Skip to content

Lawrence Malstaf

April 6, 2010

Lawrence Malstaf is an artist who is producing extremely interesting work. His work is relevant especially to my own practice as he is very concerned with the idea of making artificial environments and providing profound and personal experiences for the viewer. I came across this artist on the we make money not art website just by chance. His work is well documented on his website but I have picked out a couple of works which I think are most relevant to my research area and practice.

A short Bio taken from this website.

The work of Lawrence Malstaf can be situated on the borderline between the visual and the theatrical. After having studied industrial design, Lawrence Malstaf starts of in theatre. He designs scenographies for choreographers and directors as Benoît Lachambre, Meg Stuart and Kirsten Delholm. Soon he develops more into installation and performance-art with a strong focus on movement, coincidence, order and chaos. In 2000 he makes a series of sensorial rooms for individual visitors (Nemo Observatorium, Mirror, Pericope/Horizon Machine). Later he creates larger mobile environments dealing with space and orientation often using the visitor as a co-actor (Orbit, Nevel, Compass, Boreas, Transporter). His projects often involve advanced technology as a point of departure or inspiration but also to activate the installations. Lawrence Malstaf is exhibiting internationally and in 2008 he wins the Witteveen + Bos – prize for Art + Technology (NL), in 2009 he receives the Golden Nica at Prix Ars Electronica (A) an in 2010 he is the winner of the Excellence Prize at The 13th Japan Media Arts Festival in Tokyo (JP).

Nemo Observatorium 2002

Styrofoam beads are blown around in a big transparent PVC cylinder by five strong fans. Visitors can take place on the armchair in the middle of the whirlpool or observe from the outside one at a time. On the chair, in the eye of the storm it is calm and safe. Spectacular at first sight, this installation turns out to mesmerise like a kind of meditation machine. One can follow the seemingly cyclic patterns, focus on the different layers of 3D pixels or listen to its waterfall sound. One could call it a training device, challenging the visitor to stay centred and find peace in a fast changing environment. After a while the space seems to expand and one’s sense of time deludes.

Nevel 2004
A matrix of nine pivoting walls forms a labyrinth whose architecture continuously changes. A sequence of different compositions creates choreography of spaces flowing into one another. It is an auto choreographic space to wander and get lost in, like in a mutating city, to linger and surrender to the disorientation. Occasionally a video artist, musician, or even a mathematician is invited for a live intervention (Christophe de Boeck, Luis Recoder, Yukiko Shinosaki, Isar Stubbe, Chris Kondek)
Boreas 2007
A matrix of sixty-four tubes is spread out equally over the room. These tubes bend over extremely slowly as if a slow motion wind were touching them. Leaning into one another they reach out to the visitors like the tentacles of a giant snail. The room continuously transforms from a geometric grid to an unpredictable organic structure and back. Order to chaos to order in a never-ending cycle. We are both welcome and dispensable in this alien forest. Nature accepts us but does not really need us, reorganising itself patiently.

Transporter 2008

2 conveyor belts of about 13m long are set up next to each other and running in opposite directions. People can lay down on them to be transported very slowly. Hidden under the surface an invisible mechanism produces a subtle yet intense tactile experience for the spine. Halfway the trajectory the visitors are confronted with 2 horizontal mirrors moving up and down above them.


John Gerrard

April 6, 2010

For research purposes my interest lies in this artist’s use of reality and fiction, artificial makings of a ‘natural’ landscape, use of technology, real-time and simulation.

A short bio taken from: source

John Gerrard’s (Irish, b. Dublin, 1973) works hover between fact and fiction. They present actual scenes from desolate corners of the American landscape and unfold in real time so that patient viewers can experience the progression of the day from morning to night in each setting; however, what looks like a live shot is, in fact, a manipulated, fabricated image. Gerrard photographed every site from 360 degrees and then animated the stills into seamless cinematic panning shots. Instead of the overt conflicts so prominent in video games that use this same technology, the artist relates realistic elements—a pumping oil derrick, a pig processing plant, and a vintage storm photo superimposed on a real farmscape—with elegant subtlety. Yet while these works recall the stark illumination and precision of twentieth-century realist paintings by Charles Sheeler, Charles Demuth, and Edward Hopper, their heightened effects also underscore the bleak ramifications of depleting natural resources. Gerrard’s mesmerizing replicas re-imagine landscape art and offer meditations on the impact of our habits of consumption.

Sentry (Kit Carson, Colorado), 2008

Dust Storm (Manter, Kansas) 2007

Sow Farm (near Libby, Oklahoma) 2009

Taken from: source

Sow Farm (near Libby, Oklahoma) depicts a particular instance of animal factory farming facilitated by a large computer-controlled complex devoid of human presence. Lufkin (near Hugo, Colorado) presents an oil derrick in action.  Like related previous works such as Animated Scene, Sow Farm and Lufkin acknowledge the artificial and detrimental ways we manipulate the environment.  Effectively set in the visually bare plains of middle America, Gerrard underscores the alarming depletion of natural resources that supports our culture of consumption.

Gerrard’s technique is as compelling as his subject matter is relevant.  The artist builds upon traditions of painting, photography, cinema and sculpture while actually working with the video game technology Realtime 3D.  Like many contemporary artists working in complex new media, Gerrard develops the creative concept behind each work while relying upon specialists to help realize it.  The artist photographs each site from a complete 360 degree radius.  His production team in Vienna, led by long time collaborator and producer Werner Poetzelberger, then completes the work – turning the artist’s photographic stills into continuous, animated cinematic panning shots.  Complex details are accurately replicated at each site by 3D modeling, which is guided by topographical and satellite data.  It typically takes a few years to replicate each site over a particular period of actual time – showing changes in light, weather and season.

The end result – a subdued hyperrealism – hardly points to the immense efforts of its creation. Sow Farm (near Libby, Oklahoma) and Lufkin (near Hugo, Colorado) are shown throughout an entire 365 day year.  The work’s projection on a large-scale screen engulfs the viewer in a calm and contemplative viewing experience well suited to serious subject matter.

For more information check out:

Between Metaphor and Object @ IMMA

April 6, 2010

Between Metaphor and Object is an exhibition which I think is just finishing up in IMMA at the moment, but which I went to see a couple of times in the museum because I liked it so much!

About: (taken from-IMMA Website)

Between Metaphor and Object features a range of works from the IMMA Collection, primarily sculptures and installation works from the 1990s. It provides perspectives on the diversity of practice that is represented in the IMMA Collection from this period, explores its particularities, and considers them in the context of international trends of the decade. The title of the exhibition references perceived polarities in art since the 1960s and also proposes the idea of the continuous flux visited upon artworks in the mind of the viewer between symbolism and objecthood. Notably the exhibition incorporates a number of pieces from the Weltkunst Collection, which is on loan to IMMA since 1994.

Artist’s participating include: Barry Flanagan, Shirazeh Houshiary, Anish Kapoor, Alison Wilding, Avis Newman, Lucis Nogueira, Julian Opie, Jacqueline Poncelet, Rachel Whiteread, Richard Wentworth, Elis O’Connell, Siobhan Hapaska, Kiki Smith, Ann Hamilton, Maud Cotter, Illya and Emilia Kabakov and Micheal Warren.

There were two pieces which were my favourites, the first was Ann Hamilton’s Filament 11 (1996). This piece consisted of a high curtained  structure which circulated the material around in one space. It stopped every 15 seconds or so, enough time for one or two people to enter into the spinning vortex of linen material. Whilst standing inside the whirlwind of fabric I felt as though I myself were almost flying or being transported to another dimension or something (ok, this description might be slightly exaggerated, but I have quite an ambitious imagination!) Either way, I fully enjoyed the experience of the piece immensely.

The second piece I was fond of was the installation The Mysterious Exhibition (1998) by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov. Kabakov is known well for his writings ‘On the Total Installation’, which I am currently reading at the moment. He explores in detail what an installation is and all wide ranging aspects of it, from being in an exhibition space, to the symbolic gestures of the walls, the ceiling, the floors…. (I will hopefully be giving a more detailed account of this on the blog when I am done researching it myself). For this exhibition at IMMA, The Mysterious Exhibition consisted of a couple of rooms of a hospital ward, with a hospital bed, chairs, bedside locker and miniature theatre beside the bed. Kabakov is interested in this idea of story telling in his unique and provocative style. One does not simply look at a picture or listen to a story, the visitor is immersed in the atmosphere, in the place where the story is taking place itself. In this case one is in a children’s hospital, sitting at an empty bed, watching a small theatre show take place. The text outside this exhibition piece told the audience how this small, almost puppet-like theatre was used to help sick children get better through stimulation of the imaginative workings of the mind. To me, this was a very chilling, eerie experience, but also silent and subtle at the same time.

Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef @ The Science Gallery

April 6, 2010

Visited the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef exhibition at the Science Gallery not so long ago. There were a couple of things that struck me about this project which I immensely enjoyed, one was the sheer amount of crocheted coral which was overwhelmingly colourful; it had this physicality about it which just made me want to touch it or ly down in it – I would love to have an entire garden or house just made like this! The other aspect I was particularly drawn to was the idea of producing a scene or an organic landscape out of artificial materials. As I said – I could imagine an entire other dream like world made out this crochet coral. The project itself was born five years ago by two Australian sisters Christine and Margaret Wertheim. Their love for their home countries exotic underwater landscape has made an obvious influence on their work. The project aims at highlighting the  risk of the coral reefs current state and urges people to think about these environmental issues. Connecting people throughout the world, this crochet coral reef was made by community groups around the world.

Here is a video clip from the exhibition with Margaret herself giving a more detailed account of the project.

Photos from the past week…

March 19, 2010

The Mona Lisa Curse by Robert Hughes

March 11, 2010

The Mona Lisa Curse is an interesting documentary on the art world, globalisation and material culture by art critic Robert Hughes. I have spent my afternoon watching this and it has been very insightful indeed! It comes in 12 different parts, all of which can be watched on youtube, but here is the first part which sums up the general idea of the documentary.

Day Trip to Bull Island

March 11, 2010

Yesterday a couple of friends and myself went out on a trip to Bull Island, I had never been before and thought it an opportunity to take some photographs. As you will see, most of these photos were taken of the sand dunes there – a very beautiful landscape!