Art / Design, England

Haroshi 心月輪

With precision and crazy skill, Haroshi selects, stacks and bonds old broken skateboards to create timber layers that he uses to unbelievable effects. The variety of colour found naturally in the laminated construction of discarded skateboard decks overlap to make beautiful and very unique ply art-works once carved.

Perhaps the most interesting of Haroshi’s techniques is the detailed mosaic of skateboard ply block-work. Coincidentally, this method has been used throughout Japanese history to create most of Japan’s wooden Great Buddha statues (of course not using skateboards). One particular Buddhist craftsman from the 12th century, Unkei (運慶) would place a crystal ball, called shin gachi rin (心月輪), at the heart of each of his carved buddha forms to give his sculptures their ‘soul’. Haroshi uses a metallic object from one of the broken skateboards; buried deep in the centre of each of his art-works, again giving the objects a heart, and a ‘soul’.

A friend of ours, Brandon Shigeta, a photographer based in LA was lucky enough to shoot Haroshi’s Tokyo studio for Hypebeast in 2010 and I have been waiting since then to see his works in London. Check out PAIN, at StolenSpace Gallery, on Brick Lane, until 3rd November.

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Art / Design, England, Japan

Bank-note Incredible

Friends of mine at London’s ICN Gallery told me about this artist some time last year and I have been eagerly anticipating her arrival ever since. I hurried out briefly today, while Atsuko was distracted, to check it out before I lost the chance. Like Fukahori Riusuke, this is one of those unbelievable Japanese artists that make me so happy that I stumbled on the ICN Gallery.

I saw the work with my own eyes and met the artist today but I still can’t quite understand how she does this. Saya Irie ‘simply’ erases imagery from banknotes, with a typical school eraser, then blends the rubber-dust with a type of glue and reforms them into a 3D sculpture of the object or person they once were.

Elizabeth Fry, Charles Darwin, Adam Smith and others all appear out from the two-dimensional surface in minute, precise detail despite standing just millimetres tall. It’s astounding. And it really makes you take a second look at the bank-notes we use on a daily basis but never stop to appreciate their incredible beauty. “Every popular thing is beautiful” is open until August 10th; try to catch it if you can…

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Art / Design, England

Looking through Korean Eye

A few more wonderful Korean works from the Saatchi gallery, including Soft Crash by Kim Buyoungho. This spiky dandelion-like form at first glance feels quite aggressive but on closer inspection, the ends are rounded and the aluminium rods have a gentle flexibility, making the whole sculpture feel quite soft.

Debbie Han’s chess set, Battle of Conception was cool, as was Choi Chongwoon’s Storm in a Teacup. The enormous hovering sculpture made from newspaper, by You Myung Gyun was called Floating World. I’ve been preparing my gallery talk lately for the ICN Gallery so ‘images of a floating world’ (Ukiyo-e) have been filling my thoughts for the last 2 weeks…

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Art / Design, England

Translated Vases

We dodged heavy showers and thunderstorms today and made our way to the Saatchi gallery where a new exhibition, Korean Eye 2012, had recently opened. Gallery 1 had a set of beautiful porcelain sculptures by Yeesookyung who pieces together discarded traditional Korean ceramic items. The resulting patchwork of pattern and painted imagery is so pretty. The work is apparently a play on the Korean word “Geum” which can mean either ‘gold’ or ‘split’, as the artist uses gold coloured material to repair and reconnect her broken ceramic objects.

There were 2 girls in traditional Korean dress slowly wandering through the gallery; their colour and movement created a unique atmosphere. You will see these girls reappear as we have more to show you…

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Art / Design, England

Out of Sync

I am writing this very late and rather in the wrong order because this weekend the weather is beautiful but last Sunday was very wet. After over-hearing someone in the pub talking about it the night before, we had gone to see a really small exhibition, at Somerset House, of a very famous tattoo artist from Japan that also paints; Horiyoshi III.

Whilst we were there, I photographed the courtyard meadow installation ‘Out of Sync’ made by Chilean artist Fernando Casasempere. He has filled the courtyard with 10,000 handmade clay flowers that were especially striking in the rain. The artist “hopes to give an impression of conformity and yet show how we are always able to spot subtle differences in repeated images”.

Of course with it being so wet, we enjoyed an extended coffee break in the beautiful Fernandez & Wells cafe in the recently refurbished East Wing.

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Travel

Église Saint-Sulpice

Having been featured in the Da Vinci Code book, St Sulpice has had to draw lines between fact and fiction; this polite notice on display in the church when I visited.

“…contrary to fanciful allegations in a recent best-selling novel, this [the line in the floor] is not a vestige of a pagan temple. No such temple ever existed in this place. It was never called a ‘Rose-Line’. It does not coincide with the meridian traced through the middle of the Paris Observatory which serves as a reference for maps where longitudes are measured in degrees East or West of Paris. … Please also note that the letters ‘P’ and ‘S’ in the small round windows at both ends of the transept refer to Peter and Sulpice, the patron saints of the church, and not an imaginary ‘Priory of Sion’…”

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Travel

Saint Eustache

I couldn’t resist a visit to St Eustache next to Les Halles because I like this church so much (I had wanted to go to Saint Chapelle but the queue was way too long for me on this occasion, with my limited time in the city). Having said that I spent quite a long time photographing inside and the more I looked, the more I noticed heart-shapes in the details of the architecture and imagery. It actually sparked something that lasted the duration of my brief trip, I seemed to see hearts at every turn as I walked across Paris after this and it wasn’t all in my imagination.

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