Design collective Numen/For Use was incepted in 1998 as a way for its members — industrial designers Sven Jonke, Christoph Katzler and Nikola Radeljković — to push the boundaries of architecture, design and conceptual art. They’ve collaborated on everything from furniture design to elaborate installations that invite the viewers to break the norms of how they ordinarily interact with space. Rarely do we see adults take off their shoes to bounce and play, but Numen invites their audiences to do just that. Their latest piece, String in Vienna is an inflatable, bounce house-like structure with an elaborate grid of cords that allow viewers (more aptly, participants) to defy gravity. Their other recent works include a levitating cave made out of clear tape in Tokyo and another inflatable structure with hammock-like netting hung strategically for optimal bouncing in Yokohama, Japan.
Sarah A. Smith has a particular set of drawings that merit notice for their expressive qualities. Her subject is the natural world. The compositions are dynamic and fluid, coiled in mid-strike. If you didn’t know they were drawings, you might think they were dioramas. Subject matter includes eagles and wolves, trees and shrubs. Sometimes there’s a drawing of an eagle, sometimes there’s one of a wolf. Sometimes the two are locked in combat though, as in Eagle Vs. Wolf, you can only see the wolf responding to the eagle overhead. The work is dynamic. The shapes are sharp and angular. They look like lightning bolts. If you could rub the head of the eagle or the wolf, you’d feel its coarse texture. Likewise with the bark of the trees: rub it and you’d get splinters. The scenes offer voyeuristic views of the natural world in its rawest element. It’s a perilous, zero sum world. Its narrow color palette suggests bleakness.
Uninspired by the lack of public art in their home town of Aalborg, a mid-sized Danish city, Lars Bonde and Mads Mulvad curated We AArt, the first art festival focused exclusively on murals in Denmark. The fest brought out many diverse talents from different corners of Europe. In our first update, you’ll find a large-scale mural by Aryz, who is known for expressing his illustrative style on monumental walls. Also hailing from Spain, Kenor created an abstract wall alive with neon colors and Escif painted a mural with neatly compartmentalized depictions of people and objects that evoke’s a traveler’s sketchbook. Stay tuned for more murals from Interesni Kazki, Alexis Diaz, Don John and Jaz, whose walls are still in progress as we speak.
Currently on view at Gauntlet Gallery in San Francisco is “Au9usto” — as the title suggests, a playful group show featuring nine artists with a penchant for experimentation. There’s the dark surrealism of Wednesday Kirwan, a fully-functional guillotine sculpture by Sam Lamott and heavily tattooed vintage celebrity portraits by Cheyenne Randall. Bennett Slater offers an irreverent take on neo-Classicism, Justin Hopkins distorts perspectives and Rebecca Adams takes us into a Richter-esque time warp. Take a look at some of the works in the show and catch the exhibition on view through September 20.
A couple of weeks ago, Pejac shared a simple window drawing on his Facebook profile, as a tribute to legendary French high-wire walker, Philippe Petit. The drawing was done using acrylic on a window glass to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Petit’s walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. This simple idea, captured on camera by his friend Silvia Guinovart Pujol, shows the riskiness and fragility of the art of tightrope and is a great example of the Spanish artist’s style: simple, minimalist yet effective.
There’s a certain feeling that is triggered when the familiar is distorted and brought into the realm of the unfamiliar. The idea of the uncanny is exactly what Hungarian artist Naomi Devil is aiming to trigger with her latest series of oil paintings. Devil takes the subjects of classic painting and re-arranges them. Removed from their comfortable surroundings, the subjects find themselves among sleek amorphous blobs that billow behind and around them. The blobs almost threaten to absorb the subjects, who are given futuristic laser swords, body piercings and other anachronistic details that bring them further out of sync with their time periods. The end result resembles something from dystopian science fiction.