David Gallagher: The Function of Objects, 2009, Talc Clay, Glaze, Found Objects
Martin Creed on My Modern Metropolis
Contemporary art doesn’t get much more fun than this! First created in 1998 with white balloons and then redone many times over, Half the Air in a Given Space is an interactive installation, by British artist Martin Creed, that’s comprised of hundreds or thousands of balloons of the same color. As the name suggests, half a room’s entire volume is filled with air-inflated balloons and then visitors are encouraged to walk through. “It is important to me,” says Creed, “that the situation is normal, that, as usual, the space is full of air; it’s just that half of it [is] inside the balloons.”
Meant to evoke a sense of celebration and remembrance of childhood, the installation is almost guaranteed to leave everyone with a smile on their face.
Last year, Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas was graced with 9,000 giant gold balloons that filled half of an eight-foot high gallery. To get a sense of what it feels like inside the room, Anna Merian of the Dallas Observer wrote, “People kept emerging from the balloons and startling each other — you’d feel totally alone and then suddenly, a face would come looming up out of the yellowness and you’d smile sheepishly at each other, then go back to flailing and squealing and butterfly-stroking your way through the balloons.”
In Chicago, Creed has installed four versions of this work in neighborhoods throughout the city, choosing a different color balloon for each site. The first two installations (Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago) can be experienced through October 2nd and October 15th at the Hyde Park Art Center and Garfield Park Conservatory. In addition, this fantastically fun installation is coming to The Cleveland Museum of Art from September 30 through November 25, 2012. (via)
More connections »
Ehren Tool: Production or Destruction / Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, USA
May 27 – September 9, 2012
Former Marine and ceramist Ehren Tool exhibits war awareness work at CAFAM.
Opening reception: Saturday, May 26, 6 – 9 pm.
“The best way to destroy your enemy is to make him your friend.” – Abraham Lincoln
Coinciding with Memorial Day, the Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) presents Ehren Tool: Production or Destruction, a solo exhibition of ceramist and former Marine, Ehren Tool. Emblazoned with the haunting imagery of armed conflict, Tool creates handmade ceramic cups as a medium to address war and the violent rhetoric and imagery used to perpetuate it. The exhibition will feature 1,000 handcrafted cups, video, installation, photographs, and printed materials.
Twenty years after his service in the first Gulf War, Tool’s firsthand contact with the reality of war is manifest in the thousands of cups he dutifully produces. The cups will be exhibited at CAFAM in “units” based on military formations of “squads” (13), “platoons” (55), and “companies” (225), serving as a visual reminder of each Marine within a military unit. Each cup is uniquely crafted, decorated with ceramic decals of soldiers’ photos, propaganda, war porn, and sculptural reliefs shaped like bombs, guns, or medals.
Recent events such as the Occupy movements and the incendiary language of current election campaigns figure strongly in his new work, as well as veteran suicides and stories of U.S. Marines desecrating bodies of the deceased. Other imagery alludes to the culpability of video games, toys, and pornography in desensitizing the public to the emotional toll of war.
Tool insists that his art is not anti-war, and prefers to characterize it as “war awareness” work. “It is not my intention to teach or preach. It is not possible to communicate the pain, waste, or intensity of war. My work deals with the uneasy collision, and collusion, between military and civilian cultures,” he says.
By putting people in contact with the imagery of war through an everyday household item, he hopes to make people think more often about war and it’s consequences in a meaningful way. “Letter to President Obama” (2009) is among the several letters he wrote to national and corporate heads urging them to consider the outcome of supporting continued war efforts. He also sent a cup to each of these leaders, which elicited responses from politicians such as Karl Rove.
Though the cups are functional drinking vessels, they are also memory objects that contain unspoken stories about fallen soldiers and wounded survivors. The installation “393” (2004) is a striking display of 393 shattered cups that represent the number of U.S. combat casualties during the first year of the second Gulf War. In the video “1.5 Second War Memorial,” a different cup is shot to pieces every 1.5 seconds, each signifying a soldier or civilian who has died in a war.
Tool will be on-site at CAFAM for an artist residency between June 1 and June 15, where he will set up a ceramic studio in the courtyard to encourage public conversations and share his work in progress. He will be giving away all the cups he makes at CAFAM.
David Claerbout. the time that remains / Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, London
May 30 – August 10, 2012
Preview: 30 May 2012, 6.30 – 9 pm.
On 30 May 2012, Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art will preview a solo exhibition dedicated to the filmic works of the Belgian artist David Claerbout. The exhibition features works spanning Claerbout’s practice from 2000 to the present. The time that remains will be the artist’s first solo exhibition in a London public gallery.
Claerbout situates his striking work between the complex worlds of digital photography and film, investigating this intermediate area in concise and thought-provoking installations. Claerbout’s films often depict everyday activities or events, which once digitally manipulated negate the linear passage of time. His work questions the viewer’s conventional ideas of time and narrative processes.
Filmed in a house designed by contemporary architect Rem Koolhaas and using the same episode shot at ten-minute intervals from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Bordeaux Piece, 2004, lasts nearly fourteen hours. Three actors repeat flat dialogue and use dramatic gestures. They seem to be the protagonists of the work, but as time goes by the narrative slowly collapses into the movement of the sun and the changing light of day. A different sense of time is created and the protagonist is now the natural world. This work contains Claerbout’s first use of dialogue.
The Algiers’ Sections of a Happy Moment, 2008, is set on a small soccer pitch on a roof of the Algiers casbah. Young men, surrounded by a group of elderly people, pause in their game as one of the players feeds a flock of eager seagulls. The succession of images in this ‘happy moment’ provides a reflection on what Claerbout terms ‘the suspicious gaze’. The artist uses the passage of time as a tool for moderating that suspicious gaze, and more generally as a means of reconsidering what we see.
Set within the rigorous architecture of Skywood House, near Denham in the UK, Sunrise, 2009, takes the viewer into near-total darkness. The film depicts a nocturnal scene inside the villa, where a maid goes about her usual routine while the inhabitants sleep. The camera follows her through the course of her work and finally films her as she cycles home along a country road under the rising sun, accompanied by an imposing piece of music by Rachmaninov.
Patricia Sannit: Citadel, 2011, 5’6”x11’x11’, found and reclaimed clays, slip and stain
Patricia Sannit: Citadel - close up, 2011, found and reclaimed clays, slip and stain
“The basic elements in my work are the materials: clay and glaze. I enjoy engaging in expressive ceramic experiments that test the boundaries of material and form.
I often take my point of departure in nature’s principles and regularities of form. This results in strange inscrutable sculptural growths and large wild and amorphous nature abstractions that may be both lush and melancholic with an expression of beauty in both growth and decay.” Bente Skjøttgaard
“Bente Skjøttgaard is a ceramist: she was born in 1961. In much the same manner as a runner or an existential philosopher, she is cultivating her material, which is clay overcoated with an application of glaze. She is a master of her field and she is “inside” the clay in the sense that she is challenging herself each and every time she creates a new work. The glazed pieces are constantly becoming larger and more voluminous, with interiors consisting of complicated constructions, as is the case inside a person or an animal, a prehistoric creature or another biological phenomenon. And the beauty cannot be mistaken. It is a kind of primeval nature, but accordingly a nature that is created both from within and from without, in the course of a protracted reciprocal interplay.” Excerpt from “Elements in white”, a text By Erik Steffensen - Professor at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen.
Ruth Power: Cephalophilia (installation), 2011, 100cm wide x 100cm long x 40 cm high.
Ruth Power: Masks (Cephalophilia), 2011, porcelain, wooden box with black paint and flocked interior.