Daniel Arsham

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Daniel Arsham is a multi-disciplinary contemporary artist who alternates between design, film, sculpture and photography.

The above image highlights Arsham’s  signature concept of ‘fictional archaeology’ which sees devices such as boom boxes or cameras decayed with geological material, creating an eery and somewhat alien impression.

His newest venture is Film the Future, a production company which produces immersive short films and advertisements for the likes of Usher and Calvin Klein.  The fourth instalment of his Future Relic short film can be seen here.

 

 

Station to Station: A 30 Day Happenning

The Barbican is currently holding a “living exhibition” of numerous multi-media events spread over a 30 day period.  It is a fascinating project which builds on Doug Aitken’s 2013 venture Station to Station and really does offer something for everyone.

I started my visit off with Light Echoes by Aaron Koblin and Ben Tricklebank, an immersive installation of laser beams and atmospheric music, which encourages the spectator to move in time with the light.  I then sampled the delights of cactus omelette based on Ed Ruscha’s recipe whilst watching his bizarrely entertaining short film, Premium. After wandering around the gallery space, I sat down to witness Abraham Brody’s Soul Alchemy II. Brody, a classically trained violinist, encouraged interaction between members of the public and performed very emotive music whilst looking into the eyes  of any willing participant.  It was incredibly moving.

Station to Station: A 30 Day Happening – 27 June 2015 – 26 July 2015 

Image: still from Light Echoes

Carsten Höller

It’s not every day you get to enter an exhibition through a dark tunnel or exit via a swirling slide, but that is just what’s on offer at Carsten Holler’s latest exhibition, Decision.

The exhibition immerses the audience in an experiential environment in which they are invited to interact with the displays and in some respects decide on their own experience within the gallery. It is a great critique on what contemporary art is and can be, yet I couldn’t help but think it was more of a gimmick to draw in the London crowds. Needless to say, it was still a fun way to spend the afternoon! Some highlights for me included Pill Clock which drops a capsule every 3 seconds to mark the passing of time and is intended to be consumed by the visitor, and the seemingly misplaced installation called Fara Fara which features the music scene in the Democratic Republic of Congo!

Frank Stella

The Annenberg Courtyard in central London is currently graced with “Inflated Star and Wooden Star” (2014), a captivating sculpture by the renowned American artist, Frank Stella. It’s lovely to see people stumble upon it on their way down Piccadilly, how they are drawn towards its beauty and venture into the courtyard to take a closer and often prolonged look.  A perfect showcase for the benefits of art in the public domain.

Ursus Wehrli

For anyone who loves tidying things away in its “right place” or arranging food, books, socks, etc, according to colour and size, Ursus Wehrli’s art might bring you some satisfaction.

Wehrli is a Swiss comedian and artist who re-assembles famous works of art and re-orders contemporary scenes to make them more “efficient”, “economical” and “tidy”. Although done in good humour, he still manages to create some eye-catching and attractive designs.

His artistic orderliness doesn’t, however, spread into his everyday surroundings.

“Comedians take a neat situation and turn it into a mess […] and in my books I do the same thing, but it’s the other way around. I like to mess around with mess. A mess is only a mess because someone tells you it is.”

Randi & Katrine

“We are very interested in architecture, not as a function, but as a mental space […] a space with room for dreams and projections but also simultaneously an image of those dreams and projections.”

Copenhagen-based artist duo, Randi & Katrine, combine their shared interest in architecture, common place objects and narration to create insightful installations.

Their exhibition, The House in Your Head studies the dual role of the home as a living space and an image.

As well as being a framework of life, the house encapsulates life itself, storing dreams, memories, joy, sorrow… Gaston Bachelard examined this concept in The Poetics of Space, stating that ‘home’ is a manifestation of the soul and location in which personal experience is at its greatest. This theory underpins Randi & Katrine’s exhibition. The house is a living object that continually evokes new sensations within ourselves, and arouses old ones, based on the way in which we utilise its living space.

It is interesting that we can can often decipher faces on buildings (typing ‘faces on buildings’ into a search engine provides a good indication of the variety out there). Perhaps this happens because we subconsciously, or even consciously, project our personal knowledge of the home as a capsule of emotion and experience onto the facade.

The home is not simply a place of shelter, it is a personal space which has a life of its own. In my opinion, The House in Your Head captures this concept with beauty and quirkiness.

 Image via Randi Og Katrine

Elmgreen & Dragset

Social Mobility

I love the clean and simplistic sculptures of Elmgreen & Dragset.  It seems perfect for this time of year as the overindulgent Christmas season comes to an end and fresh starts are said to begin.

Even more appealing is the social and political content of their creations. They evoke more than refined aestheticism, presenting instead a critique of contemporary society.

Nothing said this more than The Welfare Show (2005), in which the viewer was encouraged to question the social and economic imbalances prevalent in the world.

Social Mobility is my favourite piece of this collection.  The broken and missing steps leading up to a closed door presents a bleak portrayal of social and economic advancement. The status quo of Western society is challenged in this is exhibit but it highlights the difficulty in overturning existing state power structures.