Once again, the Venice Biennale exhibition makes its self known in a big way. Pavilions from all over the world demonstrate a particular area of culture that's keyed into the social interest of the day. With all eyes on Korea this time around, it's no wonder that their given selection of art is raising some eyebrows.
During the 1960s, Korean homes were designed by a state agency called the Korea Engineering Consultants Corp. They designed many items for Koreans to use in their daily lives. This communist style expression of government took away the plethora of choice we are so often bombarded with, and left citizens with few options in way of style and expression. When we rely on the state to do things for us, we lose our liberty in the given area.
The Korean Pavilion contains four archive projects designed by the agency themselves. These have in turn been used as foundation and inspiration for more modern and expressive interpretations of the design ethic. Influential is an understatement, the state department in question had a massive monopoly on Korean infrastructure though the industrialisation period of the 60s. In fact, at the Expo '70 in Osaka, the KECC showcased a whole range of projects in order to establish the nation state in the global scene.
Echoes of these days are perhaps best studied from a historical and detached point of view. Many Korean people will remember the communist era and the transition into democracy. It's still touchy ground and we all have our egg shells. Touching on this recent time frame is perhaps a brave but worthwhile venture for art.
Included in the showing is a film called Fantastic City by Hyun Suk Seo. This documents the direct experiences of those touched by the KECC in their area of work and life. Also is an installation of photography called Reference Points. Kyeongtae Kim set up the exhibit to showcase the architecture from a human eye's perspective, again, allowing us to examine the soul rather than the form.
A work of fiction is also on show in the Korean Pavilion. Light From Anywhere by Jidon Jung describes the job role of a guide at the Osaka Expo in 1970. This puts readers into the mindset of those trained to highlight Korea's cultural significance. The keystone to this array of experiences is perhaps the work called Spectres of the State – Avant-garde. This collation of essays and correspondences outlines the relationship between designers and the government. The tenuous connections and desires, motives, and methods of both parties have to find common ground. Maybe there are lessons to be learned from this material no matter what we do for a living.
Perhaps with the hum drum aspects of our lives seen to and catered for on a huge scale, it gives us more time to experience life on a deeper level. It's difficult for me to say as I've never experienced a communist lifestyle. Maybe some Alternative Fruit readers can enlighten the rest of us in the comments?
Via E-Flux Architecture
Street art goes back a long way, technically the earliest form of art known to human kind is street art, where the passages of a cave served as a place for people to live in. Whether it's lawful or not, there is a clear difference between vandalism and arguably aesthetic pieces. When someone scrawls their tag on something for the sake of marking their territory, it is only one step away from urinating in public. However when someone takes the time to create something visually exciting for us to enjoy, then surely it's a different league entirely. Typically, in order to have the time to produce such works requires the say so of local authorities as it wouldn't take long for someone to report you, no matter how well dressed you may be.
Our streets can be drab, especially if they're made of modern materials. The self-similarity of the urban environment often feels dry and uninteresting. A place for living in perhaps needs more than a room with a roof and a power supply. Maybe the environment around the space needs to have something about it that makes a difference, an unusual quality which identifies and diversifies the area. Art really can do this, and it's often the case that little gardens and displays pop up that make an effort to enliven a living space. When done properly, street art can work like a little garden just with much less tending afterwards.
Let's meet Peter Preffington from the UK. He prefers to be called Pref and is a proper street artist. Pref uses typography to create well known slogans on empty spaces in his urban environment. The work makes use of illusion and perspective to write messages within messages and stop and stare sayings. Often, we know the phrase Pref is getting at, and once we see it, that little buzz of understanding runs through our system. It's a clever way of making us think and feel at the same time, and that is what art is really all about. Once we're thinking and feeling simultaneously, life becomes much richer and more enjoyable.
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See the rest of Pref's amazing street art on his instagram feed.
Daydreaming is a sign of intelligence. Many of us have been scorned for gazing into air while the teacher is communicating the various ins and outs of their particular subject, and perhaps it's a time and a place thing more than a moral thing. Let's not forget that thought experiments were the chosen medium of eminent scientists such as Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawkin, who both for various reasons had no ability to use technology to experiment with.
According to Professor of Psychology at Georgia Tech, Eric Schumacher, “efficient brains may have too much brain capacity to stop their minds from wandering” (futurity). In other words, I think he means that sometimes things are not rich enough for our minds to focus 100% of their thinking power on. So rather than putting on blinkers, which is what the teacher tries to do, perhaps just enrich the information, thicken the plot, give the child or person some meat instead of milk.
So what's all this talk about Elephants? It's not just a clever abstract thought to get you on this website. There's a sports centre in Coventry that has been sent to the afterlife. It's no longer fit for purpose, according to new regulations. The 1970s design and architecture experiment needs to change. The large grey, angular building called the “Elephant” is facing a regeneration.
We know arts and culture are good for us. It says so in the Guardian. Alternative Fruit has also mentioned it a few times seeing as it's why it's here in the first place. Never the less, replacing a sports centre with an arts and culture centre doesn't sound like too big a leap of intent. It's the mind this time which is being given the right to exercise. The new concept includes a free to use arts a culture space plus a handful of city lofts for the lucky ones who get to live there.
The new concept has been put together by Alan Denyer of AWD Restorations and has the nod from Coventry University. 500 local artists and regulars at the sports centre (due to be relocated) all agree that the venture is worth while. Making use of brown space in this way is a great way of giving back to the community and allowing the community to enrich itself in the process. More of things like this please.
Fashion and Faith : An Exploration of Clothing, Catholicism, and Religious Expression | Alternative Fruit
The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art is running an exhibition to coincide with the 2018 Spring Show from the Costume Institute. These two long term contributors to the all round nurture of artistic exploration offer a truly enlightening experience. The MET visits the mindset of the Christian with their display titled “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”. A study on how the words of a Holy book can enter the mind and then exit the body in the form of design, craft, and desire to look one's best, shows a significant insight into the workings of our human encounter with God.
The Fifth Avenue venue is hosting its topical works among the standard display of rare and unique Byzantine art and in their section dedicated to Medieval creativity. Diller, Scofido, and Renfro are the artisans behind this epic project. The New York studio, known locally as DS+R, take culturally relevant themes and uniquely express them in visual and captivating ways. The studio worked closely with the Met in order to produce a truly pertinent array of designs that spell out as many elements of the wide ranging theology as possible.
The show has been designed to tell a story in a pilgrimage of design. Beginning with 12th Century fashion and design concepts, the exhibit walks the crowd on through various sections of the museum. There are 27 individual galleries in two separate locations that link the Heavenly Bodies project. Participants can either cherry pick their desired areas or absorb a semi-guided walk through via casually linked displays.
The conversation between clothing, faith, and religious expression is ongoing. Taking a look at the chapters from the past and how they may be relevant today can help us unravel more difficult cultural questions. Corresponding ideas and progressions occur naturally throughout society and so by admiring the work done for this display, we can learn about the philosophy of fashion and faith and how it can touch on every area of our lives.
One display in the many exhibits of this presentation has travelled from the Vatican. Around 40 clothing masterpieces have been generously loaned to the Met from the Holy See, the largest haul of art to go the the States since the 80s. It's not as if anyone is wearing them anytime soon, and the MET's curators are some of the best hands in the world when it comes to taking care of precious items.
Via Design Boom
Digital art is all the rage nowadays, even I contribute to the cerebral sphere of experimenting with pixels. There's something really valuable in playing with colour and form in the digital realm, it shows us things that we'd simply never have thought to produce. I'm always amazed at what computers can do with colour and line, and when we add the human element of creative design, the two can merge to form a truly awe inspiring phenomenon.
Not only do we find inspiration in new works of art, produced from scratch by artists like myself and betters, taking the technology to works that were produced before it existed is something else we can do. When we take the well known and loved work of someone like Gustav Klimt then give it the twenty-first century treatment, we get something magical. France's very own Atelier des Lumières, the Parisian digital art centre, has installed a new exhibition demonstrating this compelling theme.
An immersive and spellbinding tour of Klimt's work is on display surrounded by mirrors. Each section concentrates on one of the painter's many areas of interest shown through his career. From the neo-classicalism of Vienna, female and natural beauty, the Succession, and on how Kilmt inspired Schiele, to name but a few, wanders around this exhibit leave us in no doubt as to how prolific and hard working Gustav Klimt was.
Created to honour the artist on the centenary of his death, this modern day art show brings the old master to light again. We probably all know one or two of his images. The Kiss is a really famous painting. To me it's not a romantic image, I get the sense of force and well mannered acceptance which is the opposite of what relationships ought to be about. That's my feelings of it, I'm sure you have your own.
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