Tag Archives: Sculpture

Making space accessible. Structures pt.2

What is reality? You could say reality is constructed and that we are a part of those structures, but what makes these structures tangible, how do we sense reality, how do we perceive reality? – This is where Olufar Elliasson comes in. Elliasson is Danish artist who’s well known for it’s large installations and sculptures where he tends to make the natural elements and experiences that it produces more tangible.

“Art is not only about decorating the world and making it look even better or even worse (subjective notion of art), it’s also about taking responsibility.” – Let’s start with this notion of art, and as we go further I’ll try to explain it to you, what it means and most of all, how powerful it’s content is.

What’s the difference between thinking and doing?

What does it mean when I’m in a space, does it make any difference? 

waterfall1New York City Waterfalls – A large-scale installation project by Eliasson which ran from July 2008 till October 2008 in which he tries to make “space” more experienceable, more tangible. To accomplish this he uses the speed of water as an indicator, as a measurement of how big a structure is. He uses it as an indicator of time and therefore also of distance. “How long does it take till the water reaches the surface, how fast is the water falling when watching from a distance”: one could ask himself. This way he attempts to make the space and dimensions of the (enormous) city more tangible. Because New York is after all a city that tends to play around with the sense of space. – It’s enormous, large-scaled, somewhat surreal.

So these waterfalls are not only an act of bringing nature back to the city but also about giving them a sense of dimension. Eliasson beliefs that it makes a big difference whether you have a body which feels a part of space, rather than having a body who’s just in front of a picture. Because when someone has a sense of time and space it makes the space accessible. It makes the space changeable. Again you could relate this with community, to come back to what I talked about yesterday. It could relate to collectivity and the sense of being together. (See last post; “chaos reinvented & how life gave birth to itself” ) Therefore they might feel a part of that space, of society.

But how do we create public space that is both tolerant towards individuality and also to collectivity whithout polerising the two into opposites? Let’s say that experiencing art and space is about taking part into the world,  about sharing responsibility. So what’s the difference between thinking and doing and what’s in between? Experiencing something is what connects both opposites. But what’s experiencing something? Having an experience is taking part in the world, is sharing something,  it’s about sharing responsibility. That’s why art really makes a relevance in this world. Therefore Art and culture has proven that one can create a space which is both sensitive to collectivity and individuality.

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Chaos reinvented & how life gave birth to itself. – Structures pt.1

MySecretGarden - Arne Quinze

Chaos, a lifeless hump which existed before the era of gods. It was merely a concept not a god which is a crucial difference that must be made clear before I can proceed. Therefore “it” was not personalized like the later Gods were, neither has it an embodiment like for example Zeus or Aphrodite. Out of this Chaos, life and earth came forth. These first concepts who came forth out of the Chaos: Nyx (night) , Tartaros (the underworld), Gaea (the earth) and Eros (love) were also still concepts. But from these four, the first generation of embodied Gods came forth (fe. Kronos).

A lifeless lump, unfashion’d, and unfram’d, 
Of jarring seeds; and justly Chaos nam’d. 
No sun was lighted up, the world to view; 
No moon did yet her blunted horns renew: 
Nor yet was Earth suspended in the sky,..”

-Ovid; Metamorphoses, first book –

It’s important to note the difference between the Biblical story of Genesis and the beginning of ‘life’ as written down by the ancient Greeks and romans. The biggest ‘confusion’ lies in the fact that the world, earth or life – as told to us by the ancients – was not “created” , therefore there was no higher being, no God who molded the world (to his example – cf. Genesis). Instead, the world ‘gave birth to itself’. It came forth out of what they called ‘Chaos’ (which was ‘a gaping hole’, it was nor masculine nor female – it had no sex). So in that way it’s considerable that all the needed structures to build up life, to create the world were already contained inside of the Chaos but in a messy kind of way.

MySecretGardenDetail07Arne Quinze, a Belgian conceptual artist who’s work mainly relates to the social interaction, communication and urbanisation of art. He believes that by placing art in a common environment like a park or such, the public, the people passing by, get educated and involved into the world of culture. There’s no more hiding from art, it’s no longer concealed in a dark museum which is rarely visited by the ‘commoners’.  Therefor he places art right in front of their faces which leaves them no choice: they can either like or dislike it, but the interaction is inevitable.

“There’s no chaos, only structure” is a tagline in some of his work expressing his inner self and how he describes his thoughts. To him there is no chaos, everything is structured even in the chaos you find structure. (remember Ovid’s Metamorphoses, where in structure already was concealed inside of the Chaos). There’s no such thing as chaos in Quinze’s world or at least not in the sense of how society defines chaos. Chaos does exist, as a form of structure. Chaos is irretrievably linked with life. In life everything is a matter of rhythm. Something without a rigid structure is part of the organic order in life. (Again think about how the ancients described it). So the link between both is rather inevitable. As chaos housed structure and life. Arne Quinze’s ‘chaotic’ structures house people, house life. They shelter life, they form a meeting space, a social environment in what at first looked as a chaotic swarm of people passing by each other randomly. It brings them together. It brings art and life together. It reminds the people of their biggest accomplishment; culture. 

“There’s no chaos, only structure”

Earlier posts featuring Arne Quinze: https://whatsaboutart.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/cities-like-open-air-museums-beaufort-04-1/

Uchronia - Arne Quinze - Burning Man

Uchronia – Arne Quinze – Burning Man

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The least “pop” of all pop-artists.

Robert Indiana (Robert Clark)

Today we celebrate 84 years of love, the birthday of the least ‘pop’ among the pop-artists. Today we celebrate the anniversary of Robert Clark, better known as Robert Indiana. 

Well known for his bold, iconic and simple images, consisting of especially numbers and short words such as “LOVE”, he calls them sculptural poems. The iconography first appeared in a series of poems Indiana had written in 1985, where he stacked the letters LO and VE on top of each other as he would do in a similar way in his famous ‘Love’ series.

These sculptures can be found all around the world and are represented in many languages. They made stamps, musicians inspired their album covers upon it and so on. In this manner he “spreads” out love, all over the globe. He unites people by placing his (similar) work all over the globe (except for the translation).

Robert Indiana – LOVE

Robert Indiana – Ahava (אהבה “love” in Hebrew)

Rage against the machine (Album cover) – Renegades.

Robert Indiana – “Love” stamp

 

“Some people like to paint trees. I like to paint love. I find it more meaningful than painting trees.” – Robert Indiana

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Undoing a Building.

By undoing a building … [I] open a a state of enclosure which has been preconditioned not only by physical necessity but by the industry that proliferates suburban and urban boxes as a pretext for ensuring a passive, isolated consumer. – Gordon Matta-Clark

Gordon Matta-Clark ; Splitting (1974)

 

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Coast to Coast – Beaufort 04 (4)

Flo Kasearu – Coast to coast

Coast to coast is a installation project that consists of three containers that are converted into ships. They are lying in empty beach of Bredene, in Belgium. These three symbolic objects on the natural, apparently undisturbed coastline prompt thoughts of freight transport and the endless circulation of goods and people. But they also reflect the economic situation: the containers, lost objects, stand empty and useless on the beach.

Flo Kasearu – Coast to coast

Flo Kasearu – Coast to coast

Provocative, reflecting, lost and empty. Coast to Coast is a installation prjoect that consists of three containers, each container is shaped like and therefor converted into a ship. Again (as all sculptures, artworks in beaufort) they interact with the surrounding landscape and somehow feel ‘uncommon’. The three contatiners lying there on the coastline prompt thoughts of freight transport and the endless circulation of goods and people. Lying there totally empty and ‘useless’ they also represent a reflectation on the economic situation.

Flo Kasearu (who the work belongs to), an Estonian artist, well known for her video art (see below) and installations, mostly are placed wide against a specific social background. They concist not of merely criticism but demand for a certain change in society by confronting the ‘viewer’.

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Beaufort 04′ (3) (photobook 1)

Bernar Venet – 216.5° ARC X 21

Paolo Grassino – Analgesia

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The rise of Modern Iconoclasm.

Search & Destroy – Mekhitar Garabedian

Invading their personal space, tresspassing the natural habitat. Some people feel the urge to destroy or damage certain artworks, sculptures. Simply beacause they don’t belong in their environment. The modern iconoclasm is what they call it. Although I don’t seem to find the name being very appropriate is it’s connotation is much more severe then what is happening now. Especially compared to the destruction of religious artwork and the fear for idolatry (without mentioning the the destruction of the Buddhas in Afghanistan, but i’m not touching that one.

Let’s keep it nearby; In Ghent there’s a contemporary art exhibit in town. It exists of multiple sculptures, installations situated all over town. Therefor it’s not remarkeble that some of these became the victim of ‘modern iconoclasm’. (The same thing happened at Beaufort – see below). As you can see on the picture above, the letter is ‘R’ (Search & Destroy) is missing. The piece has been removed from the installation and thrown into the water. Why they did this, isn’t surely known. One thing is for sure; they took the message a bit too serious.

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Splashing waves; art & the sea. – Beaufort 04 (2)

Nick Ervinck – “Olnetop” – Bredene (BE)

“All art is but imitation of nature” –  Lucius Annaeus Seneca 

You can see it from miles away; 8 meters high, the sun reflecting on it’s smooth plaster surface, as it arises from behind the dunes. It seems to astonish everyone that passes by, as art should do. It’s almost alien shape refers to splashing waves. To me it resembles a lot more; it seems to reach for the sky, the sun. It’s bathing in the sun, it seems almost divine in a certain way. It’s mysterious, almost sublime (reference to nature and it’s powers enlarged, shown on a massive scale) maybe even dangerous?

In my opinion this is ‘the most astonishing’, ‘impressive’ and ‘beautiful?’ work I saw at Beaufort ’04.

Nick Ervinck is a belgian contemporary artist (Flanders) whose contribution to Beaufort 04 is an 8 meter high (yellow) sculpture/ installation. He searches for the interaction between virtual constructions and hand-made sculptures.

Nick Ervinck – “Olnetop” – Bredene (BE)

Nick Ervinck - Olnetop - Bredene (BE)

Nick Ervinck – Olnetop – Bredene (BE)

Nick Ervinck – Olnetop – Bredene (BE)

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Cities like open air Museums – Beaufort 04 (1)

“There are two types of sculptures: sculptures only being big qua size or sculptures having a real public function in the communal domain. I consider it my personal struggle to realize as many interesting public sculptures as possible. Cities like open-air museums, sounds like realizing my ultimate dream; a confrontation with the public surrounded by art every day.” – Arne Quinze (BE)

Arne Quinze – “Rock Strangers” – Ostend (BE) 

Arne Quinze is a Belgian concept-artist, (one of the few representing Belgium at Beaufort 04) who is well known for his (un)controversial public installations. And yes he loves big sculptures, he does! They’re big, red, “rock strangers”.

What happens when you invade the common habitat of a human being, how does he respond to the arrival of these ‘strange rocks’

This is the question the artist asked himself and the answer was rather clear…

A strange meeting that’s for sure, but isn’t visiting the coastline a strange meeting on it’s own? You have all these people that travel down to the coast to cluster on a rather small surface and blend in this unknown environment and when you finally do, you stumble upon these these ‘figures, rocks, entities, .. whatever/ however you want to describe them.

So I was really anxious to see this in real life, I had been reading about it ever since it got there in the first place. So when I finally got there I stumbled on some fences and a construction site (see picture below). Therefor it was impossible to wander among these rather strange, awkward entities, which I believe would be the perfect way to experience the feeling that the artist wanted to create. A bit of a disappointment to be honest. Nonetheless they were there and I did kind of saw them from a certain distance and already they amazed me.

Rock Strangers – Arne Quinze – Construction Site – Ostend (BE)

So although there was lot’s of commotion and criticism on the matter whether or not they belong there; most of the inhabitants were against the project. Mission accomplished for the artist I would say.

“A lot of cities around the globe look the same although they are located on different continents. You can still find identical buildings or the same streets. One can no longer detect any differences, people put up concrete walls around them. Building large-scaled installations makes people feel small as a human being. I hope that they start asking questions about what their function on this planet is. With my monumental sculptures I seek confrontation with my audience. I regard my work as a study about how I experience life and how people in general experience their lives.”  – Arne Quinze 

I’m really amazed how fast people feel endangered or uncomfortable and it makes you wonder who the strangers actually are; the objects or the people around them? But then again; imagine this happening..

Rock Strangers – Arne Quinze – Statue of Liberty – NYC (US)

Rock Strangers – Arne Quinze – Ostend (BE)

Rock Strangers – Arne Quinze – Ostend (BE)

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