Frank Kunert takes photography and sculpture to a new scale, literally. His miniscule models can be described as puzzling and witty, as well as strikingly creative.
This German artist focuses on the fabrication of art as a visual paradox to his audience. Using a variety of industrial grade materials and paints, he sets to work for weeks on end, creating a three dimensional diorama for his pictures.
Kunert’s appreciation for the beauty in the strange stretches far beyond normal photography. He aligns his subjects with a little twist that makes it a deviance to normal reality. Art for him is in both the creation and the capture of beautiful oddities.
He carves, saws and creates a world with details that are almost flawless in comparison to reality, and yet his pieces speak of an inversion that tugs at logic itself. “Seeing is believing” may be a good catchphrase for his exhibits, as many of his newer works also focus on impossible and indefinite feats.
Through the last decade, we’ve noticed a crop of emerging personalities in the practice of sculpting with raw paper. Folding, cutting, glue-sticking and rolling- it’s very easy to understand the basics of creating sculptures out of art, however why do we marvel at several of the more recent paper sculptors and their uniquely unbelievable creations?
Origami is probably one of the best known forms of paper sculpture, followed by paper cut-outs, folding lanterns and silhouettes. In the past few months, we’ve observed artists from every corner of the globe use a combination of the time-tested basic techniques to make artworks that have an impact the first time around. Cutting and folding techniques have evolved,just like the piece of paper art you see above. A modern combination of craft techniques and design styles give way to a new breed of assemblage-art that the world has yet to appreciate in full. We believe 2012 is a year where new and upcoming artists will bedazzle the art world with exciting concepts that will be both bold and innovative.
We’ve seen those world-class auctions held on tv. Sotheby’s and Christie’s among other big names are some of the institutions pioneering a love for art as valuable pieces of luxury collections. Today let’s look at sculpture as one of the media next in line for the throne of art luxury.
“L’Homme qui marche I” or “The Walking Man” by Alberto Giacometti fetched an entire sum of US$103.7 million at London’s Sotheby’s auction. The piece, a distinctive image of a stylized walking man was one out of a series of sculptures in similar form and art by Giacometti. Sometimes we in the artworld marvel at the deepest colors and the most innovative media, and yet I believe pieces like this emphasize an important intrinsic value that is often overlooked in art. The most prominently valuable characteristic that an artwork holds is its history. Giacometti was a brilliant scuptor and a timeless artisan. His works command prices higher than most of us can every dream of having, yet these seemingly simplistic designs of art may not always look like the most valuable things in the world. Historical significance of a piece to both the artist and his audience… -that is the value factor we have to look for when investing in artworks. Lily Safra, the buyer of the recently auctioned piece must have seen this quality in the work. Her record breaking piece is now an emblem of the personal and monetary value achievable by the medium of sculpture.
Would you guys like to know about the most expensive painting ever sold at auction? It’s Van Gogh’s “Portrait of Dr. Gachett” that was purchased in 1990. Today the equivalent of the price paid for that work would be approximately just over 138 million US dollars. Despite this high number, it is not the most expensive painting in the world when judged purely by monetary data. A painting entitled No. 5 by the famed abstractionist Jackson Pollock in 1948 sold for about 150 million dollars (present-day equivalent). This transaction was private though, not at an auction.
Ann Arbor’s own Sharon Que is an American hybrid artist. While being a patron of music and specializing in violin restoration and repair, she finds herself creating a number of assemblage sculptures in her spare time. With her musical background in mind, Sharon bridges the gap of media and goes even further with her pieces. She tackles imagery in her work by mixing forms pertaining to issues of spiritual, secular and mathematical relation. The Detroit Institute of Arts acquired and displayed some of her works as well. She’s had various solo exhibitions in Ann Arbor, Birmingham, and recently in Fort Masin Center (San Fransisco) in 2005.
Sharon’s deep, yet industrialized compositions speak of her mind’s conversation with the world, addressing her own thoughts as a person facing every issue we all face today in a modern society. Some of her public sculptures blend well in their own hybrid forms due to Sharon’s knack for texture manipulation. Combining smooth surfaces with natural roughs and concrete allows one to fully appreciate the contrast within her artistic works. In 2008 Ann Arbor featured some of her works at the Gallery One in Washtenaw Community College together with some works by Tom Phardel.
Greece has always been a famous hotspot for historical sculpture. Mainly dominated by classical realists in the early days of its aesthetic history, Greece now houses a large number of modern and contemporary sculptors as well. Among these artists, Kyveli Makri aspires to become a top in her field of ceramics and mixed media. Born in Athens, Makri creates hand-built hybrid creations by making use of wood, plexiglass, recycled substances and ceramic materials. Her concepts are characterized by her minimalist usage of design elements, such as simplistic lines and subtle subject contours.
Her early works can be observed as art that focuses on the conceptual representation of abstract subjects in ceramic media. Preferring block-like subjects such as ocean liners, townscapes and everyday utilities, her minimalistic style of abstract art slowly grew into a wide-eyed understanding of contemporary hybridity. Today, Makri’s works can be found at the Museum of Greek Folk Art and the Interni Interiors Building. They are also sold at the Benaki Museum. Her very latest work can be found at the Acropolis Museum.
Photography by Vassilis Vrettos – Sculpture by Kyveli Makri
To some, the famous “Burning Man” Arts Festival is a regular hotspot for gatherings of young and talented artisans from all across the globe. Back in 2000, a female-dominated art group was born through collaborative work during this special festival. The Flaming Lotus Girls took their group’s name from their very first sculptural masterpiece; the Flaming Lotus Sr. The art collective makes use of interactive elements to form kinetic and innovative sculptural pieces that dazzle audiences with displays of light and fire. They’ve gone from using alloys of metal, to medleys of glass and wood to create flame spurts of up to 150 feet in height.
A few years back, they created an original piece called Soma. They were deeply inspired by the ability of neurons to fire signals into a complex system of nodes and receptors. The large-scale sculpture exhibits two neurons that seemingly transfer signals to one another using intense displays of fire and light flow. One of the neurons roots itself onto the ground, while the other is hoisted higher above it. Computers are used to control the LED patterns within the connected neurons. The concept behind the interactivity isn’t limited to automation either. The complex design allows the public to communicate with the sculpture itself via a control system accessible to anyone. A Soma in nature is actually neuron with branches called dendrites and a projection called the axon. Basing from biological science, the art of Soma by this group of artists is a wonderful example of kinetic and contemporary art today.
Soma 2009 by the Flaming Lotus Girls – Photography by Michael Prados
Roberd DuGrenier’s glass artworks are a hybridity of living art. We’ve never seen sculpture used in the curious manner that he creates. His many sculptural forms act as living cells or units by which other organisms can make use of artificially. They are very beautiful for the fact that his glass medium enables onlookers to see what normal people could never see; the hidden process of life in the world.
His hermit crab sculptures are comprised of glass shells that actual live crabs move into. These allow people to see the inner sanctum of the hermit crab’s anatomical body at work within the shell. DuGrenier’s sculptures are a magnificent and interesting way to teach children the basics of biology using these non-harmful curiosities to instruct lesson plans. Another one of his sculptures makes use of an invisible beehive. Sculpted in the natural form and contour of a hive, the artwork interacts with both the bees and people in giving the first a home and the latter a look into nature’s own honey factory. DuGrenier also sculpted a glass element that he integrated with the natural growth of a branching tree, In the globular glass object, people were able to see the movements of the tree’s branch growth day by day. These works of art provide a window into the unreachable sights that human beings often just wonder about.
Sculptures by Robert DuGrenier and Photography by Fvlcrvm