Cai Guo-Qiang and Yves Klein

art, sculpture, versus — daniel @ 4:52 pm

Its been a while, noun and this marks then end of the most recent radio silence!

There has been a lot of talk about Cai Guo-Qiang thanks to his incredible retrospective at the Guggenheim in NYC.  I was fortunate enough to see it in person, buy information pills and truly it is difficult to describe the awe of being in the presence of such drammatic and powerful work.  Take a look and you’ll see what I mean. 

Please read WMMNA’s post about it. Loads of good stuff can be found on the artist’s site and wikipedia.

My other guest artist today is Yves Klein.  I recall seeing a retrospective of his genius work at the Centre Pompidou in September 2006. I was struck by the scope of this man’s short by incredibly prolific career. That and the fact that regardless of whether he held a flamethrower or a paintbrush, his hair was perfectly manicured, his shirt tucked in and contained by his very smart waistcoat -- and then there’s the bow-tie…

He is perhaps best known for developing International Klein Blue and the paintings he created with it. However, I would rather like to focus on his fire paintings and sculptures

For further reading/viewing: A guide to his lifes work in french and english. And of course -- Wikipedia and flickr!

Both artists have a love affair with spectacle. Their work is the product of live performances -- where they are simultaneously directors, producers and actors. Their final works are captured not by the lens of a camera -- but rather burnt into the canvas. By using fire to produce their work, they create juxtapositions between its destructive power and the gentle poetry of the images; between the exposed naked bodies and the intensity of the flame; and between the animation of the elemental force, and the resulting stilled results of flames on canvas.

The artists act as catalysts transmuting the flickering energy into one-off containments of its beauty. They are separated by time, but joined in methodologies, media, and an obsession with the act of creation -- through an element most often associated with destruction.

Cai Guo-Qiang’s work:

Some ‘making of’ videos of his Gunpowder drawings, and Explosion Events:

And a few more images:

Yves Klein’s work:
Some great video’s of Yves Klein doing his thing:

And a few more images:



art, installation, interactive, london, sculpture, versus, web — daniel @ 4:26 pm

Happy New Year everyone! I decided to send out the first Art Dispatch for 2008 just before the end of January. So today I would like to introduce you to three artworks/artists with something very obvious in common: Troika, more about David Rokeby and Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar.

Troika recently released information about their new Cloud installation for Heathrow’s Terminal 5. It is really quite magical to see. They designed Cloud to be an organic surface which is populated with a dense skin of the same mechanisms that were used in old school airport signage systems. The result is a dynamic surface of shifting reflections. A truly beautiful work. The sound and movement is reminiscent of Danny Rozin’s mirrors. All photo’s from their site. Check out their fantastic productions photo’s here. More images on flickr.




David Rokeby’s Cloud is an installation in which the spaces between each element are as relevant as the elements themselves. The resulting experience is more atmospheric – out of the movements of the reflective surfaces emerges moments of cohesion followed by moments of chaos. Photos from the artists site. More photos on flickr.



We Feel Fine by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar, eczema is a web application that harvests emotions posted on blogs around the world. It is both a gallery of the unexpected and a research tool creating snapshots of the global blogging nation’s current emotional state. One of the visual manifestations of the project reminded me of the constantly changing shifts in reflections and light that can be seen in the other two projects. Images from the site. Please go to the site and launch the applet for more.



Troika’s work uses software to control each pixel discretely. They have total control and rely on the software to animate the surface of their Cloud. Rokeby’s piece relies on the serendipity of reflection, movement and light to generate its atmospherics. WeFeelFine is similar to Rokeby’s piece in that it is a system that does what it was told to, and results in connections and moments of cohesion that may not be expected. Using the web of emotions being broadcast around the world as fuel to keep the molecules dancing.

William Kentridge and Blu

art — daniel @ 11:55 am

Allow me to introduce you to two artists. Each on totally different sides of the artistic spectrum, this but both are incredibly talented and exceptionally prolific.  William Kentridge – one of the most important contemporary South African artists – creates haunting images and movies dealing with the difficult issues of guilt and shared histories in a country whose recent past has plenty of this sort of material.  His animated movies use a stop motion process of erasing and redrawing with charcoal and pastel on the same sheet of paper.  Blu is an Italian street / graffiti artist who uses the walls in any environment as his canvas.  He paints massive tablaeus across walls, medicine draws still images in his notebook and animates in a similar way to Kentridge – but using walls as his canvas.  The traces left on Kentridge’s work as he animates can be thought of as scars on the landscape – Blu’s method literally leaves remnants of images across the physical landscape.  An important aspect of Blu’s work is the way he distributes it.  Considering he uses public space as his gallery, recipe it neatly follows that he uploads everything to his site / blog for public consumption.  Both artists’ work offer worlds of inspiration.

Photos of Kentridge’s work from the smithsonian institute , wikipedia and artthrob.
Kentridge on Wikipedia ; Kentridge on FlickrKentridge on youTube




Photos of Blu’s work from  his blog.
Blu’s videos on vimeo ; Blu’s website ; flickr images of Blu’s work ; Blu’s blog




Susan Collis

art, london, sculpture — Tags: , , , , — daniel @ 6:18 am

Her work is so unassumingly spectacular. She takes typically mundane elements in our everyday environment and in a very quiet way reveals how exceptional they are. I first saw her work at the Seventeen gallery, prostate London. They have a permanently installed piece of hers embedded in the floor.  It looks very much like paint that may have dripped from the ceiling. Upon closer inspection, sale it is revealed to be inlaid mother of pearl. That is the kind of double take that all of her work does to you. Its like a readymade met a new maker. Take a look at the below images  The rawl plugs are all made of jasper, nurse black onyx, red carnelian, garnet and brown goldstone.  “Made Good” – the screw in the wall is made of coral, black onyx, 18 carat white gold, a diamond in the center of the cross-hairs and silver.  Her work is being shown at the V&A for their Out of the Ordinary: Spectacular Craft show. Her work is well situated among a group of other exceptional artists.

All images are borrowed from the Seventeen Gallery’s website

Susan Collis on Wikipedia

Flickr photos of her work

Untitled (rawl plugs)

Made Good

Busy Doing Nothing

Better Days

Brian Dettmer and Georgia Russel

art — Tags: , , , , — daniel @ 5:26 pm

Today we have two people who use other peoples published creations as their canvases. Brian Dettmer produces his exceptional work by allowing the content within the books to suggest forms. The books themselves become sculptural objects and their content is revealed poetically by the artist. This reminds me of Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased De Kooning Drawing – the conceptual piece in which he did exactly what the title suggested… He bought and erased a De Kooning drawing. In the case of Dettmer and Russel (who you’ll see in a moment), adiposity they are not erasing the work of others, epidemic but rather extracting new layers of meaning and representation – previously unseen. All photos of Dettmer’s works from the Haydee Rovirosa Gallery

Georgia Russel has what seems to be a similar initial process in which she modifies a chosen printed source. These she slices up into delicate explosions of fine paper ribs. I prefer the modified flat images more than her books. All photos from the England and Co Gallery.

Antony Gormley & Walter Oltmann

[Apologies for the delay in writing an entry - its been rather manic lately, pilule with a quick trip to South Africa in between!]


Today we’ll meet two artists who I feel have similarities, more about but are far from the same.


The first: Antony Gormley is a hugely accomplished british sculptor who’s work demonstrates energies and transmutation. His recent show at the Hayward Gallery called Blind Light was just incredible to see. I included a youtube clip at the bottom of this post with a walk through of his show in the US. All photos are taken from the artists website.




The second: Walter Oltmann – one of my old Professors from WITS was having a show at the Goodman Gallery which I was lucky to see during my brief trip to South Africa last week. Great show! I found a number of parallels between Oltmann and Gormley’s work. The pieces on show consisted of wire sculptures and paintings with ink and bleach. I felt like they also dealt with transformation of some kind. There was a series of beetles and their corresponding beetle suit – as if they could be worn and a person could become the beetle. The suits are quite dapper and camp – something one might expect to be worn as a suit of armour by a gentleman. The woven wire Caterpillar Suit (pics below) was reminiscent of Gormley’s Capacitor, Ferment and Expansion (pics above). The one artist seems to make visible potential energy barely contained, while the other ignores that potential and demonstrates the equally important start and end of a transformation. All Oltmann’s photos from the Goodman Gallery’s website.





to see the video, click (more…)

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