Friday, August 24, 2012

Industrial beauty.

Bernd and Hilla Becher spent their lives photographing industrial objects such as water towers, silos, gas tanks, mine bunkers, blast furnaces etc.

At the time they started taking photos of these man-made industrial creatures, they didn't even know which one was exactly what. They just felt the urge to somehow save them from the complete oblivion because at some point of time they had witnessed the demolition of many of these objects and they feared that in the future there might not be any remains of the industrial age. So this is how they started their journey.

 Blast Furnaces, 
© Bernd and Hilla Becher

Gas Tanks,
© Bernd and Hilla Becher

Bechers traveled around Germany, England, France, Belgium and USA, documenting different industrial shapes which became their fascination. Objects from the same group, built with the same purpose, seemed so similar, yet when put together in a group, so different.

Their photographs were very carefully planned and made with distinctive precision. For example, objects needed to appear isolated from their environment, there were never any shadows in their photos and the shot was always made from an objective point of view. To achieve this, they sometimes needed to wait for weeks just to get the right amount of light.

Winding Towers,
© Bernd and Hilla Becher

Bernd and Hilla Becher are my heroes. I am completely obsessed with industrial objects. I see hypnotizing beauty in them. Walking through Völklingen Ironworks, a plant located in the German town of VölklingenSaarland, to me was like walking through Disneyland. 

© dee.dee
© dee.dee

Völklingen Ironworks was built and equipped in the 19th and 20th centuries and has remained intact. It was closed down in 1986. and has been declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO. 

Völklingen complex is enormous. When you go deep down into the heart of the plant, you can see where raw materials were stored and how they were transported into the blast furnaces. What's completely fascinating is that on each corner you see something interesting: pipes and tubes, hanging chains and wires, oversized machinery, tracks and gears, all this covered with rust and layers of paint peeling off , giving everything around you an admirable range of different colors and textures. 

© dee.dee
© dee.dee
© dee.dee

Visit to the highest platforms is breath taking. Only there you can actually grasp the size of the whole complex and from there you also get an incredible panoramic view of the surrounding area. 

There's also a part of the plant which is turned into an art gallery where different temporary exhibitions take place. This is one of the most wonderful settings for showcasing art that I have ever seen. 

I was at Völklingen Ironworks for four or five hours but I could have easily spent the whole day there.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"we are all dots" experience.

When I was writing about Yayoi Kusama before, I only imagined the feeling of seeing her work in person.

Few weeks ago, as I was passing by the Louis Vuitton shop window, I realized that there she was. Yayoi herself. Actually the wax version of her.

Photo: BFA, Joe Schildhorn

I later read about this year's collaboration between Louis Vuitton and the 83 year old Yayoi Kusama.

I honestly couldn't believe how intense the feeling of looking at some shop window could be. Standing there in front of it, you are practically sucked into Yayoi's mind which becomes quite an unsettling experience but you somehow don't want to leave that place.

Just a few days after this, I went to a museum to see the current exhibition of Jean Prouvé's works and figured that I could see the permanent exhibition as well, which I didn't really know what it consisted of. Cruising around the museum, I saw a big cube which people were entering and decided to check it. As I was stepping into it, I came to realization that it is something that I had read about before. I was entering one of Yayoi Kusama's Infinity rooms.

The magical feeling of infinity is created by hundreds of small LED lights which are reflected by the mirrors around you and water beneath you. As with the shop window, here you have that same feeling of never wanting to leave the place, only much stronger.

Every thing existing on the physical plane is an exteriorization of thought, which must be balanced through the one who issued the thought, and in accordance with that one’s responsibility, at the conjunction of time, condition, and place.

~Harold W. Percival