When Nature invades the Museum

Olafur Eliasson looks into optics by revealing the trick and displays the devices that generate a light-related effect

Olafur Eliasson, Limbo lamp © 2005 Olafur Eliasson

A very shallow enquiry on the origins of the museum takes us back to the 17th century, when the Wunderkamern gathered in small cabinets rich collections of oddities from nature and artifacts from remote places in the world. Nature is hence closely linked to the birth of the museum institution and the characteristic display of the specimens in shelves that prevailed from the 18th century up to quite recently.

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Zhang Huan & Bill Culbert Sculptures in Sydney

Zhang Huan Buddha Sydney

Sydney Buddha, 2014. Zhang Huan. Carriageworks. Photo: Paula Llull

One of my favorite art spaces in Sydney is Carriageworks. It is situated in the old railway workshop complex in Eveleigh, not too far from Redfern station. This imposing example of industrial architecture from the late 1800s, with its immense rooms, chipped off walls and impressive iron pillars, is a very appropriate setting for big art installations, the same as Cockatoo Island in Sydney’s harbor. Carriageworks is a good example of how the reuse of old industrial premises for artistic and cultural activities implies the regeneration of the public space and improves its accessibility. The collaboration with the main cultural events that take place in Sydney achieves the integrative goal, engaging audiences to this part of the city. Continue reading

Dani Marti | Revealing Intimacy

'shadow after shadow (portrait of the artist's mother at the age of 73)',  2007, Detail. Polyester, nylon, knitting yarn and stainless steel ball chain. 230x 355 x 5 cm. Courtesy of the artist and MCA Sydney. Image by Jeremy North.

‘shadow after shadow (portrait of the artist’s mother at the age of 73)’, 2007, Detail. Polyester, nylon, knitting yarn and stainless steel ball chain. 230x 355 x 5 cm. Courtesy of the artist and MCA Sydney. Image by Jeremy North.

The day I visited Dani Marti’s studio in Hunter Valley to interview him and get to know his tridimensional work I would never imagine that our conversation would rise such delicate subjects as sexuality, HIV, and the complexity of approaching intimacy with artistic purposes. Now, while I am writing this post and listen again to the recording I can’t help smiling when I hear myself stammering in surprise facing the spontaneity in which Dani talks about his encounters with friends and strangers. He proposes to them to record their most intimate situations and, it is worth mentioning, most of them accept. In his words and in his body of work you get a big deal of the esteem and curiosity he feels when portraying the deepest intimacy of other people. Continue reading

Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2014

Lucy Humphrey Sculpture

Lucy Humphrey, “Horizon”, Sculpture by the Sea Bondi 2013. Photo: Clyde Yee

Sculpture by the Sea is one of the most popular art events in Australia and an institution in the Sydney art calendar. It takes place this year from 23 October to 9 November bringing together more than 100 sculptures by artists from 16 countries. The spectacular coastal walk on the ocean between Bondi and Tamarama beaches East of Sydney is an incredibly attractive scenery for the hundreds of thousands of visitors who attend the outdoor exhibition every year. Continue reading

From the city to the necropolis (and back)

13 Bodies Salzburg Sculpture

Willi Dorner, “Bodies in Urban Spaces”, associated event/project – Art & About Sydney

I came to live in Sydney in September, a few days after my arrival the popular arts festival Art & About started. Held every year with the arrival of spring, it consists on a series of artistic events in various public spaces that invite us to be around town. I remember being impressed by the quality of interventions and awareness of its the City of Sydney, to offer a series of actions whose prerequisite is their close connection to the city and its people, who day after day take part actively in the various activities that build up in the CBD and neighbouring districts. Continue reading

The Politics of the Garden

Theatrum Botanicum Sculpture

Lothar Baumgarten, Theatrum Botanicum, 1995: View of the building (and garden), Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, 2013. © Jean Nouvel / Adagp, Paris. Photo : © Luc Boegly

Since ages, in all cultures of the world, the design and care of the grounds has been established as a form of art like any other. There is no better example to illustrate the dominion of man over nature from an artistic perspective. However, it is worth noting that since the emergence of conceptual art in the Western art scene of the 60s gardening has crossed the border that separated it from the sphere of visual arts. Interest in growing plants, as happened with many other non-mainstream art practice actions, joined the concept “art is life” and has since undergone an interesting evolution in its approach. Continue reading