Thursday, 25 February 2010

Clear, Green and Brown glass

This is the first attempt at resolving the module system that exists in my head. I imagine this system might be self supporting, for application primarily in decorative sculptural lighting but it could have applications beyond this realm. I imagine the modules would be cast using bottles and I guess the effect would be enhanced with an application in lighting.

Design Copyright © 2010 Youssef Daoud

It is starting to remind me of a clumsy version of a lego set, not sure how I'm feeling about it.

More cutlery...

Title Cutlery Candelabra
Artist Osian Batyka-Williams
Discarded cutlery is used to create natural forms in these candelabras. Floral shadows are created by the silhouette of the piece, growing larger the lower the candles burn.

Title Cutlery Chair
Artist Osian Batyka-Williams
Some restaurants change their cutlery as often as every nine months. The Cutlery Chair utilises these hard to recycle, unwanted cutlery pieces as building blocks to create truly unique pieces of functional furniture.

I'm not sure what the fascination with cutlery is, could it be that this is one of the most personal yet public of everyday objects? Designed to be used over and over again, here this intended cycle stops or continues in a different way?

Tom Hill

'Tom Hill is a 23 year-old self-taught sculptor who for the last 3 years has been working with recycled horseshoes to create life-size animal sculptures. Tom utilises a gas forge, anvil and hammer as well as various welding techniques to heat and shape the horseshoes to create his sculptures.'

Title Race Horse No.2

This is interesting because here the material being re-appropriated informs the subject of the work itself. Before seeing this I thought about producing a bust of the queen using one penny coiins, we'll see if I get round to it or if its a thought which should remain just a thought.

Tom Price

Understanding material properties and how materials will react to certain processes requires some intellect along with much experimental bravery. This piece by Tom Price shows a combination of these two qualities.

Piece Meltdown Chair PP Blue Rope
Date 2007
This chair is created by heating and pressing a seat-shaped former into a ball of polypropylene rope. The rope begins to liquify as it comes into contact with the heated former and, as it cools, it sets in the shape of a seat creating a contrast in form and texture to the remaining rope. No additional material has been added to make the seat - it is all made from melted rope.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Media & Viewpoints

It is no secret that media reporting on almost anything always has a bias, agenda or a vision. I am not against media reporting, on the contrary, I think it is great that in the world we live in today we have an awareness of what is happening across the globe. I associate the media with having opinions (social, political, economic etc) on reporting. In some cases this is site-specific to the place that is the subject or to the place that is the source. One area where this opinion is very powerfull and effective is in mass culture.

I feel that as a person of British/Egyptian Nationality, I am aware of two very different 'worlds' these are not actually 'worlds' apart and I am sure that there exist very similar circumstantial extremes of wealth and poverty, health and illness, safety and crime etc. In the context of my work, these viewpoints that I am personally aware of I envisage having a spatial consequence. I imagine this might manifest itself as a physical positioning of the viewer as in anamorphic projection perhaps or this might present as a simple visual effect as in the viewing of the columns in St Peter's in Rome. I am interested in the idea of having to look for meaning within spatial experiences which implies finding only what the viewer wants to find. Through movement the viewer has more exposure and more opportunity to explore the work.

This painting is a good illustration. I saw it recently myself and it made me think.

Title Madonna
Artist Slavador Dali
Date 1958
Photograph Amir Daoud

'Madonna is one of several works Dalí made after 1941 that uses classical imagery as the basis for Surrealist invention. Here, he paints two different simultaneous subjects with a profusion of gray and pink dots: a Madonna and Child based on Raphael's Sistine Madonna (Gemäldegalerie, Dresden, after 1513), and a large ear, whose ridged interior surface is defined by the presence of these two figures. Each motif is designed to come into focus at a different distance. At close range, the painting looks completely abstract; from about six feet away, it reveals the Madonna and Child; and from fifty feet, it is what the artist called "the ear of an angel." To the left of the main images is a trompe-l'oeil detail of a red cherry suspended on a string from a torn and folded piece of paper; its shadow is cast onto another piece of paper bearing the signature of the artist.'


To summarise, my work will strive to embody ideas surrounding the following.
Media representation
Re-appropriation and Recycling
Lighting design
Consumption, Consumerism and Capitalism


Accumulations and dissection of object is what Arman is most well known for. The body of work (that which is photographed on his website) is evidence of the his vision to accumulate, organise and assemble objects.

Title The Spirit of Yamaha
Date 1997
Sliced actual piano with two complete motorcycle

'Sculptor and painter whose best works and ideas kept the ability to surprise and delight for more than half a century.

THE artist Arman was associated in the public mind with his trademark handling of his materials: objects would be excitingly destroyed and then presented, often repetitively, stuck on board or canvas or reassembled in some striking fashion.

But Arman was no one-trick pony. If some of his pieces could seem formulaic, the work he produced in a career lasting nearly 60 years sustained a real ability to surprise and delight. And some of it was truly iconic, like the famous Long Term Parking, a towering monu
ment made of scrapyard cars set in concrete. Or the Martyrs' Monument in Beirut, which applied the same treatment to tanks. Or even, more modestly, the towers of old clocks and suitcases that greet travellers outside St Lazare station, Paris. Arman was a maker of sardonic or gleeful totems, and, like the Pop artists with whom he was so often associated, very much a product of the postwar boom years.


By the mid-1960s Arman was hot artistic property. He experimented with more spectacular ways of treating objects, smashing them for his Coleres (rages), sawing them into slices for his Coupes (cuts) or, as Klein had done, by going at the canvas with a blowtorch and setting the result in resin (Combustions). These works were taut with the tension between the semi-vandalistic violence that produced them and the strangely pleasing result, between the intense energy of the process and the final repose. There was also a kind of melancholy, too, associated with the discarded and exhausted.'

Date October 27, 2005, Thursday
Source The Times (London)

Title Hope for Peace
Location Beirut, Lebanon
Date 1976
Army tanks and armoured vehicles ambedded in concrete. 30 m - 4000 tonnes. Beyrouth, district of Yarzé, Lebanon.
Five thousand tons of concrete, 30 meters high, clasped around 78 tanks, jeeps and various artillery parts : this was Arman's very last monumental sculpture, erected in Beirut, in front of the Ministry of Defence. It is a works which strongly denounces the follies of man, with its defiantly ironic title "Hope for Peace". By its size, its cut, its harmonious appearance, it is a remarkable reflection of the image of a city which had long been reduced to the vision of buildings in ruins...


Michael Landy
Location London
Date 2001

The artist speaks about his work so there isn't much that I can say except for the themes that are relevant to my own work. These themes and ideas include consumerism, consumption, capitalism and belonging.

Tim Noble & Sue Webster

'P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center presents Tim Noble and Sue Webster, a selected survey of artworks by the renowned British artists. Partners in both life and art, Tim Noble (b. 1966) and Sue Webster (b. 1967) explore the toxic influences of consumer culture through new modes of portraiture. Turning garbage into complex and visually arresting sculptural installations, Noble and Webster exploit, manipulate, and transform base materials, often using self-portraiture to undermine the "celebrated" authorship of the artist.


Real Life is Rubbish (2002) consists of two separate piles of general household rubbish onto which a light is projected, creating a shadow self-portrait of Noble and Webster. Though resting with backs to each other and shoulders hunched, the axe and hammer in their hands indicate that there is work to be done. The contrast between the intricate rubbish assemblage of the foreground and the silent contemplative shadow builders of the background reminds us that artwork always involves a physical transformation, from rubbish to real life and back again.'

Artist Tim Noble and Sue Webster
Piece Real Life Is Rubbish (2002)
Mixed media, Variable dimensions
Courtesy of David Teiger

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Back to rubbish...

Its is easy to get caught up with the everyday objects but the next two posts are of artists work dealing with 'rubbish'. This interests me in the context of Garbage City.

Pravdoliub Ivanov

Another artist that turns the everyday object in something else to make us think about how we look them is the Bulgarian Pravdoliub Ivanov. His work ranges from objects and sculpture to installation and photography. Ivanov's work questions the conventional.

Piece There Are No Perfect Games,
Date 2008
Installation of modified found objects, dimensions variable.

Piece Hope, Hopeful, Hopefulness
Date 2005
Installation, manipulated traffic light, lighting only in green,
Location Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic

James Hopkins

I came across this work by the artist James Hopkins. Two pieces which I found particularly interesting are shown below. In a similar way to Maurer's "Porca Miseria", Hopkins' installations seem to use the ordinary and everyday to capture a moment in time.

Piece Kicks in the park
Date 2006
43.31 x 59.06 x 55.12 inches
Pièce unique
'Kicks in the Park' is a park bench held in fragile equilibrium by beer bottles acting as counter weight. Between triviality and precision, this work references the mischievous and destructive time spent by teenagers getting drunk in the park while also acknowledging balance as one of the fundamental concerns in the tradition of sculpture, here achieved through bottles of alcohol.

'American critic Brian Sholis beautifully sums up Hopkins’ practice by describing how he “slyly transforms everyday objects, imbuing them with the power of self-reflexive commentary, converting them into altogether different items, nudging them toward an “impossible” state that produces an astonished incredulity in those who behold them”. Hopkins’ work draws from the techniques of optical illusionism through which he involves viewers by teasing with their visual consciousness. His sculptures allude to Symbolist literature in their spin on decadence and the self-indulgence of dandy-ism: they recall the impermanence of objects and their persistence in memory, in a similar way Pop Art made use of iconic images derived from vain consumerism. His sculptures utilise everyday objects that are turned into impossible variations, even into sly commentaries of themselves. Seminal pieces include alterations of chairs, stools, tables, ladders or even pianos that achieve balance...'


I find the humour and symbolism of Hopkins' work very attractive with a much deeper underlying meaning than that visible at first glance. This work below clearly illustrates that.

Piece Acid Rain
Date 2006
75.98 x 75.98 x 101.18 inches
Pièce unique
'Acid Rain' is a standard garden greenhouse whose mirrored walls turn it into a kaleidoscopic room. The viewer's visual path is reflected into an enigmatic effect of infinity and repetition. The work is a humorous fusion of the familiar image of a green house and the disturbing experience of side-show theatrics, between climate control concerns and visual cloning.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Previous two...

I have made the previous two posts because they reminded me of each other but thinking about them more critically...they have a few elements in common yet the results are aesthetically and conceptually very different.

Both designers use cutlery or crockery.
Both designers apply their creativity to design lighting.

Siavoshi presents the cutlery in a way that transforms the ordinary and the everyday cutlery to be regarded as something much more precious with an underlying element of humour. Whilst Maurer manipulates the crockery and cutlery to create this 3-dimensional snapshot of a moment of explosion, a more somber subject matter. Similarly, this takes the material out of its usual context but conceptually the process is very different.

I am interested in lighting such as this because it is both functional and aesthetic yet it is not tactile. I find this a very fascinating subject area of product design. Off course, other forms of interior lighting are more tactile than the pendant light. I guess I see the pendant light in a realm not to distant from art, to be looked at and appreciated aesthetically and used but all within limits or context.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Ingo Maurer

'Ingo Maurer

Ingo Maurer makes lighting feel like a discovery. No matter how familiar or even plain a fixture's parts, it throws an emotional switch to "On." How else to explain the instantaneous delight in Lucellino? (His signature winged lightbulb.) Then there's the mischievous mirth triggered by Porca Miseria! (A chandelier made of exploding crockery.)

Maurer has a knack for tapping into deep resonances with the most elusive of materials: light.This ability may well have sprung from his early experiences. As a country boy, he was mesmerized by the play of sunlight on Germany's Lake Constance, where his father was a fisherman and an inventor. This fascination developed quickly into a talent for designing witty, sophisticated objects...'

Text Julie V. Iovine
Section SUPPLEMENT; Hall of Fame; Pg. 16
Date December 1, 2007
Source Interior Design Magazine

I saw this piece recently in the Museum of Modern Art which took me by surprise. The sense of movement and explosion is very dramatic. I have included a more "narrative" description than my own.

Designer Ingo Maurer
Location The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Photograph Amir Daoud

'Made-Over MoMA Rearranges The Furniture, And the Attitude

...None is more spectacular than a chandelier of broken porcelain and cutlery caught in mid-explosion. The piece, "Porca Miseria!," was created by German lighting designer Ingo Maurer in 1994 as a humorous expression of anger. (The name means "Damn It!") It remains a superb example of how poetry can creep into the industrial process, even if plates and teacups are broken by hand with a jeweler's hammer. But viewed through the prism of Sept. 11, 2001, Maurer conveys something frighteningly modern: the fragility of normal life...'

Text Linda Hales
Section Style; C01
Date October 30, 2004
Source The Washington Post

Ali Siavoshi

Description A ceiling light made of 42 pieces of different types of drinking glasses.

Description Ceiling light in 2 sizes. Large 115cm and Small 43cm. Wall light 43cm. Chrome plated cutlery.

'While doing his dissertation Ali has become very interested in working with objects of everyday use and transforming them into lighting fixtures. This has led to designs involving umbrellas, cutlery and even coat hangers which represent design not in the expected form of stylishness but with a sense of humour which brings these objects closer to the audience.'

Photograph & Text

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

David Mach

'Being a sculptor leads everything I do. Every project I take on starts from that point. I believe that an artist must be an ideasmonger responding to all kinds of physical location, social and political environments, to materials, to processes, to timescales and budgets. I also believe that sculpture just about encompasses everything - a painting can be a sculpture, a TV ad can be a sculpture, a dance, a performance, a film, a video - all of these kinds of art and many more can be sculpture.

When I have ideas I want to make them, and not just some of them, but all of them. As a result of that my sculpture covers a multitude
of sins. I like to work in as many different materials as possible. It's no understatement to say I am a materials junkie - jumping from highly-painted realistic cast fibreglass pieces to sculpture with coathangers, to a thatched barn roof laced with fibre-optics to designs for camera obscures (or at least the buildings to house them) and layouts for parks.'

Text David Mach

Installation Like a Virgin
Location Ujazdowski Castle Centre For Contemporary Art, Warsaw
March 1993

The use of leaflets above only hints towards the creative imagination of David Mach. Other materials that have been transformed by Mach include coat hangers, matchsticks and car tyres. Mach is able to manipulate the thoughts we have about conventional everyday materials.