The project Botanica was commissioned by Plart, an Italian foundation dedicated to scientific research and technological innovation in the recovery, restoration and conservation of works of art and design produced in plastic. Marco Petroni, curator of the project, commissioned the studio to create their own personal interpretation of polymeric materials.
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Volcanic glass, procured by remelting Etna’s rocks, has been mouth-blown into unique vessels or cast into box-like structures that purposefully allude to the illegal dwellings and assorted buildings that have developed at the foot of the volcano. Drawing on their own vocabulary, these solitary glass boxes and mysterious black buildings have been finished with such archetypal Formafantasma detailing as cotton ribbons and Murano glass plaques. By returning the rocks to their original molten state Formafantasma are reversing the natural timeline of the material and forcing a dialogue between the natural and manmade. A black, obsidian mirror that is suspended on a brass structure and balanced by Volcanic rocks continues this line of narrative, as the semi-precious glass like stone is produced only when molten lava is in contact with water.
In Leopard, Impala historical taxidermy was taken from the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium to be X-ray’d in a local hospital. The steel structures uncovered inside the scene of a leopard killing an impala are recreated in rare earth neon, mammoth ivory and natural rubber; reconstructing an imaginary choreography between two animal skins in materials of contemporary mining practices.
Using inexpensive, standard-sized fluorescent lamps, fixtures and wiring, Dan Flavin fills large rooms with tremendous energy. Some of the 50 objects and installations on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s current retrospective are unbearably intense, some are seductive, and some are antagonistic. Radical in conception and execution, the light pieces hover between sculpture and drawing. Indeed, in many cases Flavin thinks like a draftsman - its just that his lines are not marks, but three-dimensional shapes in space that radiate light and color; they exist only so long as his characteristic fluorescent lamps function and receive electric power. These lines are most effective when they have an entire space to command and can stake their claim to it by their reflections on the floor, walls and ceiling.
Niki de Saint-Phalle's "Nanas", women with generous shapes and bright colors, appeared in 1964. They are now emblematic of her work. Temperance, the fourteenth arcanum of the tarot, is a typical figure of the Tarot Garden that Niki de Saint-Phalle, after a visit to Gaudi's Jardin Guëll in Barcelona, began in 1979 in a village in Tuscany, Capalbio. Temperance shows a goddess woman, with buxom forms, who in her flight seems to pour water into her wine. The artist takes up here the iconography attributed to the symbolic figure of Temperance, whose character is the opposite of his. However, we must not be mistaken, the shimmering colors highlight the feminine attributes to better highlight and denounce the feminine condition.
In the ‘Healing’ series is a changing process of familiar furniture, weakness results in new meanings. Removal and addition of elements creates new functions. The leg of the Healing Chair has become a toy car. You can imagine a father reading in this chair, he stacks his books underneath his seat and transforms the leg into a toy for his child to play with.
Small things can become large in a different perspective. Far fetched connections between seemingly unrelated things can lead to an endlessly rich archive of new ideas and possibilities. While mulling over the function of dust, an idea sprung to mind. The grey, arbitrary particles of unknown matter that make up dust, equalize everything underneath it. Valuable objects disappear under the same layer as shoddy things.
To enhance the active engagement in the caring process towards objects, I created objects that are enmeshed in the notion of fragility through physical and psychological virtues that reflect temporality. The selection of the material for my final objects was done according to what I regard as being an common structural material in furniture industry; tubular steel. I manipulated the tubular steel by cutting it into small rings. Connecting the rings back together to form a semi covering layer over an existing object was a method of capturing the physical space the object occupied. The vanishing of the original objects is done with fire; a primordial force used as a method for recreating the original object. The object goes through a horrific physical transformation and a metaphysical bond between the object and memories is forged into existence.
Jing He examines Zuiderzee credits from the viewpoint if her Chinese heritage. Crafts, she discovers, often develop through cross-pollination with other culture and crafts. Her rocking-horse is made from an inverted cradle that was woven by the museum’s basket-weaver, Ineke van der Sommon. It incorporates Chinese and Dutch technique and shapes. Jing He’s design gets us thinking about the fusion of cultures, and about immigration, (social) boundaries and identity in our world today. The basket weaving crafts are seen as a metaphor to connect different meanings and materials.
Tim Vanlier is not a ceramist, but he did specialise in the making of Delftware, developing a new view on this old craft. The traditional objects have often the same language in blue, showing intricate artwork on quite standard forms. Tim threw the painstaking pottery rules overboard and experimented with new methods of shaping, painting and baking. What if you take a tiny detail from a 16th century plate and enlarge and abstract it? Or use waste water instead of the real paint to create a new colour gradient? And how can a sandblaster contribute to the special effects? The answers are found in this refreshing collection of seven porcelain vases, simply called BLAUW.
Sejoon Kim’s project stemmed from the question as to why he, as a Korean, appears to be more drawn to this style than the Europeans around him. This led him to study what ‘cuteness’ is. For Kim, the root of cuteness is not the so-called protective instinct, but lies in a social and cultural construct. Framed by a rigid hierarchy, its sociocultural context reveals a hidden desire for dominance and control.
A Taste of Childhood Children look at the world with an incredible sense of curiosity and wonder. Yet, this is the first to go when we grow up. With ‘The Lemonade Factory’, I aim to recreate those miraculous moments: inviting delight back into our daily existence one sip at a time. Inspired by the lemonade tree in the classic tales of Pippi Longstocking, The lemonade machine celebrates the fun of making lemonade in a practical and visual way. The device transforms the sour yellow fruit into delicious juice in minutes, right before your eyes. It’s like magic – the magic of childhood.
We already value the milk, meat, skin and tongue of a cow. But what about the intestines? Interested in making use of the unused, Kathrine Barbro Bendixen found a ”second life” for these unloved innards. “Inside Out” is a man-made lamp with an animal-made material and shape. It compromises 50m of cleaned, inflated intestines from a single cow. The twist is natural and shaped by the cow, as is the white mother-of-pearl sheen. Man-made LED tube lights inserted inside to give an x-ray looking glow and exaggerated the details of the intestines. As the air slowly escapes overtime, the lamp – like the cow produces it – will perish. The design is meant for sustainable restaurants; with their new dishes they may also have to introduce new lights.
They look cute and cuddly. But look again and you’ll see them for what they are: bombs, missiles and mortars. As toy guns are popular as ever, I thought it's time to make the next step with these toys of mass destruction. Although they are made from soft wool, the shape and size are for real. The biggest of them all is a stuffed replica of the nuke on Hiroshima, which ironically was nicknamed ‘Little Boy’. Could the contradiction be any more obvious? A short accompanying movie shows how politicians play with their bombs like boys with their toys. Isn’t it time to stop this madness?
The Tulip Pyramid is a 17th-century Dutch invention. However, its form, its motifs and its material imitate Chinese porcelain and pagoda. I began this project to continue the process of replicating and transforming which is the history of Tulip Pyramid. I wanted to explore the question of ‘creativity in copying’ and the question of identity. If a Tulip Pyramid were to be imitated in nowadays China - a country which is a mixture of common and private ownership, of collectivism and individualism, troubled by the issue of counterfeiting and appropriating intellectual property - what would result be? I invited five young Chinese designers from different design disciplines, to reflect the culture and the history of imitation and innovation. They each designed two layers of the pyramid. I claim ownership of the final product together with these five designers, to further explore the intellectual property of this object. I see myself as a Tulip Pyramid. My origins are in China and I’ve been transformed in the Netherlands. What does that make me? The education in the Netherlands gave me another perspective of design. I found a flexible area outside the practice of design for mass-production, using my personal experience to ask questions about mass-production in a design discourse. For a second pyramid, I imitated and mixed up famous Dutch designers’ iconic works with my former works, to question their influence and the institution that formed me. Graduation is the starting point of this long term project. I expect that in the future, this project will keep growing and develop into mass-production.