I really love big works of art. I love spaces altered by form and sound. I love entering a space and feeling a bit discombobulated - that something isn't quite right. This week's edition of FRIDAY Fast Five is dedicated to a few of my favourite installation works - some I've seen, some I wish could have seen. If you make it to the end you'll find a little musical treat in the form of Chester Watson's Museums....don't know him? Get to know him, stat.
1. The inspiration for this weeks Fast Five is Cornelia Parker's Anti-Mass. This incredible installation stopped me in my tracks when I saw it at the de Young in San Fransisco a couple of years ago. Made from the charred remains of an Alabama Baptist Church destroyed by arson, the pieces of wood are strung up with transparent wire to resemble an architectural mass. Or more accurately, the bones of an architectural mass. It's a heavy, melancholy work. It opens up so many questions. What happened? Who committed the arson? There's also playfulness in the word 'mass' as both a congregational term and physical assemblage of components hanging in space.
2. Now this is something I would have luuuuuurved to have a whirl on. Made from translucent PVC membranes suspended nearly 80 feet above ground at the Hangar Biocca in Milan, the installation can be entered from above or below. Those who enter from above step onto the PVC plane suspended in mid-air. The spectacle and fun of this piece is it's first allure, but the physical experience and interaction with other bodies in that strange suspended space is the real kicker. As Saraceno says, 'as soon as you decide to climb onto the installation you are necessarily caught up in the play of dependence.' There's nothing quite as wonderful as reeeeally experiencing a piece of art with other people.
3. There's pretty much nothing I love more than a space totally consumed by a giant installation. What makes Ni Haifeng's Para-Production, installed in 2013 at Bejing's Joy Art Space, even cooler and all-consuming is that is was accompanied by a constant clatter of working sewing machines engaged in acts of participatory creation. Over a seven day period piles of discarded fabric were sewn into an immense wall hanging by the artists friends. A comment on mass-manufacturing, the role of communities of laborers formed in the production process, and the individual's inconsequence in the global market.
4. La maison sensible (ou La maison empathique) is a responsive installation - a room that draws it's energy from those who enter. In the words of creators Scenocosme (Grégory Lasserre & Anaïs met den Ancxt), 'The floor and walls of this room are made up of hundreds of thousands of fragile video-projected particles. They are all quiet and nicely ordered when the room is empty and silent. Only a slight breathing motion is perceptible. They slowly and gently draw mesmerizing figures.'
5. I've already posted about how much I adore light installations but this work by Tokujin is just toooooo beautiful to not include. It's a 9 meter high window made of hundreds of crystal prisms that refract and reflect the light. I also just adore his inspiration for the work after viewing a Matisse: "I experienced a space filled with the light of Matisse: Being bathed in the sunlight of the Provence, the stained glass with Matisse's vibrant colors suffused the room with full of colors. Since then, I had been dreaming of designing an architecture where people can feel the light with all senses."
In the wise words of Rebecca Black, "it's Friday, Friday, Friday."