a tale of a few cities

5,000 Free Limited Edition Artworks To Celebrate Elmgreen & Dragset’s Trafalgar Square Sculpture Unveiling

Posted in Art, artists, collecting, collections, limited editions, multiples, pictures, Public Art, Sculpture by petercombe on February 23, 2012

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LONDON, Feb. 23, 2012 —  In collaboration with s[edition], a digital platform for collecting contemporary art, Elmgreen & Dragset invite visitors to experience ‘Powerless Structures, Fig. 101’, the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square in the virtual world using augmented reality.

For the first time, visitors can further engage with the Fourth Plinth commission, which is funded by the Mayor of London with support from Arts Council England. They will be able to access exclusive content via the s[edition] iPhone app. When devices are pointed at the sculpture’s plaque, users will receive a three-dimensional rendering of the sculpture, along with unique footage of Elmgreen & Dragset presenting their work.

The artists have also collaborated with s[edition] to create a digital limited edition artwork celebrating the commissioned sculptureDesigned to be viewed on digital devices from iPhones to televisions, the limited edition features a unique digital rendition of the bronze sculpture on the plinth. To commemorate the unveiling, s[edition] will offer members of the public the chance to own one of 5,000 limited editions, worth £35 each ($55US), for free before 5pm GMT on Friday 24 February 2012.  The editions are limited to one per person and can be accessed via here.

Michael Elmgreen said: “The internet has created possibilities for experiencing artworks in a totally different way. You do not need to be there in a physical sense at the location to actually get an impression of the work. So it broadens the possibilities to reach other audiences apart from the people in Trafalgar Square.”

Ingar Dragset stated: “When we developed the sculpture itself in a 3D format, we used the computer as well as a tool. It is a big part of most artists’ working process. What you see with our s[edition] limited edition is the computer manipulated sculpture turning around, with the blue sky in the background, and it loops endlessly.”

Martina King, Managing Director of Aurasma, said: “This ground breaking collaboration with s[edition] brings digital art to 3D life, augmented into the real world.  People will be able to use the simple tools in the app to add a 3D model of the artwork to their homes, offices gardens – even the street.  We’re delighted to see Aurasma’s unique technology being used to change the way people see and interact with art using their mobile devices.”

Commissioned by the Mayor of London and supported by the Arts Council England, Elmgreen & Dragset’s new sculpture for the Fourth Plinth was unveiled on 23 February 2012 in Trafalgar Square, London. Entitled Powerless Structures, Fig 101, the artwork features a 4.1m high golden bronze sculpture portraying a boy on a rocking horse with his right arm thrust high in the air.

Available for iPhone and Android smartphones, Aurasma uses advanced image and pattern recognition technology to seamlessly blend the real world with interactive digital content called “Auras”.  Auras can be created for images, objects and physical places. Users can even use the simple tools in the app to create and add their own Auras to the world. A 3D version of Powerless Structures, Fig 101 will be available on the Aurasma platform for users to place into the real world, view and share.

The Sacramento Bee

Thursday, February 23, 2012
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UPDATE, February 24, 2012: As it is now past 5pm GMT on Friday 24 February 2012 Limited edition art work is now priced at $56USD.
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Elmgreen & Dragset’s Powerless Structures, Fig. 101 Unveiled

Posted in architecture, Art, artists, Installation, Photography, pictures, Public Art, Sculpture by petercombe on February 23, 2012

Artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset have become the latest contemporary artists to unveil a public sculpture on Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth. ‘Powerless Structures, Fig. 101’ depicts a classically proportioned young boy atop a flat rocking horse.

The plinth, built in 1841, was originally designed to host a bronze equestrian statue of King William IV designed by architect Sir Charles Barry.  Organisers said that, after 170 years, “Elmgreen & Dragset have completed the process by presenting a new take on the tradition of equestrian statues, directly engaging with the history of the plinth itself”.

Michael Elmgreen (Denmark) and Ingar Dragset (Norway) are a collaborative artist couple who live and work together in Berlin. Their work often takes the form of a wittily subversive intervention or mise-en-scène. They are critical of contemporary art institutions, and restrictive viewing of the white cube viewing space. The duo have held solo exhibitions at galleries including the Serpentine and Tate Modern, in London, and The Power Plant, in Toronto.  As a duo, the artists – who will exhibit at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in autumn 2013 – are known for works including Prada Marfa, a full-scale replica of a Prada boutique in the middle of the Texan desert.  

Although I like Elmgreen & Dragset’s work, I wish Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla’s proposal had been chosen. Their’s featured a working cash machine embedded within the plinth which, when accessed, would have triggered a functioning pipe organ set on top of the plinth, to play throughout Trafalgar Square.

Elmgreen & Dragset’s Powerless Structures, Fig 101, replaces Yinka Shonibare’s large-scale Nelson’s Ship In A Bottle.

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[youtube http://youtu.be/watch?v=dLGj7lxwjNk&w=720&h=450]

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Elmgreen & Dragset’s Fourth Plinth

Posted in Art, artists, Installation, London, Photography, pictures, Public Art by petercombe on February 22, 2012

The unveiling of London’s Fourth Plinth, Powerless Structures, Fig 101‘ by Scandinavian artistic duo Elmgreen & Dragset starts tomorrow at 9:00am (GMT), in Trafalgar Square.

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Michael Rakowitz, Climate Control, 2000 – 2001

Michael Rakowitz

Climate Control
2000 – 2001
Galvanized steel ductwork, fans, timers
P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NY
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Most museums and exhibition spaces have a central climate control system for maintaining the standard temperature and relative humidity (r.h.) necessary to preserve art works on exhibit. P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center lacks such a mechanism and, during the winter, turns its radiators up to 90˚F, ignoring the institutional standard of 68˚ – 72˚F. The dry heat of the radiators engenders a relative humidity reading of approximately 11%, potentially damaging to objects like paintings or prints, which require stabilized environments of between 40% – 50% r.h.
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In order to lower the temperature of the Special Projects room to which it is confined, Climate Control, an apparatus consisting of ductwork and fans, incorporates the existing radiator system on the interior of the building with the cold winter temperature outside. The resulting maze of ductwork features a central absurd element: the continuous duct which travels outside the windows and then directly back in, visible from the street. An internal humidifier feeds off moisture in the air and maintains a relative humidity of 20%, in keeping with the standard for exhibiting artworks made from galvanized steel. While the system is adjustable and can maintain a stabilized environment for the display of even delicate works on paper, there is no space to exhibit other art: Climate Control completely engulfs the room. The result is an absurd machine built to maintain itself. – Michael Rakowitz
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I first heard of Chicago-based artist Michael Rakowitz through his collaborative project “Spoils,” a culinary/art experience utilizing plates found in Saddam Hussein’s fallen palaces and held at Park Avenue Autumn this past October. After doing a few searches, I discovered his 2001 Climate Control installation at P.S.1 and was really taken by the Rakowitz’s clever use of space.
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I wouldn’t be surprised if Rakowitz’s Climate Control spurred the installation of a climate control system at P.S.1, albeit slowly.
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Ai Weiwei and the Five Finger Discount

Posted in appropriation, Art, auction, China, Conceptual Art, illustration, London, Painting, Sculpture by petercombe on July 19, 2011

Detail of Ai Wei Wei sunflower seeds from the Tate Modern in London

For the eleventh commission in the Tate Modern‘s Unilever Series, Chinese conceptual artist Ai Weiwei had filled the museum’s Turbine Hall with millions of life-sized sunflower seed husks made out of porcelain. The collective effort of a number of specialists from Jingdezhen, China, the hand-crafted seeds were individually formed and painted. Before the museum was alerted to the installation’s dangers of lead paint and silica dust, visitors were encouraged to touch and walk on the carpet of tiny replicates. Before a barrier was erected around the perimeter of the installation, I wondered how many visitors were tempted to pilfer samples of the tiny seeds (see photo above). In February of this year Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening sale in London surpassed the $192,000 estimate, netting $559,394 for a 100-kilogram pile of Weiwei’s seeds. That puts worth of the stolen seeds pictured above at about $33.60.

Raven Row, Gone With The Wind

Posted in Art, artists, Conceptual Art, Group Show, London, Photography, Sculpture, silkscreen, sound art by petercombe on June 30, 2011

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top right, Walter Marchetti, Musica da Camera N° 182, 1989/2011 (photo by Fabrizio Garghetti)
middle, Opening night viewers take in Takehisa Kosugi’s Ear Drum Event, 1962/75 (photo Mandy Williams)
bottom left, Mandy Williams, Lost voices, 2010, Audio installation
bottom right, Walter Marchetti, Musica da camera N° 211, 1990/2011 (photo Rupix)
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Gone With The Wind is curated by Ed Baxter, director of Resonance104.4fm. The London art radio station took its quarters at Raven Row for the duration of the exhibition, broadcasting, and hosting workshops and live events, as well as presenting an ‘overhung’ sound installation – the ‘Resonance Open’ – with contributions solicited from local and international sound artists.

Gone with the Wind remains open until 17 July 2011 at the Raven Row gallery in London.

In-depth Review >

Ai Weiwei: Sunflower Seeds

Posted in Art, China, Installation, Painting, Sculpture, video by petercombe on April 8, 2011


‘Ai Weiwei: Sunflower Seeds’ video is beautiful and moving. It sheds light on the thought process behind the project, part of The Unilever Series at Tate Modern, UK. The porcelain seeds were made in a town called Jingdezhen. All 100 million porcelain seed husks were produced by craftspeople, many of whom had previous to Weiwei’s employment, gone bankrupt.

I saw the installation during a recent trip to London, but was saddened that previous to my visit, viewers were no longer able to walk amongst the display due to hazardous toxins. The tons of porcelain seeds were kicking up a fine ceramic dust, easily breathed into the lungs of art aficionados. Visitors can now only gaze at Ai’s piece from a cordoned off observation deck.

Ai has not been heard from since he was seized on April 3 at Beijing airport about to board a flight to Hong Kong. The U.S. and EU have protested his detention.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s call for the Release of Ai WeiWei >

Tate Modern’s message via @robbiesharp >

Birth of Kapoor

Posted in Art, Birth of..., Installation, Photography, Sculpture by petercombe on March 19, 2011

Lothar Baumgarten, Tetrahedron, 1968

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Anish Kapoor, Mother as a Mountain, 1985

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Tate Modern, The Unilever Series: Ai Weiwei

Posted in Art, Installation, London, Sculpture by petercombe on February 8, 2011

The Unilever Series: Ai WeiweiSunflower Seeds, 2010

I’m going to London in a few days for a couple of weeks and am looking forward to seeing Ai Weiwei’s installation at the Tate Modern. Sunflower Seeds, made up of millions of small works, each apparently identical, but actually unique. However realistic they may seem, these life-sized sunflower seed husks are in fact intricately hand-crafted in porcelain.

Each seed has been individually sculpted and painted by specialists working in small-scale workshops in the Chinese city of Jingdezhen. Far from being industrially produced, they are the effort of hundreds of skilled hands. Poured into the interior of the Turbine Hall’s vast industrial space, the 100 million seeds form a seemingly infinite landscape.

Porcelain is almost synonymous with China and, to make this work, Ai Weiwei has manipulated traditional methods of crafting what has historically been one of China’s most prized exports. Sunflower Seedsinvites us to look more closely at the ‘Made in China’ phenomenon and the geo-politics of cultural and economic exchange today. More at Tate >


Steve Bishop, Φ (2010)

Posted in Art, Installation, Sculpture by petercombe on December 14, 2010

Steve Bishop, Φ (2010), Listerine ‘Cool Mint’ mouthwash, stainless steel. 160 x 96 x 2 cm

LINK >

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