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Article

Elaine O’Brien

(b Mombasa, Kenya, Nov 2, 1962).

German multi-media installation and performance artist of Kenyan birth. Von Bonin is known for collaborative, richly associative and perplexing spaces full of artworks that suggest Alice-in-Wonderland narratives and evoke Claes Oldenburg’s playful relational strategies.

Von Bonin attained art world prominence soon after her first New York solo show in 1991. Her puckish neo-feminist conceptual art draws largely upon her experiences and friendships in the Cologne art world and neighborhood art scene. Von Bonin’s work challenges traditional stereotypes of the artist as male genius, creating art alone in his studio. The prestige of the artist’s signature is mocked in ‘solo’ shows such as her exhibition The Cousins (2000), held in Brunswick, which featured a large library installation by the artist Nils Norman (b 1966). Von Bonin arranged many installation events with fellow artists, musicians and writers, in which she played the role of curator-impresario as well as object maker. In her work different media and expressive idioms are re-mixed, the world of popular music in particular being integral to her ...

Article

Eleanor Heartney

(b Bangkok, Feb 25, 1953; d Bangkok, Aug 25, 2000).

Thai sculptor and installation artist. Boonma studied at the Poh Chang Arts and Crafts School, Bangkok (1971–3) and went on to study painting at Silpakorn University, Bangkok (1974–8). He became a Buddhist monk in 1986 and his work explores a distinctively Buddhist art language. His early work dealt with environmental issues that came out of his concerns about the effects of industrialization on rural Thailand. Increasingly his work became involved with issues of illness and death as his own health faltered. He subtly melded natural forms, Buddhist architecture and ritual objects with a minimalist sense of structure inspired by his study of Western art. He fashioned sculptural objects based on Buddhist alms bowls, ‘painted’ with healing herbs and created walls and enclosures from stacks of hundreds of ceramic temple bells.

From 1991 Boonma’s wife struggled with breast cancer, until she succumbed in 1994. During this period the pair turned to both Western and Eastern tools to battle her disease, alternating chemotherapy with visits to shrines and offerings to propitious spirits. In ...

Article

Sophie Howarth

(b Darvel, Ayrshire, May 3, 1965).

Scottish sculptor and installation artist. She studied from 1983 to 1987 at Glasgow School of Art and from 1987 to 1988 at the University of Ulster, Belfast. In 1997 she was shortlisted for the Turner Prize. Borland’s works question the processes of investigation and classification that are, or have been, commonplace within institutions such as hospitals, prisons, the police and the army. Simulating the detached perspective and terminology of medical and forensic science, Borland suggests the limitations of seeing human events such as sex, love, childbirth and mortality in an abstract sense. For A Place where Nothing has Happened (1993; destr., see 1994 exh. cat., pp. 22–3), a site-specific project commissioned as part of the Tyne International in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, she asked local police officers to search an area of urban wasteland for evidence of the type used in criminal investigations. When their findings were displayed in a Portakabin, the absence of any motivating crime made clear that it was the investigative process itself which was being laid bare for examination. In ...

Article

Anda Rottenberg

(b Kurów, Sept 7, 1930).

Polish painter, sculptor and conceptual artist. In 1952–5 he studied art history at the Catholic University in Lublin. He was self-taught as an artist, and he made his first works at about the time of the formation of the group Zamek (Castle or Lock), which comprised young artists and theoreticians interested in the structural properties of works of art. His first pictures are abstracts with expressive subject-matter, usually executed in black (e.g. the Feast of Nebuchadnezzar, 1957; priv. col.)

In 1958 Borowski turned from pictures to objects. Using plastic odds and ends as ready-mades, he produced his first Artony—compositions from ikebana bowls, small plates and pieces of wire joined together with the intention of giving them the autonomy of living organisms. He subsequently added movement, electric light, fluid circulating in transparent tubes, and smells. The Manilusy (1963) were environments of loosely hung pieces of mirror distorting spatial perception and drawing the viewer into a game of illusion. These were soon followed by a series of ‘Syncretic Exhibitions’, which by ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Carshalton, Surrey, Mar 6, 1938; d London, July 1, 1966).

English painter and collagist. She studied stained glass at Wimbledon School of Art (1954–8), and at the Royal College of Art, London (1959–61). At the Royal College she continued to work with stained glass whilst privately making Surrealist-influenced collages and abstract paintings. Painting became the focus of her practice after finishing college, and in 1961 she exhibited alongside artists such as Peter Blake and two other painters in one of the first exhibitions of British Pop Art (London, AIA Gal.). Boty became a well-known personality in London during the 1960s, attracting attention for her striking looks and minor roles in television drama as well as through her reputation as a painter. In 1962 she and her eclectic collages were featured in Ken Russell’s BBC television film documenting British Pop, Pop Goes the Easel. By 1963 she had evolved a Pop vocabulary in her paintings using images of celebrities such as Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe with a celebratory and humorous approach to female sexuality. In ...

Article

Francis Summers

(b Glasgow, 1967).

Scottish installation artist and sculptor. Boyce studied at Glasgow School of Art, in the Department of Environmental Art, from 1986 to 1990, and, after a break of five years returned to Glasgow School of Art to complete his MA (1995 to 1997). He also visited the California Institute for the Arts, Valencia, in 1996. An early work Around Every Corner (1996; see 2000 exh. cat., pp. 18–19), made whilst still at college, is a wall painting that uses a grid and the words of its title. Combining the utopian tropes of the Modernist project with a sense of menace, Boyce made more wall drawings employing words and grids, such as Over Your Shoulder and Disappear Here (both 1999; see 2000 exh. cat., pp. 40–41 and p. 33 respectively). Other works directly reference Modernism by incorporating International Style design products. For example, Boyce used the classic Eames storage unit in ...

Article

John Steen

[Eugenius Antonius Maria]

(b Amsterdam, Jan 15, 1913; d Amsterdam, Jan 15, 2002).

Dutch painter and draughtsman. He studied at the Handelsschool (1927–31) and at the Kunstnijverheidsschool (1931–4), both in Amsterdam. During World War II he created Surreal assemblages and abstract drawings, and his work was shown for the first time in 1946 in the Jonge schilders exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. In August 1948 he joined the Dutch Experimentele Groep, which later became part of Cobra. Compared to the work produced by members of Cobra such as Constant or Karel Appel, his work is dreamy and poetic. His starting-point was the world of the child and humanity in its natural state, where magic, eroticism and cosmos are central notions, for example Walking House (1951; Copenhagen, Paul and Djula Lernø priv. col.). He collected ritual objects and music from primitive peoples.

Until 1960 Brands produced small-scale paintings on canvas and paper, depicting a world full of symbols such as arrows, lock and key and parts of the body. He also created such relief assemblages as ...

Article

Lewis Kachur

(b Argenteuil-sur-Seine, Seine-et-Oise, May 13, 1882; d Paris, Aug 31, 1963).

French painter, collagist, draughtsman, printmaker and sculptor. His most important contribution to the history of art was his role in the development of what became known as Cubism. In this Braque’s work is intertwined with that of his collaborator Pablo Picasso, especially from 1908 to 1912. For a long time it was impossible to distinguish their respective contributions to Cubism, for example in the development of Collage, while Picasso’s fame and notoriety overshadowed the quiet life of Braque.

His family moved in 1890 to Le Havre, where his father had a painting and decorating business. In 1897 Braque entered the municipal art school, where he met and became friendly with Othon Friesz and Raoul Dufy. He joined them in Paris at the turn of the century and, after a year of army service, settled in Montmartre in 1902. He began to visit the Musée du Louvre, where he encountered van Gogh’s work, and that October he began to study at the Académie Humbert, where his fellow students included Francis Picabia and Marie Laurencin. The following year he studied briefly with ...

Article

Susan Best

(b Sydney, Aug 8, 1919; d Sydney, April 19, 2005).

Australian sculptor, video, installation artist, and sound artist. Brassil received her initial art training at Sydney Teachers College, East Sydney Technical College, and Newcastle Technical College (1937–9). She taught art for 20 years at Campbelltown High School before commencing her exhibiting career in the early 1970s.

Brassil’s first recorded work is Trilogy: Twentieth Century Perception (1969–74; Sydney, U. W. Sydney). Trilogy is composed of three components: Sound Beyond Hearing (900×900×150 mm), Light Beyond Seeing (900×600×150 mm) and Memory Beyond Recall (1050×1050×150 mm). Unlike Brassil’s later works, these three components can be wall mounted. They are beautiful, highly finished, shallow black boxes, and two out of the three are electronic. Memory Beyond Recall has glowing lights veiled behind layers of paper that appear and then dim down and disappear. Light Beyond Seeing has a central lit portion that uses mirrors to suggest an infinitely deep space. The main themes of Brassil’s career—perception, sound, memory, and the transcendental realm—are all signalled in this early work....

Article

(b Brooklyn, NY, Nov 4, 1940).

American graphic designer, installation artist and design educator. De Bretteville attended Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, NY, and was included in the school’s Art Squad by teacher and artist Leon Friend, who submitted his students’ work to national competitions. She received a prestigious Alex Award, named after the designer Alex Steinweiss, also a former member of the Art Squad. She received a BA in art history from Barnard College, New York in 1962 and received her MFA in the graphic design program at Yale University’s School of Art in 1964. She joined the faculty of the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and founded the first design programme for women in 1970. In 1981 she founded the communication design programme at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles (now the Otis College of Art and Design), which was at the time affiliated with the Parsons School of Design in New York. In ...

Article

Isobel Whitelegg

revised by Cynthia Neri Lewis

(b Havana, 1968).

Cuban installation and performance artist, active also in the USA. In Havana she attended the Escuela de Artes Plasticas San Alejandro (1983–1987) and completed her first degree at the Instituto Superior de Arte (1987–1992). Bruguera is part of a generation of artists who emerged during Cuba’s “special period” (1989–1994), the period of extreme economic hardship brought about by the country’s sudden isolation from trade and aid following the collapse of the Soviet Bloc. In 1993 and 1994 she published two issues of an underground newspaper entitled Memoria de la postguerra (“Memory of the Postwar Era”), containing texts by Cuban artists, both those still in Cuba and those in exile. The paper displayed an interest in the affective power of information as it is circulated and withheld, a common theme of her later work.

Bruguera’s use of performance from the mid-1990s onwards brought her work to wider critical attention. In an early piece, ...

Article

Irene V. Small

(Roberto Barbosa )

(b Recife, March 21, 1949).

Irene V. Small

Brazilian multimedia and correspondence artist, film maker, and poet.

His early work of the mid- to late 1960s consisted of drawing, painting, and printmaking as well as poetry influenced by the Brazilian Poesia Concreta and Poema Processo movements. In 1969, the year his drawing O Guerrilheiro was censored by military police, he began to explore experimental practices associated with happenings, conceptual strategies, and new technologies. Beginning in 1970, he teamed up with the artist Daniel Santiago (b 1939), who taught at the Escola de Belas Artes of the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, to form ‘Equipe Bruscky–Santiago’. In collaborations that continued for another two decades, the pair realized witty, yet politically subversive actions ranging from environmental and urban interventions and performative events to propositions disseminated by way of telegrams, classified advertisements, and the mail. Bruscky developed independent works as well, often harnessing dark humour and linguistic puns to provoke and defamiliarize perceptions about art and institutionality. In ...

Article

Cecilia Suárez

(b Quito, Sept 8, 1939).

Ecuadorean painter, graphic designer, sculptor, installation artist, architect, and teacher. He studied architecture at the Universidad Nacional de Bogotá, Colombia. He worked for the Graham Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, DC, and received a grant to attend the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, where he worked with György Kepes. Later he became a professor at the arts faculty of the Universidad Central, Quito. Bueno worked first in graphic design before going on to experiment with the incorporation of technology into art, using laser beams, mechanical pumps, plastic, glass, and such elements as water, fire, and air, for example in 49 Tubes, exhibited at the Bienal de Arte Coltejer in Medellín in 1972. He also combined visual art with music in such works as Flame Orchards, with music by Paul Earls, which won joint first prize with Kepes in the same exhibition. Exploration into ecological and environmental art led him to experiment with the idea of an aerial view of the urban landscape incorporating military camouflage sheets....

Article

Lee Bul  

Joan Kee

(b Yongwol, Kangwon Province, Jan 25, 1964).

Korean mixed media and performance artist. Lee studied sculpture at Hongik University in Seoul. Upon graduation Lee staged performance-based works in venues throughout Seoul and Tokyo during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Many of these performances concerned the subject of the human body and deployed the strategy of masquerade to parody and hyperbolize masculine representations of women. At this time Lee also began creating sculptural installations that marked the beginning of her long-standing use of such non-traditional materials as resin, sequins, foam, and rubber. Such materials were often used for their symbolic associations as well as their formal properties.

From around 1996, Lee moved towards an exploration of the imagined body. The references that Lee drew upon became increasingly abstract, although she consistently maintained her interest in exploring the role of formal qualities, such as colour, scale, and texture, in producing meaning. Lee moved from works such as I Need You/Hydra...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

revised by Courtney Gerber

(b Fort Frances, Ont., Aug 29, 1966).

Canadian installation artist active in England. She studied at Goldsmiths’ College, London, graduating in 1988. In the same year she exhibited alongside artists such as Damien Hirst in the influential exhibition Freeze, curated by Hirst. Critics quickly identified the artists in this exhibition, including Bulloch, as the Young Britist Artists (YBAs), a nomenclature with which Bulloch expressed discomfort because it suggested a hermetic grouping (Bussel, p. 33). Bulloch’s work consistently focuses on interfaces and context shifts, it explores the myriad of outcomes and power plays brought about when contact between audience and art, site and art, form and content, or a combination of these connections occurs within given boundaries. In her interactive pieces, viewers perform some kind of action in order to trigger a response from the work at hand. Because Bulloch sets the parameters within which such interactions transpire, viewers do not gain absolute control over the artwork, in spite of their collaboration in its interpretation. In ...

Article

dele jegede

(Olatunji)

(b Oshogbo, 1943).

Nigerian mixed-media artist, printmaker and sculptor. He was trained as an electrician and provided stage lighting for the Lapido theatre group before training at the Mbari Mbayo workshop in Oshogbo in 1964. His first exhibition was at the Goethe Institute in Lagos in 1967, the same year that he was commissioned to create a mosaic for the India Loom House, Lagos. In 1974 he completed a certificate course at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, with a sculpture emphasis. Although he began as a painter and experimented with linoleum cuts in the 1960s, he soon began to incorporate beads into his work, using multicoloured commercial beads to produce striking pieces. Using a palette that fully explores the vibrancy of primary and secondary hues, Buraimoh draws on themes derived from the human and animal worlds. He also draws on contemporary scenes and Nigeria's religious pluralism (Islam, Christianity and indigenous religions) to develop themes from Yoruba myth, as in ...

Article

Frazer Ward

(b Boston, MA, April 11, 1946; d Topanga Canyon, CA, May 10, 2015).

American performance and installation artist. Burden received a BA from Pomona College, Claremont, CA, and an MFA from the University of California, Irvine, in 1971. Burden made Minimalist sculptures, then viewer-activated sculptural works, before abandoning object-based work in favour of performance for his MFA thesis exhibition, Five Day Locker Piece (26–30 April 1971), when he was locked for five days in a conventional locker, 600 mm high, 600 mm wide, 600 mm deep (the locker above contained five gallons of water, the locker below an empty five-gallon bottle). Burden’s performances, from the 1970s into the early 1980s, frequently involved situations that were apparently dangerous to himself, notoriously so in Shoot (19 Nov 1971; Santa Ana, CA, F Space; see also Body art), in which he arranged to be shot in the left arm by a friend using a .22 gauge rifle from a distance of about 4.5 m—a work that took place in the context of the Vietnam War and tested its invited audience’s relationship to violence and its representation. Other performances tested audience reactions by more passive means, as in ...

Article

Alfred Pacquement

(b Boulogne-Billancourt, Seine-et-Oise, March 25, 1938).

French painter and conceptual artist. He graduated from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Métiers d’Art, Paris, in 1960. After 1966 he developed an aesthetic form that rejected all formal exploration and gave importance solely to the positioning of the work of art. In particular he devised the formula of alternating white and coloured vertical stripes. This became his exclusive mark, at first as a member of the BMPT group with Olivier Mosset (b 1944), Parmentier and Niele Toroni (b 1937). He painted his stripes on a whole range of different supports in various inappropriate settings. After abandoning the idea of painting as object he proposed a critical analysis of painting that would henceforth be like wallpaper pasted up in the streets of Paris, rather like the huge canvas stretched across the middle of the Guggenheim Museum in New York (1971). In his many installations in galleries and museums as well as in the open or in the city, he responded to the surrounding space or the context of an exhibition with great acuity. His work often has a decorative quality, as can be seen in his controversial creation in the courtyard of the Palais Royal in Paris, ...

Article

Hilary Gresty

(b Sheffield, July 24, 1941).

English conceptual artist, writer and photographer. He studied painting at the Royal College of Art from 1962 to 1965 and philosophy and fine art at Yale University from 1965 to 1967. From the late 1960s he adhered to Conceptual art using combinations of photographic images and printed texts to examine the relationship between apparent and implicit meaning. In his ...

Article

Jorge Glusberg

(b Paraná, Entre Ríos, Dec 28, 1942).

Argentine painter, draftsman, and collagist. She studied at the Escuela Provincial de Artes Visuales in Paraná and at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes “Ernesto de la Cárcova” in Buenos Aires. Taking the cue for her well-crafted works from Surrealism but concentrating her attention on fortuitous encounters in everyday life, she fluctuated between a meticulously detailed photographic realism and an artificial imagery of old porcelain dolls and turn-of-the-century postcards, posters, and advertising handbills. Generally working in series, she combined the sinister and the humorous, sometimes in a single work, as in Sublime Portrait of my Mother (1978; see Glusberg 1985, 455), a frontal view of a masked woman with a vacant and enigmatic smile. An early triptych, the Family of the Condemned (1974), is in the national collection in Buenos Aires (Mus. N. B.A.).

Glusberg, J. Del Pop-art a la Nueva Imagen. Buenos Aires, 1985, pp. 455–458....