Posts Tagged ‘sculpture’

The World’s Largest Underwater Gallery

In art|BOOK on December 13, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Jason deCaires Taylor, a British sculptor has designed the largest underwater gallery to date.

The ancient-looking figures in the picture (see left) are only some of the 400 life-size statues that will be laid on the bed of the Mexican Caribbean, off Isla Mujeres.

Jason, 35 hopes to create an artificial reef that will eventually attract algae and develop the aesthetic quality of the figures further.  His highly commended sculpture park aims to explore the relationship between modern art and the environment.  There is a need to preserve and protect our natural environments and this is certainly what is being promoted by this internationally recognised gallery.

Not Your Average Shower: Spotlight on Ryan Johnson

In art|BOOK on December 3, 2009 at 6:24 pm

The Hoerengracht: National Gallery

In art|BOOK on November 18, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Ed and Nancy Kienholz’s installation, The Hoerengracht, brings Amsterdam’s Red Light District to Sunley Room at London’s National Gallery.

The installation represents the district’s notorious “whore’s canal” and is not a particularly attractive sight.  Dutch alleyways are filled with plain-faced female life-size figures posing in  Brothel windows.

Taking 5 years to complete, The Hoerengracht is a dark and compelling piece that reveals the realities of prostitution as it was in the 1980’s. Nancy Kienholz described the work as a catalyst which “opened up discussion” about the issue of selling sex in the Western World.  She claims that, “it’s certainly something that is there in every major city in the western world,” and that, “any taxi driver in any city can tell you where it is.”

It is very rare for the National Gallery to display such a contemporary installation.  However, the curator Colin Wiggins describes the method in this madness.  The Hoerengracht can cast a significant light on the other works present at London’s prestigous gallery.  Many of the works displayed (dated from the 17th century) reflect on prostitution, but most of them look “safe and pretty”.  Godfried Schiecken’s A Man Offering Gold shows a woman sitting on a bed while being given money by a man as Cupid overlooks them.  The purpose of The Hoerengracht is to force upon the spectator a three dimensional representation of the 1980’s Red Light District, provocative and dominated by the sex industry.

The Hoerengracht installation can be  seen from 18 Nov 2009 – 21 Feb 2010 at the Sunley Room, National Gallery.

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Turner Prize Entry: Lucy Skaer

In art|BOOK on November 12, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Black Alphabet (2008)

Lucy Skaer, nominated for her solo exhibition at the Fruitmarket Gallery and A Boat Used as a Vessel at the Kunsthalle Basel, provides the spectator with an array of challenges to the eye. Using photographic sources, Lucy aims to transform a simple picture from one state to another, testing the perception of 2D and 3D boundaries in her artwork. 

Skaer’s concept of image translation can definitely be identified in Thames and Hudson (2009), an installation that is reflective of an art-book publisher and/or two cities with their two rivers. The image of a wooden chair projects from one piece to another from a physical wooden chair to a calligraphy style print that is almost reminiscent of an algebraic equation.  Skaer covered parts of the chair in black ink and produced the 2D print, which appears behind the chair in the centre of the installation. There seems to be a recurring theme in the works of this artist of removing an image from its context.  By looking at both 2D and 3D parts, there becomes a constant comparison between different forms, which is ultimately a test to the viewing experience.   Skaer believes that translation between pieces results in a “graphic return to the real world”

By slowing down the understanding of these contributions, the works become reduced to the art of looking itself.  Leviathan and Edge (2009), a partial sperm whale skeleton, definitely proves this point.  The installation can only be seen through vertical breaks in two false walls and there is a distinction between details and the whole.  The spectator takes more time to consider the piece and therefore more detail is discovered at an immediate viewpoint.

Black Alphabet (2008) appears as a flock of coal dust sculptures that feature as a repetition of Brancusi’s Bird in Space (1923).  Skaer produces the sculpture 26 times, the total of times that Brancusi produced the work. Dependent on angle, the piece reveals a medley of different letter-looking shapes. It could be said that this piece holds significance on the basis that Bird in Space (1923) acted as the foundation of a lawsuit which challenged what constitutes art.  As Skaer aims to challenge the perspective of the viewer, implementing images into different forms, this would certainly have influenced her decision to create Black.

Skaer can be commended on her transformation of simple images into ambiguous artwork.   Her works lie somewhere in between reality and imagination, delaying comprehension and directing the audience to differentiate between mental and physical landscapes.