Tag Archives: Installation

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).

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.

Rob Mulholland – Tide Flow, Time Flow

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The new installation by Scottish Rob Mulholland conjures up imaginative universes, while  at the same time inducing a reflective space.

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Joana Vasconcelos’art: the perfect thin line between daintiness and kitsch

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When I came across the iron sculpture Miss Jasmine by Joana Vasconcelos, the way this artist transforms iron in a delicately filigreed tea pot reminded me of Cal Lane‘s work. But digging into Vasconcelos’ practice has revealed me an unexpectedly rich and explosive body of work that constantly escapes any definition.

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Paul Villinski, or how a beer can reincarnates into a butterfly

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Artist Paul Villinski has a delicate creativity, which leads him to transform discarded beer cans and other humble materials into poetic installations.

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Rune Guneriussen’s Dreamscapes

Norwegian artist Rune Guneriussen creates graciously incongruous dream-like universes, where lifeless everyday objects inhabit natural and apparently unaltered-by-man landscapes.

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The Tree Hugger Project

The Tree Hugger Project is an ongoing project aimed at raising awareness towards the vital importance of re-establighing a connection with nature.

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