HEAD IN THE CLOUDS
Clouds are essential in our daily lives, they have multiple effects on our climate.
Sometimes, they can open up our mind to our wildest imagination, like in cloudspotting.
There’s no doubt ‘Clouds’ is a regular recurring theme in art and design.
Here’s an assemblage of 8 extraordinary cloud-chasing artworks which
let you keep your head in the clouds, some quite literally.
Andy Warhol's Silver Clouds Installation / Image via: http://publicdelivery.org/andy-warhol-silver-clouds/
Images via: http://publicdelivery.org/andy-warhol-silver-clouds/
Silver Clouds - Andy Warhol
‘Silver Clouds’ is a defining moment in the history of art, it is also one of the most inspiring project ever (and a personal favourite of the UB team!). The first original installation of Silver Clouds occured in 1966 at the heart of the big apple. The Leo Castelli Gallery was transformed into a sensational space floating with metallic pillow-shaped balloons, each inflated with a propriety mixture of air and pure helium. These silver balloons were made out of a heat-sealable, metallise plastic film used to package army rations and food. The gravity-defying, levitating ‘pillows’ were designed also with the aid of collaborator and engineer, Billy Klüver.
Andy Warhol challenged and reshaped traditional expectations of how art installations can be experienced and touched physically, instead of being watched from afar. Audience are free to interact and play with the silver clouds, allowing each participant to explore their own perceptions and responses.
Images via: http://www.berndnaut.nl/works/nimbus/
Nimbus Series - Berndnaut Smilde
Contemporary Dutch artist Berndnaut Smilde is well known for his surreal, ethereal art series ‘Nimbus’, in which he creates fluffy clouds in unique indoor spaces around the world - from abandon Turkish hammam to the Aspremont-Lynden Castle in Belgium. To create the cloud, a humid room, a smoke machine, and water mist are necessary requirements; plus an endless process of photo-taking up till the perfect shot is captured. Each time a nimbus is created, the team only has a few seconds to photograph before it dissipates and vanishes into thin air.
Berndnaut sees the clouds as temporary sculptures. One minute they are there, the next they have dispersed into the invisible. Smilde's clouds were listed by TIME Magazine as one of the top 10 inventions of 2012.
Images via: http://kohei-nawa.net/works/foam
Foam - Kohei Nawa
Japanese artist Kohei Nawa, constructed a gigantic cloud-like sculpture made entirely out of soapy bubbles. The artist used a mixture of detergent, glycerin and water to realise the perfect foam, not affected by gravity. Bubbles were pumped from the floor in various locations, creating a realistic cloud-like landscape that was constantly shape-shifting. Set amidst a black room to mimic the dark sky, the foam sparkles in the light’s reflection, alike a starry, starry night.
Images via: http://mason-studio.com/projects/cloudscape
Cloudscape - Mason Studio
During the 2013 Toronto Design Offsite Festival, interior design firm Mason Studio filled a warehouse with piles of scrunched up tissue paper, transforming the space into a utopian-like cloudscape. The ‘clouds’ were motion sensitive, lighting up when someone comes close, and fading into darkness as they depart. The installation attempted to invite visitors to escape reality for a moment and retreat into tranquility.
Images via: http://www.tetsuokondo.jp/project/bnl.html#
Cloudscapes - Transsolar & Tetsuo Kondo Architects
German environmental engineering firm Transsolar & Japanese firm Tetsuo Kondo Architects created Cloudscapes, an artificial sky, where visitors of the 12th International Architecture Biennale in Venice, Italy can literally walk through clouds. Winding steel ramp structures were specially designed and built to integrate with the pre-exsisting columns of the Arsenale building. When visitors walked along the ramp from start to end, they were able to journey through 3 different atmospheres, experiencing the airy cloudscapes from below, within and above.
After the success of the first installation in Venice, Transpolar & Tetsuo Kondo Architects continued to collaborate on multiple exhibitions, featuring artificial climates in other locations. A second piece was displayed at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. This time, the billowing clouds contained a transparent, 2 storey-high cube structure.
Images via: http://www.mutantspace.com/tara-donovan-styrofoam-cup-sculpture/
Untitled (Styrofoam Cup Sculpture) - Tara Donovan
American Artist Tara Donovan repurposes mundane, mass-produced items to create beautiful unique art sculptures, transforming the ordinary into extraordinary. Many times, these are items we take for granted, neglect, waste away and think nothing of, like scotch tape and toothpicks. Yet Tara is able to see the infinite beauty of these humble household objects. Her large-scale sculptures also corresponds greatly with natural landscapes and environments.
For ‘Haze’, Tara stacked over 2 million plastic drinking straws against Rice Gallery’s back wall, creating a fog-like formation. She challenged the norm, allowing viewers to perceive and interpret the artwork based on their own individual experiences.
In ‘Untitled’, the contemporary artist turned styrofoam cups into cloud-like clusters, integrating seamlessly with its temporary housing space. Light was designed to diffuse through the cloud walls, embodying luminosity and shadows within its contours. Her beautiful, powerful art pieces dared viewers to revisit perceptions of everyday objects in a totally different light.
Smoke Cloud - Peter De Cupere
Peter De Cupere creates very unique pieces of art. He employs the power of scent to provoke reactions, responses and initiate personalised experiences. In 2013, the olfactory artist created a multi-sensorial installation titled ‘Smoke Cloud’, resembling the heavenly clouds. The installation invited visitors to climb up a ladder and literally have his/her head in a huge cotton cloud, but instead of fresh air, you will be encountering a repulsive odour alike smoke and pollution. It’s not quite how you will expect the dreamy, fluffy-looking cloud to smell like for sure. The installation was part of Peter De Cupere’s solo-exhibition called ‘The Art of Smelling, Olfactory Art Research’, where he showed a number of scents and thought provoking works of art.
Images via: http://www.tokujin.com/en/project/design_all/#
Remembrance - Tokujin Yoshioka
Visionary and highly acclaimed artist Tokujin Yoshioka was chosen by Newsweek Magazine to be one of the 100 Most Respected Japanese in the World. His transforming works span across fields of contemporary art, interior design, industrial design and architecture. He constantly channels his fascination of how human senses, emotions and memory can be moved by the beauty of nature. Light, clouds and snow are regular themes in his artistic expressions. In 2006, Tokujin Yoshioka created a window display installation for French luxury fashion house Hermès, using transparent straws. 550,000 transparent straws were densely assembled at varying depts, transforming the facade into a vision of celestial, airy clouds.