Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Nina Canell

Nina Canell, "Temporary Encampment (Five Blue Solids)" (Detail), 2009. Showing in "The Inner Life of Things" at Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany

Powerful image! A suggestion of craft (the multiple plinths) and industry (the plinths look like wooden crates) with constructivist and modernist overlay in the lush abstraction and the whole thing's sort of idealistic glow.

Canell's work apparently "stems from a basic interest in the convertibility of materials and conditions". She "combines everyday items and found objects - objects shaped by everyday processes, features and nature and transformed into carriers of new information - into walk-in, spatial installations with visually, audibly and intellectually experienceable, process-oriented arrangements". (that's from "Projects in Art and Theory" space, Cologne).

Whew. Well, that may be translated from German, as she is Swedish, and based in Berlin. The installation materials are "Elektromagnetische Gerate, Gipsplatte, Plastik" .... hm. Figured it had to be some kind of magnetism keeping those balls in the air. Interesting avenue to explore!

The other work of hers that I found was less visually powerful, more minimalist conceptual. Sound works, boiling things, cement sacks and neon tubes seemingly draped over rods or branches. I kind of like the new look with the floating balls.

Here is another image from the show. Egill Saebjornsson, "Grey Still Life II", 2009.

Fascinating, but the site was only in German so couldn't really get the gist. Want to know if the diagonal is out of paint only, or if there's a board sticking out towards us. Either way - I like it. Reminds me of Dada mixed with foundation course work, but it hangs together and makes me curious.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fabulous news photo

This is a press photo, by Ana Marin, c/o Reuters. Popped up on ArtDaily Newsletter. Shows fireworks exploding round the Burj Dubai, the world's tallest tower, at its opening ceremony.

Fabulous photo! Great to see the rich darks and the intimate feeling given by the leaves attaching us to earth, while ahead there is this astounding fuzzy, ethereal pillar - like something from an undersea plankton documentary or a fiber optic fashion show - lighting up the sky above. What a moment, the old, the natural, and the new!

I'm not entirely convinced of the value of the tower, nor care that it is the tallest. I haven't dwelled on the philosophical ramifications of the whole event - it may not be tied to positive change in any way - but as a documentation of human ingenuity and the ongoing aspirations of humankind, the photo does a pretty good job. Well, maybe the fact that we are using fireworks for show instead of destruction is a step in the right direction. What of the fact that oil has created new cities and extravagant expansion out of nothing? Commerce and material underpin the origin of all our cities so this follows the pattern of centuries. It is however interesting to see one that zooms through its evolution quite so quickly and flamboyantly.