Mario Mankey is a Spanish artist now living in Berlin who is challenging himself to study and learn from artists and culture to find his own distinctive voice. Combining elements of comics, animation, primitivism, deconstructed graffiti, abstraction, Miro, Picasso, and Basquiat, the energy powering his assembled exploration is a professed desire to learn from and to talk to an audience.
In his new monumental installation, giant legs tear through the ceiling. Titled ‘Ego Erectus’, the sculpture takes the form of two enormous feet stomping through the roof of the Haus exhibition venue in Berlin. Standing in the middle of the room, the limbs engage with the architecture of the site, with pieces of the ceiling scattered across the floor.
Jaume Plensa produces monumental sculptures in steel, glass, marble, polyester resin, concrete, and bronze. He is best known for his Crown Fountain in Chicago’s Millenium Park, two 50-foot-high glass towers set amidst a pool of water, which play giant video portraits of Chicago residents that periodically purse their lips and spout water into the pool.
Predominantly producing figurative sculpture, Plensa has created larger-than-life-sized heads constructed of fine, stainless-steel wire mesh so that their surrounding environments are visible through the works, and bronze figures cast from his own body.
Los Angeles based Thomas Housago’s work playfully subverts the expectation of sculpture. Drawing reference to a multitude of styles such as Classicism, Cubism, and Futurism, Houseago’s intentionally clumsy forms trade the imperious and enduring qualities of traditional bronze or marble for the humble aesthetic of plaster and various found materials. Lacking the weighty physical stature associated with three dimensional media, Houseago’s ‘monumental’ structures appear almost comically flimsy, reducing the grandiose weight of art history into sympathetic effigies.
Houseago is fascinated by tribal art from Africa and the South Pacific, an influence evident in the primitivist mask-like heads and crude features of his disjointed figures. To create them, Houseago begins with a structure of iron rods, then adds materials such as plaster, hemp, and wood. Some of his works incorporate charcoal or graphite sketches of faces and anatomy on plaster and wood panels, producing an unfinished look that draws attention to the artist’s process.
Argentine sculptor Adrián Villar Rojas produces monumental site-specific works, primarily in clay. The artist first chose the material for its low price and availability, but since then it has come to influence his concept of form. With their crude physicality and cracked surfaces, his sculptures are redolent of ruins, but their forms are more futuristic than antiquated.
I Nyoman Masriadi was born 1973, in Gianyar, Bali and received his training in art at the Institut Seni Indonesia Yogyakarta. Through his expert control of light, shadow and volume, Masriadi endows the monumental characters of his artworks with a sculptural, almost three-dimensional presence.
Sometimes these characters appear in the archetypal roles of comic book heroes, cowboys, soldiers and athletes, but just as frequently, they are simply powerfully built men and women engaged in solitary acts of strength or captured in private moments of vulnerability.