posted in: Light, Medium 1

When thinking of aluminum, kitchen foil may come to mind. Shiny on one side, matte on the other. Aluminum foil is generally 1.8 – 2.5 microns thick. Aluminum leaf at 0.4 – 0.8 microns is fragile but equally capable of excessive reflection and matte finish. Using aluminum leaf, I find the shine overwhelming, the outcome unexpected – a metal intriguing in its oxidization traits and absence of tarnish.


Joan Martin, ‘Sipario Perspective 1’, aluminum leaf and acrylic, 2018

The challenge in working with metal leaf is adjusting underlying surface qualities affecting reflected light. The shine of aluminum leaf magnifies the challenge making the process both compelling and frustrating. Changing light or viewer location quickly morphs the image into new patterns of reflection.


NileRed, ‘Mercury on Aluminum’, alloy amalgamation video frame at 4:29.
Photo via youtube-aluminumandmercury

The video frame is from a time lapse of a mercury blob’s interaction with aluminum. With the protective oxide layer of the aluminum plate removed, mercury is able to initiate a fragile amalgam formation of aluminum oxide. It grows in height and width and collapse as it crawls across the plate.


Kader Attia, ‘Ghost’, aluminum foil installation, Saatchi Gallery, London 2007
Photo via telegraphUK

Expansive use of aluminum foil presents a discordantly cold but softly reflective portrayal of shrouded ghost-like women. An unexpected and jarring contrast of light occurs. Aluminum highlights darkness within empty figures and harshness of the disturbing political context that speaks of women and religion.


Motion and Reflection

posted in: Light, Motion 0


Junya Ishigami, ‘Cuboid Balloon‘, aluminum and helium, Gallery Koyanagi, Tokyo, Japan, 2007
Photo via thefoxisblack

Visual distortions offered by movement and the reflective surface of the trapezoidal 3-story ‘Cuboid Balloon’ make a light-hearted interplay that softens the geometry and solidity of the containing architecture. The effect of the seemingly solid volume floating about in the rigid enclosure is quite magical.


David Cerny, ‘Head of Franz Kafka’, stainless steel and customized motor system, Prague, Czech Republic, 2014
Photo via bomemiansymphony

Located in a busy shopping center in Prague, this twisting and reflective sculpture depicting the head of writer Franz Kafka . . . brilliantly reveals Kafka’s tortured personality and unrelenting self doubt that plagued him his entire life.”  The kinetic sculpture is 11 meters tall, weighs 39 tons and is comprised of 42 rotating reflective layers.


Minding the Gap

posted in: Form, Motion 0


Bank Station‘, London Underground – 30 cm gap between train and platform.
Photo via wikimediacommons

Introduced in 1969 in UK’s London Underground, “Mind the gap’ is an audible or visual warning phrase issued to rail passengers to take caution while crossing the. . . spatial gap between the train door and the station platform. It is today popularly associated with the UK among tourists because of the particularly British word choice”.


Cesar Pelli, Architect, ‘Petronas Twin Towers‘ with 2-level ‘Skybridge‘, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 1996
Photo via absolutevisit

One of the towers’ most significant architectural characteristics is Eastern in nature: the space between them . . . In the spirit of Lao Tse, the Chinese philosopher who stressed that architecture’s power lies not in its physical walls but instead in the space created by those walls”, ‘Skybridge’ shapes the space between the towers as gigantic portal and minds pedestrian flow across the vast gap.


Heaherwick Studio, ‘Rolling Bridge‘, Paddington, England, 2004

The ‘Rolling Bridge‘, spans an inlet of the Grand Union Canal in Paddington. Although similar to Heatherwick’s architectural projects in deriving inspiration from organic form, the ‘Rolling Bridge‘ solution is more inclined towards an engineering feat. The bridge allows pedestrians to cross the gap where the inlet interrupts sidewalk – and in slow motion rolls into a coil to make way for water traffic.


Simplicity of Line

posted in: Form, Medium 0


With concept reduced to linear simplicity, attention is captured. A night photo of Jetelovà’s ‘Iceland Project’ lifts a fiber optic line into a simplified 3-dimensional description of rugged terrain. Fontana’s ‘Concetto Spaziale’ focuses attention on the disturbance of lines slashed into the pristine flat surface of a primed canvas. Büttner’s large scale incised line woodcut captures the structure of a marquee using only the most critical lines.


Magdalena Jetelovà, ’Iceland Project‘, fiber optics line defines terrain, 1992
Photo via socks-studio 


Lucio Fontana, ‘Concetto Spaziale’, primed canvas with slashed cuts, 1965
Photo via sotheby’s


Andrea Büttner, ‘Tent, (marquee)’, incised woodcut on paper, diptych measures approx. 2 x 2.5 meters, 2012  
Photo via davidkordanskygallery


Rain 1

posted in: Motion 0


Shotei Takahashi, ‘Rain on Izumibashi Bridge‘, Japanese woodblock print, circa 1925
Photo via vicsmuse

A print small in size (6.75″ x 15″) but extraordinarily powerful in representation – as two figures crouch under umbrellas poised to take the brunt of heavy rainfall. The print exhibits the mastery of skill and sensitivity typical of Takahashi’s woodblock prints.


Ki Chul Kim, ‘Sound Looking – Rain’, sound gear, rain drop sounds, eight channel speaker

California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles, 2007

Ki Chul Kim works “with sound, against more traditional, visual forms of art. To Kim, sound itself is the subject . . . ‘Sound Looking – Rain’ . . . investigates the nature of perception and representation in relation to the Buddhist concept of emptiness“.


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