Inflated Rhetoric

Swedish graffiti artist Daniel Fahlström makes trompe l’oeil murals of mylar balloon letters — there are no balloons, just the two-dimensional painted surface, but the effect is stunningly deceiving.

“I’ve seen a lot of reactions from people, and the funniest one was when this old lady that wasn’t wearing her glasses, she was trying to go up and touch the balloons,” he told Business Insider. “That’s good if they think that’s real balloons. That’s my mission, to make them believe that.”

Light and Shadow

yamashita building blocks

Building Blocks, by Kumi Yamashita. “I sculpt using both light and shadow. I construct single or multiple objects and place them in relation to a single light source. The complete artwork is therefore comprised of both the material (the solid objects) and the immaterial (the light or shadow).”

More.

Practice

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Margaret_Isabel_Dicksee_The_Child_Handel_1893.jpg

Margaret Isabel Dicksee’s 1893 painting The Child Handel is based on a story about the composer’s childhood:

Handel’s father strongly opposed the child’s passionate love for music, and the more his great gifts developed the more severely was he forbidden to occupy himself with music. The little boy was obliged to have recourse to subterfuge, and when his elders believed him snug in bed he used to steal on tip-toe to the lumber-room, where he had discovered an old spinet, on which he played softly to his heart’s content, alone and fancy-free. In one of these moments of enjoyment, when the divine genius spoke to the child, he forgot himself and played louder and louder — all the sound of the old spinet streamed through the silent night, waking the sleepers in the house, who believed that the angels were keeping vigil over the old town of Halle. But little George’s father bethought himself of the musical propensities of the boy, and, as the latter was not to be found in his bed, the lantern was lit and a search-party followed where the music led them. Alas! Poor George was found, severely reprimanded, and dismissed to bed.

This telling is from the Strand, April 1904. The story is disputed, but Handel did display enough skill as a child to induce Duke Johann Adolf I to recommend him for musical instruction.

The Bavinger House

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bavinger_Exterior.JPG

Norman, Okla., got an architectural landmark in 1955 when architect Bruce Goff completed an “organic house” for artists Nancy and Eugene Bavinger. Surmounted by a logarithmic spiral upheld by a recycled oil field drill stem, the Bavinger House had no interior walls — each “room” was a saucer suspended from the ceiling, reached by a stairway from the ground floor, which was mostly water and plants. The residents hung their clothes on rotating rods in hanging copper closets, and the entire house was air-cooled.

The Bavingers began to charge visitors $1 to view the house, eventually raising $50,000 in this way. One tourist told them, “I couldn’t live in it, but I wish I could.” The house fell into an extended vacancy, though, and by the time the “home for a lover of plants” was demolished in 2016, it had “become as choked with vegetation as a lost temple in the jungle.”

https://books.google.com/books?id=t1YEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA155#v=onepage&q&f=false

Drawing Customers

Seoul’s Drawing Cafe is styled like a two-dimensional cartoon. Inspired by the Korean television show W, in which characters move between the real world and a fantasy world inside a webtoon, the café has designed its furniture, walls, floors, mugs, dishes, and cutlery to look like flat line drawings.

More on the café’s Instagram page.

Growing Room

corbusier spiral

How can an art gallery accommodate a growing collection? In 1931 Le Corbusier proposed a Musée à croissance illimitée that would grow like a snail’s shell, coiling in a rectangular spiral as needs required and as funds became available.

“The means of orienting one’s self in the museum is provided by the rooms at half-height which form a ‘swastika,'” he explained. “Every time a visitor, in the course of his wanderings, finds himself under a lowered ceiling he will see, on one side, an exit to the garden, and on the opposite side, the way to the central hall. The Museum can be developed to a considerable length without the square spiral becoming a labyrinth.”

He presented the idea as a museum for Philippeville in North Africa in 1939, in a town planning project for Saint-Dié in 1945, and in a competition design to reconstruct the center of Berlin in 1958, but it was never realized.

(From Ulrich Conrads and Hans G. Sperlich, The Architecture of Fantasy, 1962.)

Multimedia

alexander nevsky sequence diagram

For his 1938 film Alexander Nevsky, Sergei Eisenstein worked so closely with composer Sergei Prokofiev that individual shots in the climactic “battle on the ice” were timed to correspond to the length of musical phrases.

Their collaboration during editing to marry music and imagery set the modern standard for filmmakers; Valery Gergiev, principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, called Prokofiev’s score “the best ever composed for the cinema.”

Cthulhu Fhtagn

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jasoneppink/16910419
Image: Flickr

In 2005, as the Art League of Houston planned to demolish two houses it owned, it invited sculptors Dan Havel and Dean Ruck to transform them first. So they peeled off the buildings’ skins and arranged them into a vortex to another dimension.

Six years later they extended the same treatment to other dilapidated houses in Houston:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/eschipul/6208584442
Image: Flickr
https://www.flickr.com/photos/eschipul/6208463556
Image: Flickr

Stolpersteine

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stolperstein_of_Frau_Liebermann.JPG
Image: Wikimedia Commons

The streets of Europe are studded with thousands of brass plates, each marking the last residence of an individual before their extermination or persecution by the Nazis. German artist Gunter Demnig began the project in 1992, installing the first plate before Cologne’s city hall to mark the 50th anniversary of Heinrich Himmler’s “Auschwitz decree” ordering the deportation of Sinti and Roma to extermination camps. In the ensuing 15 years he laid more than 13,000 stolpersteine in more than 280 cities, and last October the 70,000th stolperstein was installed in Frankfurt, Germany, for Willy Zimmerer, who was “euthanized” in 1944 at age 43.

Each plate is engraved with the victim’s name and dates of birth, deportation, and death, as well as the words Hier wohnte … (“Here lived …”) to emphasize the immediacy of the memorial, “tripping up” passersby (stolperstein means “stumbling stone”). “I wanted to bring back the names of the Jews who lived, loved, had children and a normal life, who lived in these houses,” Demnig has said. “It’s my life. We can’t allow this part of history to pass into oblivion.”

(Thanks, Hanno.)