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We recently stumbled upon this fascinating conceptual art installation by Jesper Norda. At first glance it would be a perfect, silent and serene place to project random thoughts into. It could be related to minimal art pieces where the light plays an important role in transformation and meaning or it could be a totally boring and uninteresting place which perhaps is completely unnoticed by the audience. But the voice of a man starts describing the space and some of the things which go on in it at the very same moment the viewer looks at it or stands in it. The man projects the scientific reality onto the space. He describes the rooms dimensions and moves on to the amount of air molecules, the weight of the air,how the air molecules behave differently when exposed to different kind of sound waves.The space is suddenly not so empty anymore. It fills with violent movement and vibration, the invisible reality reveals itself and influences the thoughts of the viewers/listeners. The voice of the man goes on about the intense air pressure in the room and the intense air pressure in the cranium of the listener and the balance between those two spaces: the state we call silence.
The centre of silence
Kalmar Konstmuseum,Sweden, 2009
Curated by Bengt Olof Johansson.
Voice (interleaved by silence, sinus-wave and white noise). White filter on window.
We have been following Norwegian artist Kjell Varvins ”online” installations now for some years and the works keep fascinating us. He creates temporary minimalistic installations consisting of insignificant objects in a corner of his studio. He does this similar compared to writing in a daily dairy. After manipulating the objects in a certain composition he documents them and publishes them on the internet. He sees this work , which he titles Unstable Variables, as proposals in the context of art and not as final statements. The works contain mostly neutral elements to avoid symbolic associations. By doing this, a context is created where the spectator can wander with his eyes through the installation without hanging on to elements that can generate ideas about things they already experienced or fantasized. He has worked as an assistant to conceptual artist Sol Lewitt who had influence on his work however where Sol Lewitt used perfect strict written rules during the execution of for example a wall drawing, Varvin leaves room for imperfection and deviations. We for sure will keep following Varvins proposals and explorations of composition, objects, space and time.
Photos from top to bottom:
Unstable Variables 1.1.2013
Unstable Variables 4.12.2010
Detail: Unstable Variables 4.12.2010
Detail: Unstable Variables 13.2.2011
Unstable Variables 13.2.2011
Song Dong emerged from the Beijing-based avant-garde performance art community and is an important artist in the development of Chinese conceptual art since the early 1990s.His oevre contains performance, photography, projection, video and installation pieces. With his work Song Dong explores notions of perception and the ephemeral nature of existence.
Writing diary with water is an ongoing conceptual performance project by Song Dong. He uses a calligraphy brush to write daily diary entries in water on a selected block of stone.The writing in this invisible diary rapidly evaporates, though still represents an act of purification for the artist. This conceptual performance piece is documented by 4 photo’s. Song Dong about this piece: “although it is just a stone, it actually has become thicker day by day, with my own thoughts added on it”. The water diary has now become an important part of his life and art and from it other performance pieces evolved like for example Dong’s “Stamping the water” and “Writing time in water.
Photos by Song Dong | Photo 1 top: Haupt & Binder, Photo 2 to 8: Mark Hansen, Photo 9 bottom: Charlie Samuels |
An interesting retrospective exhibition which shows works by the French-Israeli artist Absalon (1964 – 1993) is running at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. This exhibition transferred from the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin.
The works on display are a fascinating statement around key concepts like: re-defining spaces, systematic and successive cataloguing, human activities, the primitive shapes and the human body.
A fragment from the press release:
As in the KW in Berlin, the exhibition will display Absalon’s enigmatic works – living cells painted neutral white and made entirely of wood. These so called ‘Cellules’ are, as it were, living pods for just one person, in which everything can be found for day-to-day, ritual activities down to the smallest detail, including window slits to keep unwanted guests at a distance. Absalon created these units for six World cities: Tokyo, New York, Tel Aviv, Paris, Zurich and Frankfurt. The form of Absalon’s Cellules is reminiscent of the modernist architectural styles of Le Corbusier, Bauhaus, De Stijl and the Russian constructivism. They are, however, stripped of their Utopian ideals. The living cells are based on the dimensions of Absalon’s own body and are, as it were, air-raid shelters for just a single person. The spaces suggest a need for protection and shielding from the chaotic daily life. Absalon described his Cellules as “a bastion of resistance against a society that prevents me from becoming what I must become.”
Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider began the Kraftwerk project in Düsseldorf, Germany, in 1970, setting up the pioneering Kling Klang studio, where all of Kraftwerk’s albums were conceived and composed. By the mid-1970s the group had achieved international recognition for their revolutionary electro “sound paintings” and their musical experimentation with tapes and synthesizers. Their compositions, which feature distant melodies, multilingual vocals, robotic rhythms, and custom-made vocoders and computer-speech technology, almost single-handedly created the soundtrack for our digital future. Kraftwerk anticipated the impact of technology on art and everyday life, creating sounds and visuals that capture the human condition in the age of mobility and telecommunication. Their innovative looping techniques and computerized rhythms, which had a major influence on the early development of hip-hop and electronic dance music, remain among the most commonly sampled sounds across a wide range of music genres. Furthermore, the use of robotics and other technical innovations in their live performances illustrates Kraftwerk’s belief in the respective contributions of both people and machines in creating art.
The below video by Vive Les Robots, gives a small impression of The Robots installation recorded at Kunstbau in Munich, during the exhibition “Kraftwerk. 3-D Video-Installation” in 2011.
Over eight consecutive nights in April 2012, MoMA presents a chronological exploration of the sonic and visual experiments of Kraftwerk with a live presentation of their complete repertoire in the Museum’s Marron Atrium. Each evening consists of a live performance and 3-D visualization of one of Kraftwerk’s studio albums. Kraftwerk will follow each evening’s album performance with additional compositions from their catalog, all adapted specifically for this exhibition. This reinterpretation showcases Kraftwerk’s historical contributions to and contemporary influence on global sound and image culture.