Monday, 30 April 2012

Flights of Fancy

I'm not admitting to reading all the other half's magazines and publications stacked around the house (and there's a fair few) but I do like a bit of Elle Decoration now and then.  Girly title, good content.  Anyway, this month's addition has alerted me to the 2012 Tatton Park Biennial 'Flights of Fancy', featuring twelve artists' responses to human flight.  Must take a trip down to Cheshire for this, on from May to September.

Images courtesy of Tatton Park

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

on top of the world

Images by Reio Avaste

Yet another inspiring outdoor public structure, this time by architect Tetsuo Kondo for last year's European Capital of Culture's festivites in Tallin.  The architect was invited to create this temporary installation, called A Path in the Forest.  Situated in the city's main park and made from steel pipe and sheet steel, this is what Kondo had to say about it.

Nature and structure treated as equals in an all-inclusive approach: we think of them not as in confrontation, not as part of each other. We are not building a structure in this environment but trying to renew it, to create an even more beautiful environment.

Shame that it was only there for a few months, I would have liked to have put Estonia on my 'short break' list for this year!  It reminds me a little of the aerial walkways in the glasshouses at Kew, there's something quite special about being so far off the ground and wandering around in the treetops.  A whole new spin on nature. 

Monday, 19 March 2012


Images courtesy of  Johannes Foerster

I've been thinking about Loom-Hyperbolic ever since I tweeted about it so time to expand on the blog with more images.  Installed in the ruins of the Mosque Koutoubia for the Higher Atlas exhibition 2012 you can see it in central Marrakesh until June 3rd.  Referencing traditional Moroccan weaving and looms and using local materials like hand-cut pine poles and yarn it was constructed using modern software programs, bringing old and new together in a stunning setting.  As with any public art installation you can walk through and among the 'tents' or view it from above so I imagine the connection to the site feels strong.  Having been to Marrakech it instantly reminds me of the dyers souk but it also seems other-worldly and remote.  Really good work and well done to Barkow Leibinger Architects.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Change the past in a hanging garden

It's Friday and time for a bit of escapism.  There I was, researching away for a domestic project and, without any warning, I came across this.  Now I do like a iron structure, am partial to a tension wire or two and love the rawness of an industrial cityscape.  Having now spent some time looking at his substantial body of work and reading his statements, Hector Zamora has shot straight to the  top of my favourite artists list.  Errant, installed in Sao Paulo in 2010 was curated by an architect and was part of a project in Brazilian cities to work with issues including environment, urban planning and social marginalisation.

Suspension is actually the key word to describe this piece, pointing both to its physical and metaphorical reality: the epiphany of another latent, phantasmagorical city, which seems to emerge and rise over the real city, suspending it.

In choosing this site to host the Margem Project in São Paulo we try a critical approach to this confluence of relationships. If on the one hand the urban space in Tamanduateí river banks was subject to desertification, we must admit that it is still a space of maximum vitality in the dynamic and exclusivist city turned into a metropolis.

Zamora’s errant landscape goes through social and environmental criticism, but does not present a remedy for the urban nightmare. Quite the opposite, it is a true tour de force, which may be seen both as a Garden of Eden in an unsuitable location and as a hybrid, mutating nature, immobilized in a spider web. 

Guilherme Wisnik (architect and curator of project)

Makes you think doesn't it?  It is all at once arresting, interesting, complicated but also, a bit sad.  Poor trees, removed from a natural environment and dangled in the air so far from earth and water in the metropolis.  Exactly what these enormous, monstrous cities are doing to our landscapes and exactly what we should be considering when we look at this, I suspect.  On the other hand the trees are fighting back, flying in from outer space, a green army of environmental warriors at the front line. Clever.

Images and text from the artist's website

Monday, 16 January 2012

One man's trash...

Have you ever been walking or driving around Edinburgh, seen a skip kerbside, glanced in (just in case there might be some unrecognised industrial treasure inside) and had a double-take moment when you realised that the contents are ordered, neat, even considered?  In fact, on closer inspection, sculptural.  If the answer is yes, then welcome to the world of Kevin Harman, slightly controversial artist (he smashed the window of the Collective Gallery with a scaffolding pole for a project) and skip-lover with a fine sense of humour.

These temporary sculptures have popped up all over town in the last two years and if you have been lucky enough to see one you will understand why I wanted to post about it.  Cool, funny and bold, he "roots out hidden beauty" in everyday detritus and gives it dynamism.  Have a look at the man in action in Stockbridge.

Skip 12,2011

Skip 11, 2011

Workmen leave Friday evening. I go to the skip, empty ALL the contents. Sketches are made of possible forms. Invite passers by to see finished work on Sunday 5pm. Put EVERYTHING back into the skip. I'm a composer conducting an orchestra of colours, tones and textures. The skip is my global gallery. I have a random audience. Every time I do it it exists differently. Workers faces on Monday?..Special!

Kevin Harman

And, yes, I do secretly hope that one day I'll be one of those workmen that find their skip 'Harman-ed' on Monday morning!

Images courtesy of the artist

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Stepping into 2012

A little late but it's time to welcome in 2012 and take a last look back at 2011.  And from all the places I visited and things I saw last year my favourite was right here in Edinburgh, thanks to Martin Creed and The Fruitmarket Gallery

The Scotman steps were transformed into 'Work No. 1059' as part of Creed's exhibition Down Over Up, completed a year after the exhibition opened.

Martin Creed, with his smart response to public space, his ability to engage with materials and their surroundings, and his understanding of the creative possibilities embedded in the act of going up and down steps, seemed an obvious choice for the commission. From the beginning, he considered the Steps as a thoroughfare, proposing to resurface them with different and contrasting marbles from all over the world, each
step and landing a different colour. The idea turns around a familiar material (though not one
normally associated with Edinburgh) used in a familiar way. It acts as a sampler, introducing 104 different marbles, putting the material as well as the visitor through its paces. Creed himself has described the work as a microcosm of the whole world – stepping on the different marble steps is like walking through the world.

Work No. 1059, though architecturally a complex piece of stone work and engineering
that took two years to plan and achieve, is an artwork that is made and remade every time a viewer walks up or down it.

The Fruitmarket Gallery, 2011
Hard landscaping at it's best and an art installation (future landmark?) to boot.  Brilliant.  I loved it.

Images courtesy of The List and David Nice

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

When I saw this topiary garden on I thought Salvador Dali had been resurrected and was living in Costa Rica.  The landscape designer Evangelisto Blanco has been clipping these magical hedges in his own garden in the mountains for over 50 years now, a lifetime's commitment to this difficult form of gardening.  I have a personal preference for strong architectural forms in the garden and this magical landscape takes clipped box and privet balls or cones to a whole new level.  Blanco also hangs hand written signs in the space with messages like 'perservere and you shall succeed' and 'no one is better than another'.  I agree with his sentiments entirely.  I was planning a trip to New York next year but now I've seen this... ticket to Costa Rica please!

Images by Jamie Royer, Brian Costales and Matt Griess via Flickr