Category Archives: art installations

barbara kruger :: past / present / future


BK 2

BK 3


Fragments of Barbara Kruger’s installation Past/present/future from the exhibition Taking Place at The Temporary Stedelijk museum in Amsterdam.

Barbara Kruger’s work with pictures and words addresses mass culture’s representations of power, identity and sexuality. As she has stated, “I work with pictures and words because they have the ability to determine who we are, what we want to be and what we become.” The range of Kruger’s works is broad—from photographic prints on paper and vinyl to videos, room-size installations, public commissions, printed matter, and a variety of merchandise. Using the language of direct address and words like “you,” “me,” “we,” and “they,” her works reach out into the social space of the spectator. In this installation, designed especially for the building’s largest gallery known as the Hall of Honor, Kruger wraps the floor and walls with printed texts that “speak” directly and loudly to the spectator in a chorus of voices. Her provocative, emotionally charged statements about how people regard and treat each other disrupt the decorum of a traditional museum space. Bringing the world into her work and her work into the world, she confronts stereotypes and clichés, shattering them with a rigorous critique, a generous empathy and a sharp wit. (edit from the Temporary Stedelijk museum’s website).

Felice Varini :: perspective-localized paintings

Felice Varini is the master of anamorphosis style of painting. He applies geometric shapes to architectural spaces in perspective-localized manner, an image appears in its true shape only when viewed from a very specific spot. These are extracts from Gil Dekel’s interview with Felice Varini, where he explains his artistic point of view.

G.D.: You do not paint on canvas but rather on architectural and urban landscapes such as buildings, walls, streets. Your works have only one view-point, or a vantage-point, from which the viewer can see the complete painting, which is usually a simple geometric form (a circle, square, triangle). From other view points the viewer will see ‘broken’ fragmented shapes. Why do you use this simple geometric shapes, as well as basic colors?
F.V.: If you draw a circle on a flat canvas it will always look the same. The drawn circle will retain the flatness of the canvas. This kind of working is very limiting to me, so I project a circle onto spaces, onto walls or mountain sides, and then the circle’s shape is altered naturally because the ‘canvas’ is not flat. A mountain side has curves that affect the circle, and change the circle’s geometry. So, I do not need to portray complicated forms in my paintings. I can just use the simplicity of forms, because the reality out there distorts forms in any case, and creates variations on its own accord. The same goes for colors. Usually I use one color only, and the space takes care of altering the color’s hue. For example, if I use one type of red color on a mountain side, the result is many kinds of red, depending on the mountain’s surface and the light conditions. Sunlight will affect the different areas on the surface and the same red color may become stronger or darker or clearer in certain areas, depending on how the sun rays hit the surface. The sky can be bright or dark. And if the surface has its own color or a few colours then that will affect the red that I apply on it. So, I do not need to use sophisticated colors. The reality exists with its own qualities, shapes, colours and light conditions. What I do is simply add another shape and color in response to that.

G.D. : Are your paintings meant to be permanent in the space where they were created?
F.V. : Once I make a work it can be removed and remade in a different place, as long as certain guidance is followed. I do not make an object and move it, but I move the concept, and can remake it in the new space, in the same way that there is a written play and a theatre company can stage it in a few different ‘environmental theatres’.

G.D. : Did you ever consider to construct or create the space itself?
F.V. : No, because I am not an architect. I am a painter, and painting is my main concern. I do not intend to create the reality or manipulate it. The reality is complex enough. Every day you can discover something new around you. It is an ongoing surprise looking at old churches, sub-stations, houses. There are many types of architecture around the world, with new relations and new perspectives created all the time, and once I choose a space I start a new thinking process with it.

G.D. : You work directly on space but you do not define yourself as an installation artist.
F.V. : I am a painter. I consider the reality itself to be the installation and I work on that installation with paint. The reality is an installation work which belongs to all of us and I am working with it or sometimes against it, in order to reach for new forms, new lights and new colors.

G.D. : How would you describe your relation with the space that you paint?
F.V. : With my paintings I am trying to discover more things that we cannot normally see. The vantage point of the works is really very fragile. It is a mechanical point of view in a way, it does not encompass reality. In reality our eyes move all the time, and we cannot see with our eyes like the camera does, taking snapshots. We cannot retain a freeze frame with our eyes, so it is difficult for anyone to stand at the exact vantage point of my paintings. For me, the work is outside the vantage point, where reality allows for all shapes to live. I find it very limiting to paint on a canvas which is closed within a frame of four sides. There is no relation to reality there. When I experience reality outside I do not know where it starts and where it ends. It is open, just like my work.

For more info:

Kilian Rüthemann :: architectural interventions/sculptures

‘Architectural spaces and the appearance of building materials are the two poles between which Kilian Rüthemann develops his sculptural interventions. His point of departure is usually a concrete place whose tectonic shell provides him with the occasion to reshape it. Rüthemann works with simple substances, such as plaster, sugar or bitumen, often changing their aggregate state in the course of the creative process. Plaster is mixed with water, sugar melted with heat and then broken up when it has cooled. This gives rise to works that testify to their own mutability and transience, that occasionally embed themselves in the existing architecture, but sometimes also thwart it. By handling these simple materials in different ways, Rüthemann repeatedly tests their formal and sculptural potential. He avails himself of their variableness to reorganise space and surprise the visitors with new formations.’ Stefanie Böttcher

antony gormley :: breathing room 3

Breathing Room III is a giant installation of connected cubic ‘space frames’, that not accidentally resemble the computer matrix landscape from the ’80s sci-fi film Tron. The installation exists of 15 interconnecting photo-luminescent rectangular frames. Every ten minutes the room is filled for 10 seconds with an intense burst of light to ‘re-energize’ the photo-luminescent frames, that give the viewer an intensive experience of the sculptured space.

Antony Gormley: “Homo sapiens is spending more and more of his time seated, looking at a computer monitor, interpreting the world and relating to it entirely in terms of meta-language. We spend more time relating to the material world through the digital culture we have surrounded ourselves with, than we do directly with the elemental world. These are all evocations of us now: you may not like them, you may resist them, you may feel this is just ugly, clumsy stuff and that it doesn’t touch you, but I am trying to find the objective correlative of us now and for me, this is it. (…) We are minds enclosed in bodies and our bodies are enclosed in architecture. The reconciliation of mind with artificial environment is exactly what this whole installation is about.”

carsten nicolai :: syn chron

photography ©sato sugar

Carsten Nicolai’s installation Syn chron is a symbiosis of light, sound and architecture. A large 14m wide and 4m high polyhedron is designed by analyzing the crystal, it is covered with a semi-transparent material, that has a special honeycomb structure to permeate through image projections. On the surface are fixed many small speakers, while particle-like images (on six white-laser projectors) synchronize and change with abstract electronic sounds programmed by Carsten Nicolai in collaboration with Nibo. Visitors could freely experience this work’s resonance while moving about inside and outside the installation. The impression of the space is constantly generated in the process of visual and acoustical perceptive symbiosis.

Carsten Nicolai: concept, composition
Finn Geipel & Giulia Andi, LIN: architecture
Werner Sobek: supporting structure
David Letellier: artistic and architectural assistance
JENOPTIK AG: laser sources
LaserAnimation SOLLINGER GmbH: laser technology, programming
ELAC Electroacustic GmbH: audio technology
Nibo: sound programming
Rob Feigel: technical production
Carsten Koppe, Knut Kruppa: production team

Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam and Theo Watson :: Augmented Sand Sculpture

Introduction of the new Dutch Filmmuseum’s building. Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam teamed up with acclaimed video artist Theo Watson and created a unique interactive sand sculpture replica of the new building, due to open in 2011.

Sculpture : The Sandfactory
Art director : Thijs Biersteker
Copy writer: Karian Weijers
Sound design : Theo Watson

Cerith Wyn Evans :: installations with neon messages

After studying at Saint Martin’s School of Art and the Royal College of Art, Cerith Wyn Evans worked as an assistant to Derek Jarman in his early experimental film work in the 1980s. In the 1990s he began to work with sculptures and installations by using words in neon light that refer to history, philosophy and literature. The light brings out the poetry of the words, giving them the chance to truly stand out, they become etched on our minds.

In Girum Imus Nocte et Consumimur Igni, installation (2006)

'… in which something happens all over again for the very first time', installation (2006)

'Coloured Chinese lanterns', installation (2007)

“Coloured Chinese lanterns were lit in direct competition with the moonlight. Candles were placed in niches, neon tubes screwed to wooden sticks, so that distinct zones of shadows emerged. Everything had been intentionally, yet carelessly, kept in the dark. Thoughts are swimming in these thousand light-moods, the night lasting longer today. Brutal patterns are appearing and cellars flooding. In a house of god, kilometre-long corridors have been built. When you enter such corridors that consist entirely of hard-reflecting stone, you get drunk from the echoes. Inside another house, everything meets your expectation. You are being shown around to admire. Suddenly you find a letter from your mother. She begs you to sacrifice yourself for your country. With it you will be left completely alone. There is fog everywhere thanks to the fog-machines which had been set up.”

Cerith Wyn Evans visited Japan in August 2010 for the opening of the inaugural Aichi Triennale, for which his neon text piece 299 792 458 m/s (2004/10) beams a cryptic, cosmic message from the rooftop of an office building in downtown Nagoya. ART iT did an interview with the artist about the relationship with language and his work.

ART iT: You are known for frequently citing literary texts in your works, transforming them into Morse code in the case of your ongoing series of programmed Chandeliers or using fragments of text as the basis for neon signs, for example. Thinking about your works in relation to the context of literature, do you consider them to be a form of translation?

CWE: That’s a hugely loaded question for me. Yes, I do – in the sense that I’ve been investigating theories of translation for as long as I can remember. English is not my first language, Welsh is. To that extent, the entire balance of meaning is predicated for me on the process of translation. Not only is it a kind of mediating force between two separate languages, the very prefix “trans,” as “otherness,” is absolutely central considering that I have worked with many codes and forms of languages and sublanguages. If a translation is to be understood as a slave to the master text, then it has to be sensitive in a way that is deeply creative. My favorite theoretician of translation is Martin Prinzhorn, a former pupil of Noam Chomsky’s and now a structural linguistics expert at the University of Vienna, he wrote a short text about my work in relation to theories of translation when I did a solo exhibition at Kunsthaus Graz in 2007. We spent many days together talking about it, arguing about it, trying to articulate what that relation is. The question of the future of translation is very interesting to me because language is a constantly evolving source of communication between people. I’m not a cynic or a pessimist in this respect, but I do think that forms of communication have changed irrevocably in the past 20 years. We are constantly mediated thorough information technologies that have changed the fundamental structure of what it is to communicate and to speak to another person.

ART iT: It seems that before the age of communication technology as it’s understood now, the issue with translation was mostly the idea of the translator as traitor – “traduttore, traditore” – and the impossibility of a true translation. Would you say that the traitor now is the very media of communication?

CWE: I think I know the territory that you’re speaking around. Most people want to be loved, and a very tender form of accurate communication is to ask these very sensitive, very subjective questions. “Do you love me?” is a huge question. Now, as far as I’m concerned, that’s bound up with very primal forms of communication. Because you actually have to vocalize and enter into the space of language in order to be able to speak, how do you translate that? There are many forms of non-spoken language that are also language. I don’t mean just music, dance, architecture. There are many ways to actually communicate without using written or spoken language. There’s intimacy for instance. That’s language too. The mediamatic has existed since language has been written. I think Gutenberg is a mediation that is an absolute ur-betrayal, if you like. The historical development of religious texts is what put a space between communication and the medium that was possible to employ. I don’t want to feel cynical and depressed about the fact that there is less availability. I’m an enormous fan of all sorts of people who are deeply cynical like Guy Debord. I’m a great admirer of the script for his film In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni (1978), and have referenced it many times. I think it’s an extraordinary, brilliant and super passionate text, which borrows Latin paradigm ‘we go round in circles and get consumed by the night’. But I think there are points at which we should remain optimistic about the moment of communication that can, for instance, communicate compassion. I’m not so technical in and around language. I’m actually very emotional in and around it. Can you imagine not being able to speak? There is a great architectural theorist, Mark Cousins, who works at the Architectural Association in London. In the mid-1990s he described an exhibition of mine as being so perplexing that it was like the experience of a deaf man staring at the radio. I took that as a compliment, not because I want to be willfully obscure, but because I want to engage in the territory where radical, new forms of communication are possible. Marcel Duchamp says that you are not looking at the object, the object is looking at you.

'Visibleinvisible', installation (2006)