I wrote something a few days ago about Santiago Sierra’s 396 Women. The House of the People. Bucharest, Romania. October of 2005, which I saw in July 2011 at the Contemporary Art Center in Málaga, Spain, and, as I often do, I went off on Google afterwards looking up photo assemblages of different kinds, in particular that species where a scene is composed through various details observed at different moments; where photography becomes a conduit akin to writing, the artist’s and viewer’s gaze dwelling on particular details as they move through a landscape.
Here are some of my favorite examples, courtesy of the artist Matthew Chase-Daniel. Notice how in Panamint Valley, California his gaze runs back and forth. Wonderful! Just as precious are the others, where the focus is calibrated within a smaller range, but with just enough difference from shot to shot to suggest the presence of the artist adjusting his presence to that of the fields of vision he’s in.
To see more photo assemblages by Chase-Daniel and his explorations in other media, visit his Web site.
I’ve been thinking about Louise Bourgeois these days, about the ways in which she suggests mental and emotional strength in Maman (1999).
She came up with the idea of giant spiders in the late nineties. She did Maman in 1999. Maman is a weaver, organic, and female (holding her eggs under her belly) , and yet she is large and menacing, and her legs crush the earth like the mechanical, inorganic limbs of a robot. It is the ultimate portrayal of fear and vulnerability and mixing of categories: male-female, organic-inorganic, doing-destroying-mending. Bourgeois talked of how spiders restore their webs if they are damaged and how she, the artist, felt ‘caught in a web of fear.’ She was, in fact, both a creature caught in a spider’s web of fear, and the spider which vanquishes this fear by mending its vulnerable cobweb.
Older lovers of contemporary art know eighty-one-year-old Christo and his wife and art partner Jean-Claude, who passed away in 2009, aged seventy-four, for their Wrapped Reichstag in Berlin (1995), his Running Fence in Sonoma and Marin counties, California (1973), and for The Gates in Central Park, New York (2005). Also for his Surrounded Miami Islands (1983) and The Pont Neuf Wrapped (1984), among other works.
And now tens of thousands of newcomers to the magic of their art will remember them for their Floating Piers on Lake Iseo, Italy, which were opened to the public between June 17 and July 3 this year. I wish I could have been there, walking on that shimmery orange walkway, lying down to feel the motion of the water underneath those polyethylene cubes, and marveling at the beauty of it all.
Here are some photos from Flickr, under the Creative Commons license. Enjoy!
If I had a little girl, I’d buy her dolls that are also graphic art, the kind Alexandru Ariciu makes. I love it when artists working in ceramics are also accomplished graphic artists, for they make something which is aesthetically and haptically pleasing, quirky and fun, and inviting to reverie, all at once.
Here’s Alexandru Ariciu at Elite Art Gallery in Bucharest.