“Shapeless assembly”, a new international trend

A new artistic scene is blooming, from New York to Berlin. And the works in question? Strange assemblies of heterogeneous materials, indistinct unstable sculptures, sometimes the fruit of joyful post-Duchamp bricolage. AMA has wondered why their reception is more subdued in France than elsewhere. A trend decoded. Coloured plastic drips and hangs from a piece of wood. Undefineable shapes from a mishmash of materials, punkish tubular creatures, newly obsolete machines hooked up to geometric structures… Perhaps you’ve already come across one of these creations at a young gallery or at a fair? What is it that you’re looking at? A history of our society, an encounter of different materials, or something else altogether? Does our proximity to the visual environment make it more difficult to find the distance needed to understand these works? Does the “newness” of these aesthetic forms disturb our habits? Like the Dadaists and the Fluxus movement, these artists escape from classifications for now. Their apparently incomprehensible works take on different shapes and develop a host of ideas, all the while referring to various artistic movements. Yet a number of common features helps us to grasp what is happening before us and to make out the outlines of a new artistic scene. Born in the 1980s, these artists belong to the same generation. As students in the mid-2000s, at a time when the Internet and globalisation were in full boom, they joined the working brigade in the midst of economic, social, ecological, political crisis… Their society is global and open, but also violent and dystopian. In their ambivalence, everything seems possible to them, but at the same time, nothing at all. Their productions resemble assemblies, associated – in the eyes of those of us who care to look – with the notions of heterogeneity, materiality, shapelessness....

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Oscar Tuazon or the necessity of sculpture

This year, Oscar Tuazon is taking over the Place Vendôme as part of the FIAC’s Hors les Murs programme. Using polyethylene pipe segments – usually employed for water-management purposes –, the American artist has come up with a (very) big-format work. Explanations. By using simple or everyday materials, Oscar Tuazon carries out experiments that are often connected with the environment. A practice which allows him to shine light to the ecological issues that are so dear to him. In this case, the theme of water, in relation with the history of Paris, a city where the artist lived for a few years. Tuazon takes a unique approach to his sculpture practice: he focuses as much on materials as he is nourished by his relationship to text and writing. Today represented in Paris by the Galerie Chantal Crousel, Oscar Tuazon lived in the French capital in the 2000s, and was cofounder of the gallery Castillo/Corrales in the Belleville district, along with critics Thomas Boutoux, François Piron and Benjamin Thorel. This research space – today closed, after eight years of existence – blended exhibitions and texts, debates and publishing. It was Oscar Tuazon who gave the venue its name, inspired by boxing fights. These days, the artist lives in Los Angeles, and continues to combine profoundly physical work with text, writing, poetry. For the carte blanche accorded to him by the Place Vendôme in Paris, he tells Art Media Agency that he immediately thought about a “horizontal monument. A human-scale monument that you can walk through. Like Gustave Courbet, who supported the demolition of the Vendôme column during Paris’ Commune period, this is the position I prefer for the column. It’s an ad hoc monument for water, in a city which was constructed around fluidity.” For the Place Vendôme, Tuazon has...

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The V&A’s robot artist

On 18 May 2016, the V&A Museum unveiled its new installation designed by a “robot artist”. It will be one of the attractions of the V&A’s Engineering Season. This large-scale installation is not the work of a known artist, or even a human being. The author of the Elytra Filament Pavilion is in fact a robot. The installation results from four years of research into architecture, engineering and biochemistry, establishing links between the structure of biological fibres and those offered by architecture. Though spanning 200 m2, the pavilion gives an impression of lightness, and is inspired by constructions found in nature. We can thus recognise the fibrous structures of the wings of a certain ladybird variety going by the name of Elytra. The pavilion will evolve over time in response to visitor movements in the John Madjeski Garden. This installation presents a meeting of the artificial and the natural, with artifice imitating nature, thus shattering the classic distinction between nature and culture. There is no doubt that this installation will attract the curiosity of members of the public who will seem like flies or aphids trapped by this mechanical ladybird. The installation can be viewed in the John Madjeski Garden of the V&A until 6...

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Trong Gia Nguyen wins Miami Beach Pulse Prize 2015

The Pulse Contemporary Art Fair have announced that Brooklyn- and Ho Chi Minh City–based artist Trong Gia Nguyen has won the fair’s 2015 Miami Beach Pulse Prize. Nguyen’s work was brought to the fair by mc2gallery, which is based in Milan, Italy. At Pulse, Nguyen showed an installation in which viewers entered through a saloon door cut in the shape of a lynched man’s silhouette. Once inside, viewers saw various sculptures by Nguyen, one of which was a dartboard cut to look like a leaping person. In a statement, Nguyen, who received $2,500 as part of the prize, called the work “a wrestling match in which the viewer can never win.” The jurors for this year’s prize were Lucas Museum of Narrative Art director Don Baciagalupi, Art Production Fund executive director Casey Fremont, Cultured editor-in-chief Sarah Harrelson, and NYU Department of Photography and Imaging chair Deborah Willis. Nguyen’s work was chosen out of a pool of 17 nominated...

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Nicholas Lobo at the Pérez Art Museum Miami

Currently at the Pérez Art Museum Miami, is the exhibition “The Leisure Pit” by Nicolas Lobo, running until 13 December 2015. The exhibition is showing new works made by Lobo. Commissioned for one of PAMM’s project galleries, The Leisure Pit is a site-based installation encompassing a group of mixed-media sculptures, which the artist cast inside a swimming pool using an experimental process. The ensemble relates to Lobo’s interest in the intersections among cultural, technological, and corporeal systems of consumption. Lobo (born in 1979, in Los Angeles) lives in Miami. Lobo’s inspiration for his productions range from fringe subcultures and hidden networks—the Raëlian movement, the Go-Go dance scene, illicit pirate radio—to points of contact within the urban milieu— illegal drug fabrication sites, informal...

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