‘Poetic Form’ presents a curated selection of works by our diverse international roster of artists, each of whom engages both traditional and non-traditional methods to produce visual explorations of language placed within a discourse that crosses boundaries of medium, time, and movement.
Expressing profound emotions by means of understatement and suggestion, each meditative work has its own rhythm, its own visual pattern that begins with a choice of elements as the accordant expression of emotional states.
Working with a broad range of media including sculpture, film and photography, the included artists reflect, evoke or transform the expression of luminous shapes into pure poetic forms, in balance with, and inspired by, the moment when passion weds thought.
Featured artists include DRIFT, which creates delicate kinetic sculptures, immersive installations and performance art pieces that explore the fluctuating relationships between nature, technology and man; Marco Brambilla, who creates site-specific video installations and commercial projects characterized by the elaborate and kaleidoscopic re-contextualization of popular and archival imagery; Robin Broadbent, whose still life photographs deftly command the interplay between light, space, form and shadow to create a startling sense of proportion, scale and dimension; Reginald Sylvester II, who draws inspiration from personal reflections and theories of expressionist artists to create works through deconstructed, dramatized forms that oscillate between abstraction and figuration; and South African photographer Koto Bolofo, whose thematic series captured at home transforms mundane objects into images of unexpected, often surreal, beauty, exhibiting his gift for infusing unlikely subjects with unprecedented grandeur.
DRIFT’s kinetic sculptures make poetic references to phenomena in nature. The movements and light performances within the installations create new shapes and forms each second, taking the viewer on a journey. In ‘Poetic Form,’ DRIFT takes a closer look at ‘Flylight’, a site-specific light installation with a performative element that mimics the behavior of a flock of birds in flight, symbolizing the conflict between the safety of the group and the freedom of the individual.
While birds are the ultimate symbol of freedom, in a flock, they move as one single entity creating mesmerizing patterns. This flock behavior is an example of ‘self-organization,’ meaning that no single bird leads the flight. Amazingly enough, each individual senses the speed and the direction of the group.
This natural phenomenon formed a source of inspiration for ‘Flylight,’ for which the flock behavior was translated into agent-based software that was especially developed for this work. It consists of delicate glass tubes that light up in an unpredictable way, partially responsive to external stimuli. The pattern, in which the installation lights up, is not pre-programmed but rather has an interactive compound: just like a real flock of birds.
The work questions the delicate balance between the group and the individual. Just like birds, people find safety in a group, while at the same time they are forced to act according to a set of rules on which society functions. The one who chooses individual freedom above these rules, is forced to operate outside of society. Where, then, lies the perfect balance between the two?
"DRIFT proposes a vision of the future in their signature aesthetics; a distinct mix between hi-tech and poetic imagery. This series is about conveying emotion while simultaneously referring to the fact that light lies at the basis of all life. The project can be seen as a critical yet utopian vision on the future of our planet, where two seemingly opposite evolutions have made a pact to survive."
As part of their 2019 video art program, Westfield and Art Production Fund displayed a dynamic excerpt from Marco Brambilla’s ‘Nude Descending a Staircase No. 3’ across the large-scale screens at Westfield World Trade Center in New York City and Westfield Century City in Los Angeles, measuring up to 4 stories tall.
‘Nude Descending a Staircase No. 3’ moved the iconic Duchamp painting into the dimension of time. The illusion of movement in the painting was explored as the figures inhabiting the digital canvas constantly reconfigured themselves to cascade down an unseen stairway. The figures, shapes and color palette are pure cubism, expanded into three dimensions using state-of-the-art computer technology.
‘Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2’ is a rare case where an artist drew from a “new” technology (Eadweard Muybridge’s photographic time-studies) as an inspiration for a painting. By taking the original Duchamp painting back into the technological realm and adding the dimension of time, Brambilla aimed to complete the circle and pay homage to the deconstructed image using a wholly contemporary visual language.
“Brambilla’s interpretation of the iconic painting affords the public the opportunity to experience and contemplate ‘Nude Descending A Staircase’ like never before.”
Over the course of three decades, London-born, New York-based photographer Robin Broadbent has established a singular pictorial aesthetic infused with an innate understanding of texture, shape, form and abstraction.
Renowned for his illustrative depictions of seemingly larger than life objects, Broadbent embraces a monochromatic, minimalistic approach, challenging our perceptions in a way that recalls the early days of Surrealism. Through formal qualities of space, shape, light and line borrowed from the theories of aesthetic minimalism, Broadbent’s evocative photographs demand attention as sensuous entities with charged surfaces.
As part of the ‘Poetic Form’ viewing room, we investigate Broadbent’s photographs of furniture and design objects.
“My work is a study and exploration of objects. I keep things very simple and reduce down to the minimum, with a balance of interest and tension with the negative and positive spaces. I get excited by shape and form and how they interact or repeat – either in a random or organized way.”
Typically recognized for his abstract and gestural paintings, Brooklyn-based painter Reginald Sylvester II showcased his first chair at R & Company’s ‘Chairs Beyond Right & Wrong,’ an exhibition curated by Raquel Cayre. Featuring almost 50 international artists and designers including Daniel Arsham, Estudio Campana, Jordan Wolfson, The Haas Brothers, Katherine Bernhardt, Martine Syms, Kaws, and Alex Israel, the show explored the idea of a chair as an object, a product, a structure, a symbol, and a material, challenging the categorical divisions that often pigeonhole it into marginalized roles.
Sylvester II’s ‘Heel Chair,’ constructed in stainless steel, showcased the artist’s body of work extending beyond just paintings. Sylvester II referred to the chair as a ‘woman’s throne,’ as it was nicknamed after his mother; the polished chair took on an almost lifelike form with its smooth curves and rounded legs. The sleekness and simplicity of the piece are a juxtaposition to Sylvester II’s visceral paintings that depict raw emotion through bright colors and gestures.
“I could've stuck to a certain type of work for easy success or instant gratification, but what I want for the future is longevity. I want my work to be honest, real, and true to myself.”
South African photographer Koto Bolofo is prized for his ability to present honest beauty. He sees the world through a pinhole of color and shape, while placing a premium on every image captured. Known for his stunning and unexpected compositions, his pieces are marked by a sense of timelessness that represents neither the past nor the present but succinctly encapsulates both. His photographs reflect a time past, yet feel modern and intimate.
Having produced a voyeuristic 11-volume look behind the closed doors of the notoriously private luxury house, Hermès, Bolofo recently spent his time in isolation documenting the objects at hand within his own home. In ‘Love for Art,’ Bolofo transforms mundane objects into images of unexpected, often surreal, beauty, exhibiting his gift for infusing unlikely subjects with unprecedented grandeur.
“I love using the word ‘photograph’ instead of 'image', 'image' for me is disposable.”
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