A few years ago I attended the International Mosaic Symposium in Melbourne. It ran for a week and included some the worlds foremost experts in mosaic art .. from restoration of ancient roman mosaics, to golden church smalti through to modern crystal and glass mosaics.
I was very intrigued by ephemeral art at the time and have already done a post previously about the nature of art which disappears over time. The ephemeral floor mosaics to this day still fascinated me, not only for their beauty but for their intensity of repetition yet knowing the time invested would vanish.
So I decided to have a closer look at some floor installations and was really surprised at the variety of conceptual ‘floor’ art being created and supported by major galleries. It is hard to decide on a favorite!
Suzan Drummen – Kaleidoscopic Floor Installations
Made of Mirrors, Crystals and Glass , in an act of patience and precision that boggles the mind, Dutch artist Suzan Drummen creates sparkling floor installations using an array of individually placed mirrors, crystals, chromed metal, optical glass and precious stones. Thousands of objects in each of her artworks are placed and stacked by hand and sit completely loose during the exhibition but even the slightest disturbance, an accidental step or dropped object, could send pieces from the unprotected installation flying, a true testament to the artist’s trust in the viewer.
Shinji Ohmaki – food coloring floors
Shinji Ohmaki’s interactive floor installations are composed of traditional floral patterns made out of food coloring, laid on the floor for viewers to walk over, destroying it as they do so. This work transforms with the passage of time, and the space too is reborn through this process.
Nino Sarabutra “What will you leave behind”
Bangkok-based artist Nino Sarabutra filled the floor of Ardel Gallery in Bangkok with 100,000 miniature porcelain skulls and invites visitors to step on them. As her friends, family, and neighbors helped make the skulls, she asked them to contemplate their life and think about what they would leave behind.
USA-based sculptor Nathan Craven created a series of ceramic artwork entitled ‘footing’. The interactive artwork is built from a vast collection of uniquely-shaped ceramic components which have been placed upon the floor to form each multifaceted unit. Craven both hand-forms, glazes and paints each uniquely shaped ceramic brick featuring in ‘footing’, the various components join together in a mat-like structure.
Marcia Nolte ‘WE MAKE CARPETS’
Consisting of Marcia Nolte, Stijn van der Vleuten and Bob Waardenburg, WE MAKE CARPETS mix traditional skills and a critical view of the consumer society in unusual carpets.
Do Ho Suh
From MyModernmet: One of the most exciting contemporary artists of our time, Korean Do Ho Suh, created this large sculptural installation Floor. This is one of those installations that’s wonderfully thought-provoking, the figures represent the diverse and anonymous masses of people who support and/or resist the symbolic floor.
Ai Weiwei at Tate Modern – 100 Million ceramic sunflower seeds
From Tate: Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds challenges our first impressions: what you see is not what you see, and what you see is not what it means.
The sculptural installation is made up of what appear to be millions of sunflower seed husks, apparently identical but actually unique. Although they look realistic, each seed is made out of porcelain. And far from being industrially produced, ‘readymade’ or found objects, they have been intricately hand-crafted by hundreds of skilled artisans.
This combination of mass production and traditional craftsmanship invites us to look more closely at the ‘Made in China’ phenomenon and the geopolitics of cultural and economic exchange today.
Chiharu Shiota ”Breath of The Spirit”
600 yarn tied shoes, each carries a different tale about the journey it has walked, and perhaps these inanimate objects provide some insight into the people that have walked, hopped and jumped through the world. The Chiharu Shiota Breath Of The Spirit installation makes the viewer visualize what it is like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.
ALWAYS THE ARTIST