Art has evolved a lot, hasn’t it? From the crudely made cave paintings to the genius, colossal structures made by today’s artists, art has gone through changes in terms of ideas, messages, and skills, but most drastically in terms of the mediums used. Gone are the days of simple graphite pencils and paper. Even classy oil paintings feel old when artists use materials like animal parts, fruits, cheese, and even blood in their artwork, rendering it a larger-than-life meaning.
But here, we have compiled a list of some of the most bizarre art mediums ever used, maybe because of their specific utility, or maybe because the artist just felt like being weird!
Shoes- Dominique Blain
This Canadian artist incorporates photography, installation, and sculpture in her work, but not the usual kind. She deals with socio-political themes through irony and emphasis in her pieces. When you look at the acclaimed Missa, all you see is a 3-dimensional metal grid of strings and army boots, and you’ll wonder to yourself, “Hey, even I could do that!” But a walk around the dimly lit exhibit, and you might start to feel uneasy at the sight of the second shoe in every pair, dangling just above ground, casting a haunting shadow. This leads you into the artist’s mind where she questions so many futilities of war. Simple, but meaningful.
Everything– Adrián Villar Rojas
To some, Argentina-born Villar Rojas may be a normal-enough sculptor, molding clay and cement to create beautiful, but not unexpected artworks. These people have not heard about his Theatre of Disappearance, a site-specific installation set up all around the globe in 2017 and 2018- MOCA in Los Angeles, National Observatory of Athens, and the Met in New York, to name a few. The exhibition displays an ‘archaeology of the future’, an imagined post-human apocalyptic scene, where objects of the world now exist in unusual environments. It is built to appear like a museum, with glass cases trapping some spooky collections of artefacts. The freezing temperature inside the glass houses the most absurd of things, the kind that you might dig up at an archaeological site, or from a deep cleaning of a dirty beach. These include disgustingly colorful, dead stuff from moldy bread to dead fish, from rotting fruit to animal carcasses, with a touch of human existence like torn up tennis shoes and plastic. When something is weird enough, it forces you to think about it incessantly, and that’s exactly the artist’s intention.
Blood– Marc Quinn
Even though the color of dried blood isn’t exactly a sight to behold, I guess British artist Marc Quinn was really into the idea. He extracted 10 pints of blood from his own body, and poured it into a mould of his head, creating a bust-sized self-sculpture called Self. He doesn’t stop there, though. He crafts a new version of Self every 5 years, blood and all. The sculpture is covered in frozen silicone and always has its own refrigeration unit; it would be a shame to let all that blood just melt and flow away, afterall. The idea behind this bizarre creation is that the self-portrait of the artists is made literally from his own body; it reflects his existence. It’s probably legal to indulge in such extreme creativity, just make sure you use your own blood :).
Ants- Chris Trueman
The adventures of this artist may remind you of the Sateré-Mawé tribe’s bullet ant tradition. Many people draw wildlife, even detailed paintings of ants, but not as many of them use ants to make a detailed painting of themselves. This artist from Los Angeles decided to create the art of a lifetime using 200,000 ants. He bought them in batches of 40,000, after which he killed them by exposing them to nail polish remover, and then used tweezers to place each ant in position onto a sheet of Plexiglass, smeared in a layer of Galkyd resin. He painstakingly finished the piece, because at one point he started feeling bad about killing all those creatures, but decided to finish the painting “or the ants’ deaths would’ve been in vain”. This artwork, which he called ‘Self Portrait with a Gun’ is believed to be priced at $35,000.
Copper Sulphate- Roger Hiorns
The blend of science and art always has something special in store, and British artist (more like alchemist) Roger Hiorns used it to its fullest extent. Drawing from a simple but pretty science experiment involving the growth of blue crystals and copper sulphate solution, he applied it first to a BMW engine, converting the metal into a glistening mass of deep-sea treasure. But that wasn’t enough to satisfy him. You know, scientists, always looking for the next big thing. Hiorns’s next idea was something outrageous. He thought of creating a whole environment of blue crystals, which would give you the otherworldly experience of being inside a mermaid castle. A flat in London was lucky enough to be chosen for the job, and it was flooded with 75,000 litres of liquid copper sulphate, which was left in it for a month and then pumped out. What resulted was a crystalline cave of wonders, titled Seizure by the artist. Standing in the room makes you gape at it’s spiritually arousing beauty, but the thought that this structure of sharp rocks may come crashing on you any moment leaves you in fear and reverence.
But one thing unites artists of all creeds, skills, and ideas – creation of a revolutionary world running in parallel with our own, which lets us reflect our good deeds and bad, and gives us a chance to look into the mirror of human society.
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