We are fast approaching the new year – which means a new set of books to tickle the creative palette. From the dazzling world of Swarovski’s collaborations to Ryan McGinley’s nudist visual utopias, this host of cultural reads will cast away those grim January blues...
Daniel Ost: Floral Art and the Beauty of Impermanence
By Paul Geerts
Artist Daniel Ost arranges flowers in the same way that Frank Gehry, for example, arranges steel. This new monograph makes solid a swathe of Ost’s transient art, encompassing installations in sites ranging from Buddhist temples to art biennales. Featuring 80 projects, each photographed at its point of perfection before nature takes its course, Ost uses a broad palette of petals, berries, leaves, twigs, moss and more, finding architectural and sculptural forms within natural building blocks.
Published by Phaidon, £59.95Writer: Jonathan Bell. Photography: Tsvetelina Ivanova and Charlotte Crowston
From the book: Izumo-taisha is one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan, and all of the materials used for this room-sized sculpture came from its temple garden. Needles of the Chinese Kaizuka juniper were attached, one at a time, to floral foam. Comprised of moss-covered peach wood, the foam was inspired by antique paintings in the temple. Photography: Kiyazaku Nakajima and Masaki Miyano
Pictured left: a vegetal interpretation of Maurice Ravel’s Boléro at the landfill of Sint-Niklaas features swelling clay hills and dancing leek flowers. Right: a mysterious illusion for the Ghent Floralies in Belgium, 2005, looks like it is raining orchids, or the flowers breaking free of their tight frame. Photography: Robert Dewilde
Pictured left: an elegant sculpture of red Cornus rests in the open-air theatre of the Gana Art Gallery, Seoul. Photography: Kiyakazu Nakajima. Right: an ode to the rare Persian buttercup ’Charlotte’, a Japanese cultivar that is not readily available, on a structure of red Cornus decorated with flowers of Passiflora, displayed at the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo. Photography: Masaki Miyano
Deliberately flippant, buoyantly pop and aesthetically and mimetically up to the minute, EveryHey is a playful compilation of modern portraiture. Working on the assumption that every character, however complex, can be distilled down into a neat geometric avatar, EveryHey was put together by the Barcelona-based Hey studio to showcase their style and approach. Developed in collaboration with Instagram (many of the characters have also been animated by Pedro Cobo), the publication features 400 reductivist-style characters and no key, meaning only the pop-culture savvy can apply.
Published by Hey, €48Writer: Jonathan Bell. Photography: Tsvetelina Ivanova and Charlotte Crowston
From the book: the choice of the final cast of characters that appear in the book was determined by a mix of cultural events and public demand
The team performed what they call ’visual gymnastics’ on a daily basis to practise and improve the illustration techniques. It is the simplistic nature of the colours and geometric shapes that essentially help identify the subjects
Swarovski: Celebrating a History of Collaborations in Fashion, Jewelry, Performance and Design
By Deborah Landis and Vivienne Becker, preface by Nadja Swarovski, foreword by Suzy Menkes, introduction by Alice Rawsthorn
There’s probably no-one in the global arts scene unaware of the far-reaching patronage of Swarovski. The Austrian company has been around for well over a century, but the past two decades have seen it explode with dazzling panache onto the international design scene, as a collaborator, instigator, sponsor and generator of everything from high-end fashion and interiors to architecture and product design. This Rizzoli monograph chronicles every collaboration, including work with Arad, Béhar, Chanel, Dior, Hadid, Prada and McQueen, as well as grand interior schemes and installations at museums and art fairs around the world.
Published by Rizzoli, $85Writer: Jonathan Bell. Photography: Tsvetelina Ivanova and Charlotte Crowston
From the book: the publication begins with an insight into the brand’s past. Pictured here is Daniel Swarovski in his chemical laboratory, experimenting with a crystal-cutting machine in 1920. Courtesy the Swarovski Archive
Created for the 2010 Oscars, David Rockwell designed this curtain using more than 100,000 crystals. Courtesy AMPAS
Light sculpture, by Zaha Hadid for Swarovski Crystal Palace, 2009. Courtesy Leo Torri
By Mark Getlein and Annabel Howard
Distilling the art world down to its constituent personalities, Art Visionaries is a history told through the lives and work of 75 very dominant characters. The specific visibility of every art form is highly dependent on the profile of its creator, and the collection assembled here speaks volumes about the way voluble characters pushed their practice to the forefront of culture. Modern art’s gender divide is also laid bare – there are 13 women to 62 men – and the strong suggestion is that force of personality plays a pivotal role in preserving work for posterity.
Published by Laurence King, $40Writer: Jonathan Bell. Photography: Tsvetelina Ivanova and Charlotte Crowston
From the book: the American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein was known for his tongue-in-cheek and dispassionate comic strips. Pictured left: The Dance, 1974. Right: Picture and Pitcher, 1977. Courtesy Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo
Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is one of the 13 women in the title – she fearlessly portrayed her most intimate experience, desires and emotional states in her work. Pictured left: Self portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940. Courtesy Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas Austin and Nicholas Murray Collection. Right: Kahlo painting a portrait of Mrs Jean Wright, January 1931
’What I dream of is an art of balance, purity and serenity’ said Henri Matisse. Pictured left: The Nasturtiums with the Painting ’Dance’, 1912. Courtesy Pushkin Museum, Moscow. Right: portrait of Matisse by Gjon Mili of Life magazine, 1948
Ryan McGinley: Way Far
Essay by David Rimanelli
Ryan McGinley’s photographs pair robust landscapes with ethereal nudes. His skinny, anaemic figures look as if they’ve been unwrapped in the depths of an unfamiliar wilderness and then set free for the very first time. Way Far brings together a portfolio of these road-trip derived images, sourcing locations that match up well with his entourage of (mostly) wan beauties. A journey is hinted at in both title and content, but it’s never quite clear where we’re going, and whether or not McGinley is celebrating life or writing a visual epitaph for our age.
Published by Rizzoli, $45Writer: Jonathan Bell. Photography: Tsvetelina Ivanova and Charlotte Crowston
From the book: McGinley’s works often feels ultra-alive, both in its stark, dreamlike depictions of nudity and ethereal otherworldiness. Pictured: Fireworks (Ship), 2013
McGinley’s characters are impossible to connect to, symbolic figures set free in the wilderness. Pictured: Green & Yellow, 2014
Way Far includes a number of softer, more contemplative moments. Pictured: Susannah (Swamp Sticks), 2013
The Art of Impossible: the Bang & Olufsen Design Story
by Alastair Philip Wiper
Before Apple, there were only two high-tech brands with a claim to total design leadership: Braun in German, and Denmark’s Bang & Olufsen. The latter celebrated 90 years of rigorously precise and acoustically excellent audio gear in 2015, producing The Art of Impossible to mark the anniversary. A long-running collaboration first with Jacob Jensen, who died in May, and then the late David Lewis, defined B&O’s aesthetic, combining elegant but often monumental physical form with cunning mechanisms and the latest circuitry. Providing insight into the process (and revealing prototypes that didn’t make the cut), The Art of Impossible is a must for design-minded audiophiles.
Published by Thames & Hudson, £34.95Writer: Jonathan Bell. Photography: Tsvetelina Ivanova and Charlotte Crowston
From the book: this 1972 Beogram 4000 is considered to be one of Jacob Jensen’s fundamental designs. The gramophone was intelligent and easy-to-use, with ’sound so good that advanced listeners can hear in which concert hall the recording was made’
The final stages of testing of the iconic BeoLab 19 wireless speaker
B&O’s production stages used Lego engineering to test the wheel movement of the BeoSound 5, designed by Anders Herman in 2008, which went on to be made of cardboard, plastic and aluminium
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