Engels at Home

A statue of Frederick Engels has been transported from near Kharkiv, Ukraine, to Manchester –

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– where it is to be part of a new arts building called Home.

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In the 1880s, the Engels family moved to Primrose Hill in London where they shared a social life with their friend nearby, Karl Marx. Gavin McCrea’s recent novel speculates about their life-style.

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Some other statues of Engels and Marx survive the political changes in Russia, more than 25 years ago. Both men had been strongly influenced by Newton and Darwin, understanding that motion and change are basic to all life processes.

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Motion and change are clearly absent here, except with the red-coated admirer.

Summer Frieze

This year’s sculpture exhibition in Regent’s Park London is brought forward to the summer, many weeks before the Frieze Art show. As usual, some of the exhibits have a scientific theme.takuro-kuwataunt-0.jpg

T. Kuwata’s ceramic shapes look like excrement or blue slime on golden or pink phalluses.

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The aluminium Silver Moon by U. Rondinone reflects the vegetation and human onlookers around it. But it is a dead tree with broken branches. Without life it has a ghostliness in the late afternoon sun.

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M Barcelo’s elephant has an unnatural balance and a rough texture. It is 8m high and wants to penetrate the earth.magdalena-abakan.jpg

A headless figure beside the wheel is by M. Abakanowicz, compares fragile organic form with heavy machinery. That is the painful business of war and of working the land.

Mobiles

There is a new exhibition of mobile sculpture by Alexander Calder at the Whitney Gallery in New York. Scientist can monitor the changes. The resulting patterns mean that Calder’s art can be extended to create new rhythms, shapes and relationships.

Double-click on the image below.

Fake Demons

Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable is at the Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana, Venice, 9 April – 3 December. The show is from the same artist who put a tiger shark in a glass tank of formaldehyde.

Detail from Demon with Bowl
Demon with Bowl D Hirst  (Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst)
Hirst now claims a role of archaeological impresario. In 2008 the wreck of a treasure ship called the Apistos (Unbelievable) was found on the seabed off east Africa. According to the myth, it sank about 2,000 years ago. This is its cargo and Hirst has assembled an underwater grotto in his mind where artefacts and monsters live.

Sphinx by Damien Hirst.

Sphinx by Damien Hirst (Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images)

Calendar Stone by Damien Hirst.

Calendar Stone by Damien Hirst (Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images)
Detail from Hydra and Kali by Damien Hirst.
Detail from Hydra and Kali by Damien Hirst (Andrea Merola/AP)
Skull of a Cyclops and Skull of a Cyclops Examined by a Diver.
Skull of a Cyclops and Skull of a Cyclops (Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.)

Aspect of Katie Ishtar ¥o-landi.

Aspect of Katie Ishtar ¥o-landi (Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd)

Plastic

The “Plastic Show” at the Almine Rech Gallery in London is by Melissa Castro Duarte.

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It brings together works by DeWain Valentine and four of his contemporaries — Mary Corse, Robert Irwin, Craig Kauffman and John McCracken — who were all experimenting with newly available materials in Venice and Santa Monica in the 1960s.

Valentine’s acrylic sculptures suggest the air is “becoming a substance”: They’re vast glossy blocks, columns, discs and lozenges that change color as you move around them and gaze in and through them. “All my work is really about the sky and the sea,” he says.

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The high sheen of his sculptures comes from buffing and lacquering, techniques used in his parents’ garage. Works in the show by John McCracken, by contrast,  are constructed from plywood and fiberglass with a glossy shell of polyester resin, just like a surfboard.

Polyester is a synthetic polymer made of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) or its dimethyl ester dimethyl terephthalate (DMT) and monoethylene glycol(MEG).

PTA is 1,4 benzenedicarboxylic acid: C6H4(COOH)2, mol. weight: 166.13

DMT is 1,4 benzenedicarboxylic acid: C6H4(COOCH3)2, mol. weight: 194.19
MEG is 1,2 ethanediol: C2H6O2 , mol. weight: 62.07

Digital Grotesque

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Digital Grotesque is an architecture that defies classification and reductionism. It explores unseen levels of resolution and topological complexity in architecture by developing compositional strategies based on purely geometric processes.

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In the Digital Grotesque project,  algorithms create a form that appears at once synthetic and organic. The design process thus strikes a delicate balance between the expected and the unexpected, between control and relinquishment. The algorithms are deterministic as they do not incorporate randomness, but the results are not necessarily entirely forseeable. Instead, they have the power to surprise.

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The resulting architecture does not lend itself to a visual reductionism. Rather, the processes can devise truly surprising topographies and topologies that go far beyond what one could have traditionally conceived.

Digital Grotesque is between chaos and order, both natural and the artificial, neither foreign nor familiar. Any references to nature or existing styles are not integrated into the design process, but are evoked only as associations in the eye of the beholder.

The leading architects of this new approach are M. Hansmeyer, Zurich, and B. Dillenburger, Toronto.

http://www.michael-hansmeyer.com

http://www.benjamin-dillenburger.com

Mirrors

Not known for her interest in science, the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama shows such applications in her exhibition at Washington DC’s Infinity Mirrors at the Hirschhorn Museum.yk-infinityrooms-img-05.jpg

The mirrored environments are too small to take beyond the inner detail. They take the images away from the artistic and make the viewer search for technological and scientific explanations rather than any senses of feelings within the content.

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