Great Visual Arts from Around the World.

A Field of Dried Grass Is Suspended from the Ceiling in ‘French Exit’ by Artist Tadao Cern


Art

#death
#grass
#installation

February 26, 2021
Grace Ebert

“French Exit,” (2020-2021). All images © Tadao Cern, shared with permission
In Tadao Cern’s sweeping installation “French Exit,” a cloud of feathery grasses looms over the room. The immersive artwork juxtaposes the ephemeral, dried material with the viewers who stand underneath as it creates a soothing and introspective space to consider the notions of farewells, whether it be the close of a party or more profound experiences, like the end of a relationship or death.
Cern tells Colossal that the title refers to the colloquialism about leaving a social gathering without saying goodbye. “This is something that I usually do because as an introvert, I can not bear with the attention that you get once you say that you have to go. A ping pong game starts of, ‘I have to go,’ and ‘please don’t go,’” says the Lithuania-based artist (previously) says.

Emitting a soft glow, the long-stemmed grasses connect to both the organic nature of the life cycle and the human desire to situate ourselves within a broader context, particularly when confronted by aging and death. Cern writes:
I tried to focus more on the aspect of what we would be missing the most during the last seconds of leaving this place.. My guess (is that) it would be something banal, like fields of wheat during the sunset… Banality is a result of such a strong love and affection with something/somebody that you even get sick of it. And hanging everything on the ceiling creates an illusion of floating for the viewer as if you are being taken to the sky.
Cern finished initial sketches for the installation—which also includes CGI elements and a massive arrow pointing downward—just before the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Months later, he was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, coincidental timing that altered his understandings of death and how we collectively say goodbye. “Once the pandemic is over, hopefully, we’ll have a chance to contemplate our farewells in reality. If there is such a thing,” he says.
Purchase prints of the artist’s meditative projects on Patreon, and follow his latest installations on Instagram and Behance. (via Ignant)

#death
#grass
#installation

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, help support our interview series, gain access to partner discounts, and much more. Join now!

 
Share this story
 

Sheets of Frosted Glass Obscure Floral Bouquets in a Photographic Series About Ambiguity


Photography

#flowers
#glass

February 26, 2021
Grace Ebert

All images © Studio Lernert & Sander
Exuding elegance and obscurity, Foggy Flowers is a two-photograph series by Sander Plug and Lernert Engelberts that centers on our collective outlook for the future through a blur of frosted glass. The duo, who work under Studio Lernert & Sander, unearthed the delicate shots from their archive—the images were taken in 2018 during a week-long period when they worked continuously on various projects—in May 2020 for Volkskrant Magazine, which asked them to epitomize their creative process during lockdown.
They didn’t want “to jump on the ‘look how very creative we are during this lockdown’ train,” Plug says, and despite their anachronistic context, the two-year-old series fit the studio’s perspective. “When I look back, I see that the blurry and fuzzy flowers are about ambiguity,” he writes. “It symbolizes the way we looked to the future then and how everyone sees the future now. There’s no point in worrying because no one can say how things will turn out now.”
Based in Amsterdam, Plug and Engelberts have been collaborating for about a decade, creating a variety of commercial photography and film projects. A few limited-edition C-prints of the blurred bouquets are still available on their site, and head to Instagram to explore more of their work that ranges from documentaries to animal portraiture to installations filled with cubed cheese. (via Iain Claridge)

#flowers
#glass

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, help support our interview series, gain access to partner discounts, and much more. Join now!

 
Share this story
 

Rich Gradients Flow Through a Luxe Set of Chocolate Bars with Matching Packaging


Design
Food

#chocolate
#gradients
#packaging

February 25, 2021
Grace Ebert

All images via Little MOTHERHOUSE
Whether subtly shifting from lemon balm to mint or more dramatically from chestnut to beet-soaked maroon, Little MOTHERHOUSE’s sweets are infused with elegant gradients that permeate both bar and packaging. The white-chocolate treats are produced from cocoa beans grown on a farm in Sulawesi, Indonesia, and then dyed naturally with fruits, teas, and other edibles. Their luxe aesthetic dovetails with equally sumptuous flavors, including black pepper yuzu, matcha raspberry, and cassis brandy, all of which coincide with one of Japan’s four seasons. Pick up a single bar, or more realistically try all 12, by heading to the designer’s shop. (via Present & Correct)

Matcha x Raspberry
Black Pepper x Yuzu

Blueberry x Ginger

#chocolate
#gradients
#packaging

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, help support our interview series, gain access to partner discounts, and much more. Join now!

 
Share this story
 

Algae Sequins Embellish a Petroleum-Free Dress Designed by Phillip Lim and Charlotte McCurdy


Design

#algae
#clothing
#fashion
#sequins
#sustainability

February 25, 2021
Grace Ebert

All images © One x One, shared with permission
“Sequins are synonymous with plastic waste,” says renowned designer Phillip Lim about an endeavor to combat the egregious amount of pollution generated each year by the fashion industry. He’s part of the 2020 cohort for One X One—a Slow Factory Foundation initiative that matches scientists and designers with an eye toward regenerative technologies, equitable production, and circular economy models—in which he collaborated with Charlotte McCurdy, a researcher who’s undertaken a variety of sustainable-fashion projects. Together, they created a luxe A-line dress covered in algae sequins that’s free from petroleum and other synthetic materials.
In their partnership, the duo drew on McCurdy’s process of pulling carbon from the atmospheric reservoir and binding the organic substance together with heat, a method she used previously to create a water-resistant raincoat made from marine micro-algae. The bioplastic then is poured into custom molds and emerges in sheets that the pair cut into long, arced sequins. Because the algae-derived substance wasn’t suitable for the dress form, Lim and McCurdy sourced a mesh base from PYRATEX, a Madrid-based brand specializing in a seaweed-and-bamboo fiber called SeaCell that’s both an antiperspirant and thermoregulating.

Algae sequins in sheets
Speckled near the neckline with mother of pearl, the resulting dress is covered in the translucent green fringe, a color McCurdy derived organically from minerals. “The majority of our modern dyes and pigments are petrochemical in origin,” she told Dezeen. “But we had a huge, rich vocabulary of color before the Industrial Revolution that was not taking fossil fuel out of the ground, so I looked into traditional approaches to producing oil paints, which involved mineral pigments.”
Lim and McCurdy’s design isn’t for sale commercially but rather serves as a prototype for garment production in the future. For similar initiatives, check out the two other projects generated by the 2020 cohort, which include leather sneakers grown from bacteria and an apprenticeship in sustainable fashion for women from low-income and immigrant communities, on One X One’s site.

Sheets of the algae-based substance in molds

#algae
#clothing
#fashion
#sequins
#sustainability

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, help support our interview series, gain access to partner discounts, and much more. Join now!

 
Share this story
 

A Serendipitous Shot Frames a Meteor Soaring Over Russia’s Klyuchevskaya Sopka as It Erupts


Photography

#meteors
#Russia
#volcanoes

February 25, 2021
Grace Ebert

Image © Daniel Kordan, shared with permission
In a single, fortuitous photograph, Daniel Kordan proves his astute eye as he documents two of nature’s rarely seen phenomena: the brilliant trail of a meteor streaking through the sky and Klyuchevskaya Sopka as it spews a mass of glowing lava. Striking and similarly explosive, the pair even reflect in the small body of water in the foreground.
Raised near Moscow, the now-itinerant photographer took the unexpected shot while leading a 2016 workshop at the Kamchatka Peninsula, which sits at the northeast corner of Russia facing the Pacific Ocean. The group was in the area hoping to capture the dramatic eruptions from Klyuchevskaya Sopka, which is the tallest active volcano in Eurasia—records show it’s been live since 1697—and the highest in the region scaling 15,580 feet. “We stayed with my group at camp close to a small pond,” Kordan says. “We caught reflections of volcanoes, and accidentally, I also caught a shooting star during a long exposure (of) 25 seconds.”
Kordan is known for his stunning landscape and outdoor photography, including shots of the jagged icicles on Lake Baikal, Namibia’s rippled sand dunes, and Lofoten, a fairytale-like town in Norway, to name a few. Follow his travels on Instagram, and pick up a print in his shop. (via PetaPixel)

#meteors
#Russia
#volcanoes

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, help support our interview series, gain access to partner discounts, and much more. Join now!

 
Share this story
 

Phone Home from London’s Original Red Phone Booth

They’re bright red kryptonite for tourists who can rarely resist a photo opportunity with London’s iconic phone booth, but few take their admiration further to find out just how they came about. The first London telephone boxes, or kiosks, were known as K1s. Introduced by the UK’s Post Office in 1921, they were considered to be pretty disagreeable eyesores by the general public at the time, voicing notable objection to their installation across the city.The first ever phone box in London in 1924So in 1923 the public was called upon to create their own design for the kiosks, but still, they were unsatisfied with the results. A second competition was organised by the Royal Fine Art Commission, this time narrowing the search down to submissions from established architects only, which gave us the telephone box as we know it today. The winning design was drawn up by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott who was inspired by a mausoleum he admired in St Pancras Old Church Gardens, designed by none other than Sir John Soane in memory of his departed wife Eliza.
John Soane’s design for his wife’s tomb John Soane’s design for his wife’s tomb
The 19th century stone tomb, which can still be visited today, has an unmistakable likeness to the modern phone booth’s shape. The first K2 boxes were installed in 1924, and one of them still stands, in working condition no less, just a few feet from Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s original timber prototype, now a listed landmark.
Less than 10,000 red telephone kiosks remain on Britain’s streets today and only about 30,000 calls a day are now made from them. Many of them were sadly melted down in the 1970s and 80s, but in recent years, their iconic status and historic value has been finally been recognised. British Telecom allowed local councils, organisations and charities to rescue and repurpose disused phone boxes into something useful for the community under the adopt-a-kiosk scheme.

A phone booth cafe in Hampstead, London / Andrew Testa for The New York Times
More than 5,000 have been adopted and converted into all kinds of novel uses, from miniature libraries, tiny art galleries and iPhone repair shops to takeaway cafes and even “the world’s smallest nightclub”. Enterprising traders can apply to rent a kiosk for their small business from the Red Kiosk Company at around £300 a month.
The phone booth cemetery at Unicorn Restorations / Andrew Testa for The New York Times
Individual buyers have also been snapping them up from approved restorers like X2Connect and Unicorn Restorations. The telephone “cemetery” of rusting kiosks outside Tony Inglis’ workshop is a curious site.
The phone booth cemetery at Unicorn Restorations / Andrew Testa for The New York Times
Clients hail as far as Australia, where they might end up as a garden folly. In Florida and Dubai, you can find them in shopping malls. A fully restored booth will set you back around £2,750 and on rare occasion you might find one in need of some TLC on eBay in the range of £2,000.
But if you’re not in the market for your own kiosk, here’s a challenge – go find the hidden relics of British telecommunication and phone home from London’s first iconic red phone booth. You’ll find the kiosks tucked away to the right of the entrance to the Royal Academy of Arts at Burlington House. The only question is: who would you call?