Archive: Art in Milan
Destroyed and Reconstructed – Lucio Fontana’s mesmerizing neon installations

Destroyed and Reconstructed – Lucio Fontana’s mesmerizing neon installations

Lucio Fontana - Struttura al Neon per la IX Triennale di Milano, 1951:2017, installation view at Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, 2017. Photo Agostino Osio
Lucio FontanaStruttura al Neon per la IX Triennale di Milano, 1951/2017, installation view at Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, 2017
Photo: Agostino Osio

Lucio Fontana’s interest in technological and scientific advancements that occurred during the 20th century largely inspired his approach to a wide array of methods and mediums. For instance, he has worked with stone, neon, ceramics and even metals. As a painter, he went beyond two-dimensional surfaces by engaging technology as a means to attain expressions of the 4th dimension. By going beyond the expected, Lucio managed to create an innovative and new aesthetic dialect that blended painting, sculpture, and architecture.

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One of the most fun ways to experience a museum

One of the most fun ways to experience a museum

Carsten Höller - Test Site, 2007, New Museum, New York - Exhibition Experience, 2011
Carsten HöllerTest Site, 2007, New Museum, New York – Exhibition: Experience, 2011

Carsten Höller is well known for playfully including his slide installations in major museums across the world. Höller, who is formerly a scientist with a degree in agronomy, is famous for repurposing components of the real world, such as slides, for art spaces. The majority of his works feature aesthetics that are relational, meaning that the projects created are inspired by the relationship that people have with their social contexts. The end result of Höller’s incredible work is an experience that resembles part playground and part lab, which is a crowd pleaser.

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52 tons of cardboard cut into 900,000 pieces to create one single photo

52 tons of cardboard cut into 900,000 pieces to create one single photo

Thomas Demand - Grotto, 2006 (detail)

Thomas Demand - Grotto, 2006, Pier 24, San Francisco, 2013, Photo, Blake Gopnik
Thomas DemandGrotto, 2006, Pier 24, San Francisco, 2013
Photo: Blake Gopnik

Thomas Demand has ignited the imaginations and adventurous sides of viewers with his photography piece, titled Grotto. Pulling viewers into an underground cavern covered in beautiful bright stalactites and stalagmites, art lovers find themselves in the center of the earth. However, if viewers look a little deeper, they will find that there is much more with Grotto than what meets the eye. Once viewers come into realization, they are left in awe at the work that had gone into the creation of this photograph.

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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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This artwork looks like an accident scene

This artwork looks like an accident scene

Elmgreen Dragset - Shortcut (2013)
Elmgreen & DragsetShort Cut, 2003, Mixed-media installation, 250 x 850 x 300 cm

ABOUT SHORT CUT

In Short Cut (2003), Elmgreen and Dragset installed a run-of-the-mill white Fiat Uno in Milan’s quintessential strolling and gathering place for all tourists and residents, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele.

The work is a metaphor for global tourism, but also a symbol for the precarious nature of today’s world. It also describes a universe in movement that travels along endless, unpredictable paths towards fanciful destinations. The first impression of passers-by is that they have come across an accident scene: the floor is cracked and the wheels of the car are stuck among shards of the mosaic. Short Cut sparks reactions and debate throughout the city; animated clusters of people gather around the installation. On the morning that the exhibition opens, the traffic police leave a ticket on the car for parking in an unauthorized area, and two members of the city council ask for it to be removed; to demonstrate their disapproval, they stage a protest in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, eating a pizza next to the installation.

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