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    Ten homes with interiors designed to showcase art

    For our next lookbook, we have selected 10 interiors from the Dezeen archive that have been designed to show off the owners’ art collections. The homes were designed for art collectors, professionals and enthusiasts to showcase their art collections. Each one has a distinct style, with some boasting minimal gallery-like interiors, while others champion a busy […] More

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    Hugo McCloud’s artworks use plastic bags instead of paint

    New York artist Hugo McCloud has created a series of artworks that contain no paint or glue, only thousands of small plastic pieces cut from single-use bags and melted together to form a motif.The series, called Burdened, is on view at Sean Kelly Gallery in Hudson Yards, New York until 27 February and spans 31 original pieces created by McCloud while quarantining in his Mexico studio.

    Together shows women carrying goods across the border of Ceuta, a Spanish autonomous city in Morocco
    To create the collages, which mainly depict scenes of labour, McCloud first traces them onto a wood panel before filling them in with the multicoloured plastic scraps.
    These are individually cut from plastic bags and layered on top of each other, much like individual brush strokes, before being fused together with an iron.

    Burdened is on show at Sean Kelly Gallery

    “Due to the nature of the material and its thinness, you can always see underneath, so one colour applied on top of another creates a third colour,” McCloud told Dezeen.
    “There has to be a lot of forethought and planning before starting. The plastic is fused onto the panel with an iron, there is no removal or covering up, you must know what you’re trying to achieve. With paint, there is more freedom for chance and emotions. I do miss some of that but working with the plastic is very meditative, with an understood direction.”

    Several of the artworks show refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya
    The bags come from recycling yards and waste management companies, or else the artist picks them up off the street himself or reuses ones that were given to him while shopping.
    Often, their branding remains visible in the final art piece, acting as a reminder of the material’s former life and reinforcing its familiarity.

    Each piece is a collage of hundreds or thousands of small plastic shreds
    Based on photographs found on the internet, the collages depict the movement of people and goods around the world, from workers transporting wares on their backs and bikes to refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea by boat.
    In this way, the Burdened series is not just a commentary on the environmental impact of single-use plastic but also an exploration of how this ubiquitous material transcends class and geography.

    Sweet Sneak Studio’s photo series puts focus on microplastics in the food chain

    “Traveling in India, I saw multi-colour plastic sacks everywhere and started to understand their downcycle, from the companies that purchased and used them to distribute their products, down to the trash pickers in Dharavi slums,” the artist explained.
    “The idea that these plastic bags would always be around – never biodegrade – interested me, and made me curious about the hands and lives of the many people they would pass through.”

    With all your Might is one of several pieces that show goods being transported by labourers
    The exhibition also includes a mini-series of collages showing flower arrangements, which McCloud made to offer the show’s visitors and himself a moment of respite from the dispiriting news cycles and monotony of lockdown.
    McCloud, who has a background in industrial design, is known for creating “paintings” from unusual, often three-dimensional materials like bitumen or aluminium sheeting.

    The exhibition features 31 artworks
    To mark New York City’s ban on plastic bags, local artist Robin Frohardt created a grocery store installation last March that was stocked with produce like tomatoes and berries, all formed from discarded single-use carriers he had collected from the city’s streets.
    Dutch food design studio Sweet Sneak has previously explored pollution and its environmental impact through a photo series, in which common foods and drinks such as beer and sushi were topped with styrofoam bubbles and wrapped in plastic bags.
    Installation view photographs are by Jason Wyche.
    Burdened is on view at Sean Kelly Gallery until 27 February 2021. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

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  • Squashed serpents feature in Polly Morgan's How To Behave At Home exhibition

    Twisting snakes with iridescent scales squeeze through concrete and polystyrene blocks in How To Behave At Home, the latest exhibition by British taxidermy artist Polly Morgan.The How To Behave At Home exhibition, which looks at themes of societal norms and expectations, comprises a series of sculptures that feature the coiled bodies of taxidermied snakes.  Morgan believes the animal is an apt symbol for the way in which people utilise social media, particularly photo-sharing apps like Instagram.
    “The skins of snakes are alluring, decorating what is essentially a killing and eating machine,” Morgan told Dezeen.
    “These patterns are thought to either camouflage the snake or warn would-be predators away; some non-venomous snakes also mimic the bright colours of poisonous snakes to avoid capture,” she continued.
    “The filters we apply to our social media feeds, either literally or just by our careful selection of one image over another, is done for similar purposes; to allow us to blend in and avoid crowd censure, or to allow a particular perception of us to flourish.”

    Untitled, 2020, by Polly Morgan
    Morgan had a loose idea of what How To Behave At Home’s themes would be from the beginning of this year.

    However, as the coronavirus pandemic hit and millions across the globe were placed under stay-at-home orders, the artist gained a heightened awareness of the disparity between reality and the idealised content presented over social media.
    This influenced the new work that she has created for the exhibition, as well as the selection of older pieces that have been included.
    “Watching the changes in my own and others’ behaviour made me think more clearly about what the work represented and exactly how I wanted it to look,” she explained.
    “I was interested to see how peoples’ Instagram feeds would change, with no parties to attend or events to promote; would they let the veneer slip or turn to a new kind of boastfulness,” Morgan added.
    “I felt celebrities flounder; flaunting their luxurious life was irrelevant and unwelcome and they had to reconfigure their online selves – feeling squeezed and trying to be authentic, my ideas evolved a lot in that period.”

    Untitled, 2020, by Polly Morgan
    Some of the slithering creatures in the exhibition have been given a subtle iridescent coating, which takes cues from the colourful trompe l’oeil effects often seen in nail art.
    Morgan – who has used snakes in several of her previous works – also referenced the appearance of sunbeam snakes, which have shiny, rainbow-like scaling.
    “It struck me that using a highly iridescent snake was the ultimate way to represent the vibrancy of our complex lives,” said Morgan, who experimented with paints, varnishes and nail transfer foils to achieve the final effect.
    “Having used the actual skins of snakes for years they suddenly felt inadequate; once they dry onto the form they lose a lot of colour and all their iridescence,” she continued. “I realised I’d been, literally, hidebound by taxidermy.”
    “Uncharacteristically I went to have my nails done and requested an iridescent finish so I could watch the techniques and learn from them – the fact that nails are everyday veneers fed directly into the work I was producing.”

    Every Other Dance, 2018, by Polly Morgan
    In the majority of the sculptures, the snakes appear as tangled piles squeezed through holes in concrete or polystyrene blocks.
    Polystyrene was specifically chosen to mimic the “accidentally architectural” packaging that Morgan would receive whenever she ordered goods online during the lockdown period of the pandemic.
    “The way these objects were cocooned in these protective forms seemed to parallel our own lives during lockdown, safeguarded in our homes,” she explained.

    Sebastian Errazuriz exhibition at New York’s R & Company features taxidermy Bird Chandelier

    The artist also thought the twisting shape of the snakes reflected how people can shape themselves to adhere to societal expectations.
    “The title of the show, How To Behave At Home, comes from a chapter heading in a Victorian book on etiquette,” Morgan revealed.
    “Etiquette, just like architecture, can encourage us to behave a certain way, to contain our baser instincts and to conform to certain rules,” she added.
    “We no longer have books on etiquette but we do have a new set of social strictures that proliferate online, and I see people contort themselves in every direction in order to avoid censure.”

    Nothing Like Before, 2019, by Polly Morgan
    Polly Morgan is based in London and has been practising sculpture and taxidermy since 2004. The artist’s How To Behave At Home exhibition will be showing at The Bomb Factory in London from 14 October until 2 November 2020.
    For more design and architecture events, visit Dezeen Events Guide.

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