Category Archives: Installation

Nicole Dextras: where fashion and environment meet


Canadian Nicole Dextras is an environmental artist whose work stems out of her reflections on consumerism and its detrimental effects on nature. For part of her rich and varied artworks (from sculpture to installations, all realized with ephemeral materials) she uses fashion as a way of looking at and meditation about the human relationship with the natural world. Her series Iceshifts and Weedrobes give beautiful visual shape to her ideas.

pharos-white Continue reading


Paper and other media: Kristi Malakoff

As an artistic medium, paper is doing very well. Canadian Kristi Malakoff stands out among the artists that have chosen it, thanks to the versatility of her skills. IMG_3272-filteredIMG_3331-filtered Continue reading

The Playhouses of Our Grandparents – Nicholas Henry

The Playhouses of Our Grandparents by Nicholas Henry is more than the photographic project consisting of 400 portraits gathered in the book with the same title. It is an extraordinary life experience, which the artist undertook a few years ago and which led him in 40 countries. nicolashenry0012

Reminiscent of his childhood, when his grandparents thought him the link between a playhouse and the importance of storytelling, Henry embarked in a journey that has been not only geographical but also existential. In fact, in each country he visited, he invited people to freely create a theatrical playhouse, while sharing stories with the community. ‘Inside everyone of us, lies the youthful spirit of a child, who revels in creating, with everyday items around him, a world invented entirely by his imagination’ Henry declares in the preface of the book.  nicolashenry0028

Every time, in South Africa as much as in Chile, in Japan as much as in Chile and everywhere else, the simple photo-shoot had evolved into a theatre thanks to the storytelling activities of the members of the community. nicolashenry0014Poemsnicolashenry0016nicolashenry0011

From the Aboriginal in Australia, trying to preserve the legacy of their ancient knowledge to the power of literature discovered by a Japanese woman after the Second World War, passing through the holy harmony that Jordan desert can teach you, Nicholas Henry expresses the sense of the project in these words: ‘The Playhouse gradually became a vehicle for freedom of speech, a setting where memories, revelations and the joy of sharing reigned’Growingnicolashenry0026nicolashenry0023

Art is often analyzed either through the intention of the artist or through the reactions it triggers in the viewer, the best case scenario being the two coincide. But The Playhouses of Our Grandparents defies this binary logic. In fact, if we – as viewer – are captured by the ethos of this journey, the portraits also activate our own personal imagination and invite us to listen to our own stories, the ones that this universe of colours, tools, places and faces can evoke. nicolashenry0021

To know more about Nicholas Henry‘s The Playhouses of Our Grandparents please see here and visit all the pages of the website. You can buy the book here.

Images courtesy of Nicholas Henry

Monica Canilao: an irrepressible urge to create

At first sight the installations created by Californian Monica Canilao can make you think of inhabited rooms, where the walls are covered in wallpaper and drapes and weird objects accumulate on pieces of furniture. The space results packed with a modern form of horror vacui and someone may diagnose its virtual occupant with hoarder disorder. Monica.Canilao. installationMade with scavenged materials and found objects, the apparently chaotic installations by Monica Canilao occupy entire rooms, creating originally lively environments out of old discarded items. In a way, Canilao is a hoarder: she incessantly gathers discarded materials and objects. These are the still alive remnants of previous uses and lives that speak to the artist’s inspiration. Monica Canilao, embroidered pieceMonica Canilao, panelMonica Canilao, installationIt is difficult to classify Canilao‘s artistic practice. She does not have a medium of choice: everything at hand can serve her creative energies. She off-handedly switches from drawing, printing and stitching to building; from small works to massive installations. The big spaces she creates are densely furnished and decorated up to the smallest corner. They look naturally chaotic and for this same reason lively, warm and intimate. Monica Canilao, installationMonica Canilao, detailMonica Canilao, installationCraft plays a priceless role in Canilao‘s art. In fact, it is only through mastering her crafts that she is able to rescue discarded materials, giving them a completely new purpose. Monica Canilao at workMonica Canilao, crocheted pieceMonica Canilao, outdoor installationCanilao‘s inspiration is nourished by the old and neglected objects that once surrounded a life, from old photographs to decorative objects. These items emanate a strong, evocative power which activates the imagination. Even some old tea-bags release a poetic energy in her work. Monica Canilao, tea bagsMonica Canilao, panelMonica Canilao, wallWe live in an era of mass production and disposability: we easily discard still-functioning objects in the name of the latest ones. Canilao‘s art is a reaction to this trend. She demonstrates that the old is a carrier of the new, provided that we actively and imaginatively engage with it. Monica Canilao, front houseFor more of Monica Canilao‘s art visit her website here and her blog here.

(This post is a revision of a feature written for Frameweb).

Autumn, time of Leaves

Last year, roughly at this time, I collected some of the beautiful leaves that literally cover my path back home. Surely, I had in mind to create something with them, which I never did at the end. Luckily, and certainly with a million time better results that I could have gained, some artists don’t give up and create inspiring pieces out of this beautiful medium…

(suggested soundtrack: November by Azure Ray, here)


A land artist, Walter Mason has created a series of works and installations inspired by the seasons. Here some from his Fall intervention in and with nature:mmason
For more of Walter Mason exciting pieces of land art visit his Flickr page here. (via My Modern Metropolis)


Rachel Sokal practices an alternative form of photography. The works are chlorophyll prints, with no photoshop involved. Sokal places a photo printed onto clear acetate on top of a leaf. The acetate image creates a protective filter while time and sunlight make the rest: 

Rachel Sokal works with many forms of photography. Check her website here.


Illustrator Mehdi Moeeni has created lovely images of animals, shaped with leaves. They are so simple and yet so unique: 

(via Design Swan)

Let me introduce its Frogness…

‘Most toads can swim if they’re forced to, but unlike frogs, they rarely enter water. Since the world is two-thirds water, where would you say the limitations lie: with the frogs or the toads? Frogs are smooth and sleek and moist; toads are rough and dry and warty’ (Tom Robbins, Half asleep in Frog Pajamas)

(a street-art frog via Street Art Utopia(an illustration by David McLimans via Animalarium(sculpture made of metal scraps in Oakland, Ca. Via Vallejo Independent Bulletin(Illustration by Charley Harper, 1961. Via Unruly(From the series New World Transparent Specimens by Iori Tomita. Via Felkx(recycled frog by Andrew Mockett. Via Kickan and Conkers(My tiled street art insertion that someone stole for me…)

I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
They’d banish — you know!

How dreary to be somebody!
How public like a frog
To tell one’s name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

(Emily Dickinson)

(There is a pair of us – don’t tell! Via Smashing core(3D street painting, via 3D Street Art(Illustration from Leaves by Mehdi Mo’eeni, via Animalarium(Stencil street art frog, via Migraciòn Total)

(Kiss that Frog by Peter Gabriel)

And my frogness stamped on my skin: (my one and only cherished tattoo)

Illuminated: Ball of Light by Denis Smith

Ball of Light is an amazing project: not only it leaves you in awe but it also bears witness of Denis Smith‘s path towards a more humanly enlightened way of living: 

First, a little ‘Notice to Mariners’: there is not Photoshop involved in the realization of these images. They are taken in a single very long exposure and subject only to minor adjustments in saturation and brightness.

Denis Smith approached photography around three years ago, when he moved from New Zealand to Australia, a choice dictated by the need for a big change in lifestyle. Photography has since then allowed Smith to experience the majesty of the natural environment surrounding him. But landscape photography didn’t seem to convey the feeling of awe and humble contemplation he felt. So, he decided to experiment with ‘light painting‘, a process that involves very long exposures (preferably in dark conditions, better when the moon is full) for capturing the otherwise invisible tracks produced by waving lights. Each ball of light is drawn by Smith through creating circles with colourful LED lights while pivoting on his heels.

Each ball of light is like an entity made of vibrant energy that Smith encountered through his journey towards a renewed and more deeply human relationship with nature. It takes him a lot of passion and commitment to perfection every detail, the execution is time consuming, but the project Ball of Light also revealed to him the precious value of spending some time alone, in the rich silence of the night.

Denis Smith has turned his photographic skills into a way of materializing all the magic – at times mystical – energies that inhabit life and surround us. Brightly coloured and ethereal at once, these creatures of life excite daydreaming and project us in a sort of suspended dimension. Or, as Smith describes them, they are portals through which each of us can enter into contact with his or her own imagination.

Ball of Light is an ongoing project of discovery. Denis Smith is traveling around the world in search of the next encounter with a supernatural ball…

All images © Denis Smith Photography.
Find more about Ball of Light here.
Denis Smith Facebook page.
Denis Smith Flickr page.

Colors of The Wind by René & Radka – The unbearable lightness of being

(…after a two weeks rest in my homeland, Sardinia)

Soundtrack for this image: If I Were A Fish by Múm (you can listen to it here)

If I were a fish and you were a seashell
Would you marry me anyway?
Would you have my babies?

If I were a fish
If I were a fish

If I were a bumblebee and you were a puddle
Would I drown in you anyway?
In your soggy eyeballs?

If I were a fish
If I were a fish

If I were a fish
And you were a puddle
If I were a fish

The series Colors Of The Wind by photographic duo René & Radka is my visual remedy for re-entering the hustle and bustle of my London life while keeping with me the healing effect that sea, sun and a lighter way of living have on me.

Although set on a beach, Colors of The Wind is inspired by air and wind rather than by water. The colourful creatures inhabiting these pictures are flying kites. Jellyfishes, octopuses, teddy bears, alligators, mushrooms etc. resemble little playful and free spirits floating in the sky with gentle movements, as if underwater.

 René and Radka are professional fashion photographers, but in this personal project they have created a delicate and poetic universe, where the playful is all but childish (just like Múm’s lullaby), where the sky and the sea offer the open space to become wiser…if it’s true that “people do not get ‘heavy’ with wisdom. They get light. The wiser you become, the lighter you become” (Tom Robbins, Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas). 

For more images visit René and Radka website.


Flora Metamorphicae – harmony between art and nature

The collaborative project Flora Metamorphicae reinterprets the traditional use of decorative ceramics and flower motives, creating incredibly beautiful installations that harmonically integrate within both nature and exhibiting spaces. The original idea for Flora Metamorphicae dates back to 2003, when a group of professional ceramists based in Bergen (Norway) were looking together at a catalogue of historical ceramic’s pieces. Inspired by their elegant and elaborate beauty, they decided to give new artistic life and an original ethos to the creation and use of ceramics. Since 2006, Flora Metamorphicae is a group of six women (Kari Aasen, Lippa Dalèn, Siri Haaskjold, Bjørg Hougen, Audhild Rypdal and Eli Veim). Each of them keeps working individually, but in this project they join forces and creative imagination in the name of a commune sense of beauty. There is just one imperative for the creation of the flowers: they must be handmade and no more than two hands big. In the years the variety of flowers – naturalistic or imaginative ones – has increased, mirroring the surprisingly incessant offer of colours and shapes of nature.These amazing installations appeal for their immediate vibrant beauty. But their meaning goes beyond being decorative and it is revealed through their ever changing aspect, when they are installed within the open environment. In the tradition of land art, they assume a deeper power in their co-existence with nature, in their response to it. When installed in water locations (like lakes, ponds but also dams) they astonishingly react to lights, reflections and the ebb and flows, offering a show that is never the same. Submerged and shining with reflections at times, blossoming out of water when the tides retire, these pieces of art harmonically enter into dialogue with the environment,  blurring the separation line between nature and artifact.But the work by Flora Metamorphicae has a joyful life also in the close of gallery spaces, where it re-asserts its status as art. The flowers are thickly assembled on floors, drawing elegant patterns or simply invading the space. In this second life, they bring with them the traces (grains of sand and similar) that they inherited from their life in the open.

With their collaborative production, Flora Metamorphicae seem to bring alive the idea that individuality and collective cohesion are not opposite forces, just like natural and manufactured can enter into harmonic conversation. All images courtesy of Flora Metamorphicae.

Flora Metamorphicae website.

Wire sculptures by Benedetta Mori Ubaldini

Italy-iconVisiting an exhibition of Benedetta Mori Ubaldini should resemble entering a playroom where the decorations on the walls have become alive and occupy the space.

Continue reading