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Status of the Art

LXRY List 2023, the annual wow magazine with innovative items and surprising addresses, a list that inspires and points to the future. New times are dawning due to technological possibilities. This also applies to the art world. A few examples of art, marked by the spirit of the times.

Aerial sculptures

What would the Sagrada Familia look like once the structure was completed? Or the Colosseum in complete condition? Studio Drift has visualized this using illuminated drones. To this end, it has developed advanced software over the past two years that makes it possible to create sculptures, installations and performances in the air. The idea came about when Notre Dame was destroyed by flames. “We thought about rebuilding the cathedral with light,” says Ralph Nauta (b. 1978, UK), co-founder of Studio Drift. “The efforts and craftsmanship in which such buildings were built in the past teach us to rediscover the patience that came with it as a society. Studio Drift's drone technology could also be applied in architecture and urban planning to make the impact of new buildings visible. Text: Bart-Jan Brouwer

Mesmerized by emptiness

The Biennale de Reneva at Bonifacio took place in Corsica for the first time in 2022. It produced beautiful art in centuries-old buildings and forts and at beautiful outdoor locations. The works of art were spread across six different places with a total of thirteen participating artists. The trail led along the steep rocky coast of the Bonifacio Peninsula and started at the famous Genoese citadel on a high cliff on the coast. The work was there Decency by the internationally renowned artist Anish Kapoor (b. IN, 1954): you saw a dark vortex of water spiraling endlessly downwards into a well. From the beginning of his career, Kapoor has focused his work on a symbiosis between nature, intellect and technology. He is also mesmerized by emptiness, such as a hole in the ground or in a sculpture that provides a beautiful vanishing point and raises questions. In passing, he wonders in his work what the definition of a sculpture actually is. Kapoor, originally from India, has been living and working in London for years. His work is in important museums around the world, such as the MOMA in New York, the Tate Modern in London, the Gugenheim Museum in Venice and, last but not least, Museum Depont in Tilburg. |

Anish Kapoor, Decension

Around the world in flip-flops

Plastik: Die Welt neu Denken, is the title of an exhibition that opened at the end of March 2022 at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein and which then traveled to the V&A Museum in Dundee. The exhibition was entirely devoted to the industrial use of plastic and other plastics from the 90s onwards. Garden chairs, Barbie dolls, telephones, waterproof rainwear and especially PET bottles: absolutely everything could be made of plastic. That optimistic sense of life has now disappeared. Hundreds of millions of pounds of plastic float in our oceans and rivers, leaving tiny microparticles in our food and drinking water. The exhibition therefore also paid a lot of attention to recycling and alternative applications for plastic. For example, a video was shown of the famous Ocean Cleanup Project by the Dutch engineer and activist Boyan Slat, who has set the goal of removing 2015 percent of all plastic from the oceans. The FlipFlopi Project was also discussed extensively. A fantastic initiative that originated in XNUMX in Kenya, based on an idea by initiator Ben Morison. He had a traditional sailing boat (dhow) recreated from recycled plastic flip-flops: these flip-flops became the most important raw material for the boat. Since then, a permanent crew has been sailing it across the oceans and docking in various countries to generate environmental awareness.

The Flipflopi

The downside of glitz and glamour

The installation In pursuit of Bling by Otobong Nkanga (b. NG, 1974) was displayed last year during the exhibition At least Sustainable Until, in Museum Arnhem. An exhibition about whether art can influence the way people interact with the earth. The 'bling' in the title of the work refers negatively to products such as jewelry, expensive cars, mobile phones and luxury accessories. In short: the appeal of glitz and glamor that these types of products have on the discerning consumer. Does he realize that all those luxury products require a lot of raw materials, which are often found on African soil? Mining it involves a lot of chemicals and pollution, and is extremely harmful to the environment and the planet. Moreover, the workers are often underpaid. With woven tapestries, video images and minerals, Otobong Nkanga shows how harmful the hunt for raw materials for luxury goods is. Her installation brings us face to face with the facts: what price do we all pay for this prosperity, which only benefits a select audience?

Photo Eva Broekema | Museum Arnhem June 2022

The lost paradise

During Paradys, an impressive outdoor exhibition that took place in the summer of 2022 in the Frisian park landscape Oranjewoud, fifteen renowned internationally operating artists investigated well-known stories that guide us. The makers also looked at whether those stories could be converted into new narratives. Jakob Kudsk Steensen (b. DK, 1987) was one of the participants. In his immersive virtual reality works, Steensen recreates landscapes and nature reserves that are difficult to reach, have disappeared or are under attack. With powerful and seductive installations he creates a hybrid art form between technology and nature. Steensen lets the viewer experience what it feels like to walk around in paradise lost. For Re-Animated, his installation for Paradys which revolves around an extinct bird, you could see the extinct bird (the Kaua'i 'o'o) flying again with virtual reality glasses. A bird that lived in the dense swamp forest of the Hawaiian island of Kaua'i and became extinct around 1987. The Kaua'i 'o'o continues to capture the imagination with its moving mating song, which was captured on tape by a biologist in 1987 and then posted to YouTube in 2009. The lonely bird's call slowly fades away, as if it has given up its hope of mating – and therefore surviving. In Re-Animated Steensen gives the bird a new life.

Jakob Kudsk Steensen, still image from Re-animated (2019) | Image courtesy of the Artist


Curious about more? The new LXRY List 2023 is out now! The annual wow magazine with innovative items and surprising addresses, a list that inspires and points to the future. Due to technological possibilities, new times are dawning...