Gabions as Art & Architecture

At Whitstable Harbour gabions have been put to good use in the construction of a remarkable feature. Approaching the construction I could see an intriguing pale line across the darker pebbles, very reminiscent of the pale lines of empty oyster shells that I had just been seeing on the pebble beaches between the breakwaters. Closer inspection proved the pale line to be a symbolic tide line of man-made decorated ceramic pebbles. The feature is known as the Deck at Dead Man’s Corner and is supposed to resemble the bow of a ship, the wall a pebbly beach, and the vertical timber structures are made to the same specification as the groynes along the shore. The ‘tide line’ is a key feature of white ceramic pebbles set into the face of the wall. These were made by local people during a series of public workshops and classes held at the Community College Whitstable. The whole structure comprises seating and a stage built in 2011 for gatherings and events.

The Hive at Kew

The Hive installation and experience at Kew Gardens, London.

“The Hive is a unique world class installation and experience created by artist Wolfgang Buttress, Simmonds Studio, Stage One and BDP. Pollination is important for our food security – one third of global crop yield is dependent, to some extent, on bees and other pollinators. In highlighting the importance of pollination in our food chain, The Hive poses one of the most pressing questions of our time – how can we protect our pollinators in order to feed our growing population? Illuminated by almost 1,000 LED lights, The Hive represents a vast honey bee hive. It’s linked to one of Kew’s hives and the lights flicker in time to vibrations caused when the bees communicate with one another. Wolfgang was inspired by work of Dr. Martin Benscik at Nottingham Trent University, who has developed technology to monitor the health of bee hives. His research is a prime example of how British science and creativity is helping solve global challenges.”

“What’s the buzz?

Experience four types of vibration caused by honey bees as they communicate inside a hive. Hear these bee “messages” through bone conduction where vibrations pass through bones in your head, instead of through your eardrums. The vibrations have been recorded using accelerometers by Dr. Martin Benscik, reader in physics in Nottingham Trent University.”

Accompanying the 17 metre high structure is a beautiful symphony of orchestral sounds performed in the key of C – the same key that bees buzz in. Together, the sound and light swell and diminish as the energy levels in Kew’s beehive surge.”

Quotes from on-site information noticeboards at The Hive in Kew Gardens

Stillness Born of History II at Neo Bankside

Carved stone head by Emily Young displayed at Neo Bankside in LondonBeautifully textured and patterned onyx with volcanic pyroclastic breccia has been used by the famous sculptor Emily Young to create this fabulous head called Stillness Born of History II displayed (courtesy of Bowman Sculpture) at Neo Bankside in London, England, just south of the Tate Modern Gallery. Pyroclastic breccia is composed of fine-grained volcanic ash, pumice, and rock fragments larger than 2.5 inches (63.5 mm). When the fragments are smaller than this, the rock is called tuff.

Clastic Igneous Rock – Tempesta at Neo Bankside

Carved head called Tempesta made from clastic igneous rock by Emily Young

This wonderful sculpture, Tempesta, is one of a group carved with consummate skill by Emily Young from multi-patterned and textured clastic igneous rock. I am unable to find the source of the stone.  It is displayed, courtesy of Bowman Sculpture, at Neo Bankside behind the Tate Modern Gallery in London, England. The rock is amazing in its complexity and the work has taken advantage of the challenging medium by exploiting both its natural beauty and its flaws.

Carved head called Tempesta made from clastic igneous rock by Emily Young

Carved head called Tempesta made from clastic igneous rock by Emily Young

Carved head called Tempesta made from clastic igneous rock by Emily Young

Carved head called Tempesta made from clastic igneous rock by Emily Young

Ai Weiwei’s River Crabs

Ai Weiwei porcelain river crab installation He Xie at the Royal Academy of Arts in London

Three thousand porcelain river crabs make up an installation by Ai Weiwei at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. The exhibit is called “He Xie” which means river crabs but the word has the same Chinese pronunciation and spelling as the word for harmonious. Harmonious is internet slang in China for censorship.

Funny Fungi at Kew

 

These huge willow basketwork sculptures were made by Tom Hare and displayed in the open-air setting of Kew Gardens in London during September 2013. Inspired by a visit to Kew’s fungarium, the sculptor and artist created this work called “Fungi Fairy Ring” by weaving willows onto steel frames. Some of the willows were stripped of bark to achieve a whiter colour that suggests the pale parts of fungi; while other willows were boiled to give a darker appearance like that found in the gills. Altogether a very striking and apt display to enjoy on a late summer walk around Kew.

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2014

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A Copper Coast Geopark Sculpture

 

We swerved off and parked a while to get a closer look at this fantastic sculpture as we drove along the coast road between Annestown and Bunmahon in southern Ireland. The monumental block of limestone with brightly coloured mosaic inlays is called “Ice, Fire and Water” has been carved by Colette O’Brien. It stands overlooking Dunabrattin Head near Boatstrand, and symbolises the elemental forces that gave rise to this spectacular stretch of rocky shoreline, and celebrates the establishment of the Copper Coast Geopark of which it is a part.

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2014

All Rights Reserved

A Maximis ad Minima

The head of the sculpture entitled "A Maximis Ad Minima" by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (1998)

A Maximis ad Minima is a sculpture by Eduardo Paolozzi in Kew Gardens, London, UK, meaning From the Greatest to the Least. It is a large bronze work composed of multiple abstract, figurative and mechanical elements assembled together on a shallow two tiered base. Includes rectangles, squares, planar, volumetric and curving forms, two feet, two hands (holding a set of cylindrical handles/gears), a geometric head, a sphere with geometric shapes cut out of it, discs, shafts, wheels and planks of wood. Mounted on a low stone plinth (VADS).

The message of the work may be obscure or open to interpretation but whatever one’s subjective intrepretation, the message is a powerful one – it certainly provokes both thought and emotion.

See also Head of Invention by the same sculptor.

A hand on the sculpture entitled "A Maximis Ad Minima" by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (1998)

A hand on the sculpture entitled "A Maximis Ad Minima" by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (1998)

Feet on the sculpture entitled "A Maximis Ad Minima" by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (1998)

Feet on the sculpture entitled "A Maximis Ad Minima" by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (1998)

Aspect of the sculpture entitled "A Maximis Ad Minima" by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (1998)

Aspect of the sculpture entitled "A Maximis Ad Minima" by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (1998)

Aspect of the sculpture entitled "A Maximis Ad Minima" by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (1998)

Aspect of the sculpture entitled "A Maximis Ad Minima" by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (1998)

Plaque on the sculpture entitled "A Maximis Ad Minima" by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (1998)

Plaque on the sculpture entitled "A Maximis Ad Minima" by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (1998)

Plaque on the sculpture entitled "A Maximis Ad Minima" by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (1998)

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2013

All rights reserved

Mosaiculture – Mother Earth

Mosaiculture tableau of sculptures made with living plants entitled "Mother Earth"Mosaiculture tableau of sculptures made with living plants entitled "Mother Earth"At nearly 15 metres high, “Mother Earth” is another of the spectacular plant sculptures on display at the Jardin Botanique de Montreal as part of the Mosaicultures Internationales 2013 Exhibition. These photographs were taken in June after a late spring, and consequently the bedding plants inserted on the surface of the sculpture had not yet grown to their full extent. Once the plants are full size, they would conceal all the ‘joins’ in the membrane that covers the sculptures and render a smooth, even surface. The flowers when in full bloom would also add the right effect. In fact, as the plants grow through the season, constant maintenance is required – dead-heading the flowers and trimming back excess foliage.

Mosaiculture tableau of sculptures made with living plants entitled "Mother Earth"This particular tableau about Mother Earth, as she is named by North America’s First Nations, is based on excerpts of Chief Seattle’s speech to the then President of the United States Franklin Pierce in 1854 on the occasion of the sale of native land to white settlers. [In other countries and mythologies Mother Earth is variously known as Pacha Mama, Gaia, Terra Mater, Mahimata, and Eorban Modor].

I quote these excerpts from the sign adjacent to the tableau:

The white man must treat the beasts of this land as his brothers.

We are part of the Earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters, the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man, all belong to the same family.

The shining water that moves in streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors.

The water’s murmur is the voice of my father’s father.

The air is precious to the red man, for all things share the same breath – the beast, the tree, man, they all share the same breath.

What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of the spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man.

Preserve the memory of this earth as (we) deliver it. And with all your strength, your spirit and your heart, preserve it for your children and love it as God loves us all.

Mosaiculture tableau of sculptures made with living plants entitled "Mother Earth"

Mosaiculture tableau of sculptures made with living plants entitled "Mother Earth"

Mosaiculture tableau of sculptures made with living plants entitled "Mother Earth"

Mosaiculture tableau of sculptures made with living plants entitled "Mother Earth"

Mosaiculture sculpture horses made with living plants as part of "Mother Earth" tableau.

Mosaiculture sculpture horses made with living plants as part of "Mother Earth" tableau.

Mosaiculture sculpture horses made with living plants as part of "Mother Earth" tableau.

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2013

All rights reserved