely exciting and awe-inspiring. Such is the Chinese-French artist Huang Yong Ping’s amazing aluminum snake sculpture, an installation he dubbed, Ressort. Designed and installed in 2012 for the Queensland Art Gallery in Australia, this magnificent structure features a snake skeleton made of silver vertebrae, undulating in a sinuous manner from the ceiling to the floor. The beautifully extending sculpture spans 53 meters across the Watermall and was a great centerpiece for the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art #7.

About Huang Yong Ping

Huang Yong Ping was born in 1954 in Xiamen, China and is a contemporary artist who was part of the first students to be admitted to art academies after the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution1. Here, the artist developed a penchant for French postmodern theory, and along with the influence of Taoist and Zen Buddhist, he cofounded Xiamen Dada2, a well-known avant-garde group that mainly deals with construction materials in galleries as opposed to artworks. He lived in France where he shone the limelight on his art and as a result, while his artwork features Chinese mythological symbols such as the snake, it also sprinkles symbols and mythologies from the West; an approach that is evident in Ressort.

The meaning of ‘Ressort’

‘Ressort’, which is French for ‘spring’ is an apt name for this art piece as it also means energy. Huang’s use of the snake is evident in most of his work as the snake represents a central symbol of Chinese mythology3, and this specific pose that the skeleton took on as if uncoiling from the ceiling to the ground represents controlled energy and resilience. The snake in ancient Chinese myths is also a representation of knowledge and wisdom. In other Western cultures, it may be taken to represent fear, deception, desire and creation, even as evidenced in the Bible story of the Garden of Eden.

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Giant middle finger in front of Italian Stock Exchange

Giant middle finger in front of Italian Stock Exchange

Maurizio Cattelan - L.O.V.E., 2010, White Carrara Marble, roman travertine, 1100 x 470 x 470 cm (36.1 x 15.5 x 15.5 feet), Piazza Affari Milano, Italy 1
Maurizio Cattelan – L.O.V.E., 2010, white Carrara Marble, roman travertine, 1100 x 470 x 470 cm (36.1 x 15.5 x 15.5 feet), Piazza Affari Milano, Italy

“Officially its name is L.O.V.E. – so it stands for love – but everyone can read between the lines and take away the message they see for themselves.”

– Maurizio Cattelan

Introduction

If you stroll into Milan’s Piazza degli Affari, you are bound to feast your eyes on a shocking sight: A 4 to 5 meters high marble sculpture of a veiny hand giving its beholders the middle finger. The middle finger is placed on a 7 m base. The display of the fascist salute has a twist though, all the other fingers have been chopped off to leave the middle finger, considered an obscene offensive gesture. The sculpture by Maurizio Cattelan is right in front of the fascist-styled Palazzo Mezzanotte, the Italian stock exchange building. To many people, it seems to flip it off.

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