from a sea of 888,000 ceramic poppies spilling from the tower of london, to a towering underwater sculpture, and a digital artwork spanning the ceiling of rotterdam’s markthal, 2014 saw a number of large scale installations completed around the globe. all of the work is monumental in scale, engaging audiences in a memorable and engaging experience. continuing our annual review of the year’s BIG stories, we take a look at the top 10 installations that caught our eye in 2014.
image by richard barnes 2014 / courtesy of the glass house
the renowned glass house designed by architect philip johnson in 1949 was engulfed in a dense and ghostly layer of fog, as part of an installation staged by japanese artist fujiko nakaya. ‘veil’ is the first site-specific project to engage the historic structure, which occupies a vast promontory overlooking a valley in connecticut, USA. the sheet of hazy mist comes and goes: for approximately 10 minutes each hour, the monolithic transparent residence seemingly vanished, only to return to sight as the fog slowly dissolved in space. situated within the building, the sense of being outdoors was temporarily suspended during the cloudy spells. the opaque atmosphere produced by the fog sculpture met the building’s extreme transparency and temporal effects that complement its timelessness.
image © richard lea-hair and historic royal palaces
remembrance day, taking place each year on november 11th, marks the end of the first world war and honors the commonwealth armed forces who have died in the line of duty. as symbol of this sacrifice and service, artistpaul cummins and stage designer tom piper infilled the famous dry moat at the tower of london with 888,246 ceramic poppies, spilling out from a window onto the vast grassy expanse that divides the historic site from the city center. ‘blood swept lands and seas of red‘ comprised red-hued flowers installed in the landscape by a team of over 8,000 volunteers, each one representing a british military fatality during the war.
photo by anders sune berg, courtesy of the louisiana museum of modern art
for the first time, danish-icelandic artist olafur eliasson presents a solo show at denmark’s prestigiouslouisiana museum of modern art, placing three spatial installations within the architectural context of the site. like many of the exhibitions presented throughout his creative career, eliasson’s ‘riverbed’ is site-specific, engaging with the cultural institution’s unique identity, thematically linking the artworks and gallery as a place — physically, structurally and historically. radical interventions delve into the reality of the space as an institution, and at the same time focus on local sensory experiences as part of a global perspective. ‘riverbed’ unfolds throughout the south wing of the gallery in one great sweep. a surface of rocks canvasses the floors, creating a terrain for a stream of water winding through the interior. the piece places an alternative path to the one already anticipated by the architecture: visitors are transported from the typical walk across a tile floor, to steps on top of loose terrain, and finally a course along a river. the installation acts as a direct reference to the history of the site — louisiana’s south wing was added in 1982 on a slope that used to be home to a sculpture garden.
image © jason decaires taylor
submerged adjacent to the western coastline of new providence in the bahamas, jason decaires taylorhas set ‘ocean atlas’ within the aquamarine depths of nassau’s seas. thematically, the colossal sculpture draws reference from the ancient greek statue of titan atlas as he holds up the heavens, but instead depicts a local youth sustaining the ocean ceiling. marking the largest single sculpture ever to be inserted into an underwater landscape, the sixty ton ‘ocean atlas’ spans from the sea floor upwards five meters to the surface of the sea.
‘apartment A, unit 2, corridor and staircase, 348 west 22nd street, new york, NY 10011, USA’ (detail), 2011–2014
polyester fabric and stainless steel tubes
apartment A — 271 2/3 x 169 3/10 x 96 7/16 inches; unit 2– 422 7/16 x 228 1/3 x 96 1/16 inches; corridor and staircase — 488 3/16 x 66 1/8 x 96 7/16 inches
installation view, the contemporary austin – jones center, austin, 2014 / courtesy the artist and lehmann maupin, new york and hong kong / all photographs by brian fitzsimmons
for the contemporary austin, south korean artist do ho suh renders a multipart installation, extending his devotion to such themes of global identity, public versus private space, memory, and displacement. a combination of existing work with newly commissioned aspects infill the museum’s jones center and laguna gloria, comprising architectural structures, documentary films, drawings and related models. at the exhibit’s centerpiece – presented from now until january 11th, 2015 — is a collection of rooms and passageways from suh’s 348 west 22nd street apartment complex in new york city. the final unit has been created and shown for the first time on the occasion of the exhibition in texas, representing closure for the series he began in 2011.
photo by jason olav benjamin havneraas / courtesy of noplace
norway-based artist per kristian nygård has infilled the gallery expanse at noplace in oslo with a bright green cascade of grass, sweeping and swerving throughout the space. ‘not red but green’ comprises a natural, undulating terrain, spilling out from the entrance doorframe and pressing up against the surrounding windows and walls. lush vegetation floods in every direction, forming a hilly landscape that beckons an instinctual audience participation, although prohibited. the site-specificity of the installation allows it to grow and develop in size and form, and — by placing the mass of organic matter within the context of an indoor gallery — changes the perception of the natural world for the viewer.
image courtesy of arno coenen
dutch artist arno coenen and iris roskam — along with a team of designers and animators — have completed ‘horn of plenty’ within the markthal in rotterdam, making it the largest artwork in the netherlands. the interior of the horse shoe-shaped structure, designed by local architecture practice MVRDV(previously featured in its construction phase here) is wrapped around its concave ceiling in an 11,000 square meter artwork, canvassing the entire surface with individually placed screens. the digital expanse projects larger-than-life images of vibrantly colored fruits, grains, and vegetables — symbolically linking to the harvest of goods which will be sold within the markthal.
‘sprouting life in the forest-fatherly tree, motherly mountain’
for the 2014 edition of the wall art festival in india, japanese artist yusuke asai has covered a primary school classroom in maharashtra in an intricate and hypnotizing mural made with mud. using water and soil from the surrounding site, asai and a team of over 50 local and international volunteers painted the ceiling and walls in a rich and expressive artwork called ‘sprouting life in the forest-fatherly tree, motherly mountain’.a bright blue hue serves as the background for the bronze-colored paints applied to the walls. various motifs and symbols from animals to people are abstractly illustrated in whimsical and dramatic compositions throughout the space. the students will see the process of the artists at the school where they study, bringing them closer to creativity and their community. the annual event is co-organized by the japan foundation which aims to form bonds between india and japan and art by supporting and nurturing cross cultural exchange.
image courtesy of sarah’s throne
winner of both the public and juried vote of artprize 2014, pakistani artist anila quayyum aghaexercises the architecture of the grand rapids art museum in michigan by infilling it with a dynamic interplay of shadow and light. ‘intersections’ comprises a 6.5-foot laser-cut wooden cube pierced with carefully crafted patterns and illuminated from the inside, which casts expansive, lace-like geometries onto the surrounding walls, ceiling and floor. ‘intersections’ mirrors the geometrical patterning present in islamic sacred spaces, and is derived from the artists own experiences growing up in pakistan. ‘the wooden frieze emulates a pattern from the alhambra, which was poised at the intersection of history, culture and art and was a place where islamic and western discourses, met and co-existed in harmony and served as a testament to the symbiosis of difference’, quayyum agha explains. ‘for me the familiarity of the space visited at the alhambra palace and the memories of another time and place from my past, coalesced in creating this project.’
image courtesy of alex chinneck
earlier this year, commuters and visitors in london experienced a sudden suspension from reality, as a section of covent garden’s 184-year old market building had seemingly broken free from its foundations and remained hovering in mid-air. british artist alex chinneck‘s monumental installation ‘take my lightning but don’t steal my thunder’ manipulates the architecture of the historic site, transforming an ordinary view of the renowned london piazza into a mind-bending public art piece. the illusion results in the perception that the 40-foot-long building has cracked from its stone base and floated over 10 feet into the air with apparent weightlessness.