art Tag

Tetsujin 28-go statue gigantor, large manga statue, Kobe, Japan
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The huge robot that saved a city

Tetsujin 28-go statue, Kobe, Japan If you were around in the 1960s – or if you’re a fan of vintage comics – you might know the story of Gigantor, a huge flying robot controlled by a 12-year-old boy with a remote control. Gigantor was the international version of a Japanese anime called Tetsujin 28-go (not as catchy, right?). The Japanese character was created by artist Mitsuteru Yokoyama, who was born in the city of Kobe. Unfortunately the character, being fictional, was unable to help when Kobe was hit by a devastating earthquake in 1995. More than 6,000 people lost their lives in the quake and there was about $100 billion dollars worth of damage. But Gigantor (or Tetsujin 28-go, to be technically correct) has helped the city in other ways. A huge statue of the character was built in Kobe after the earthquake as part of an expansive project to rebuild and rejuvenate...

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11 September
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, art museum, gallery
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Making art about the experience

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands I stare at the collection of hangars and ropes with confusion. This is supposedly the coat rack for the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam but I can’t seem to work it out. It’s not until one of the museum staff comes over and explains it that it starts to make a bit of sense. You need to pull on a rope in the central area to make a hangar somewhere else come down. Once you’ve put your coat on, you can pull it back up with the rope and then lock it into place, your coat dangling metres above the ground. If it sounds unnecessarily complicated, it is. But that’s intentional. This isn’t an ordinary museum and the idea is to get you thinking and interacting before you’ve even walked through to the main galleries. The collection of the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen first started...

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30 May
bonsai trees, japan, omiya bonsai art museum, saitama, japan
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It’s the small things that matter

Bonsai art, Japan It’s odd. Normally the idea of growing a tree is to make it as large as possible. Or, at least, allow its potential to fill the space available. It seems counterintuitive to intentionally try to stunt the development of a plant, to twist its branches and manipulate its growth in such a demented way. Except in Japan it’s not a matter of ‘stunting’ it. There’s nothing ‘demented’ about it. This is art. This is bonsai. For more than a thousand years, the Japanese have found beauty in manipulating the shape of a growing tree and limiting its size. The techniques of this particular branch of art and the history of bonsai are far too complicated for me to understand but I do appreciate that there is a great skill in a good bonsai artist. They use a variety of methods to mould the final shape – pruning the roots, wiring...

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15 April
cap de creus, natural park, catalonia, spain, salvador dali inspiration, home, childhood, great masturbator (9)
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The inspiration of Salvador Dali

Cap de Creus Natural Park, Spain Sometimes there are minds you can’t even imagine comprehending, imaginations seemingly too warped to understand, things that seem to be but exist only when you’re imagining them. Imagination – it comes from somewhere. Perhaps it comes from inspiration. That makes sense, doesn’t it? There needs to be a spark and what is inspiration if the not the ignition of an idea? Just like fire needs heat to exist, all the best creativity needs a stimulus. Salvador Dali, the great twentieth century painter, found inspiration here on the coast of Spain. In the Cap de Creus Natural Park in the country’s Costa Brava region, he found the shapes that would form in his mind and be realised on the canvas. Rocks like animals, trees like people, perhaps even clouds like melting clocks? Dali grew up in this region and as a child he would spend time along the coast....

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08 October
daphni monastery, athens, greece, byzantine church in greece, restoration, opening hours (2)
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Restoring the faith

Monastery at Daphni, Athens Piece by piece, tiny tile by tiny tile, the monastery at Daphni is being restored. It's taken years and it's bound to take years more - perhaps even longer than it took to build in the first place. Such is the art of making something old look old again. And it's not the first time it's had to be done. About ten kilometres from the centre of Athens, this Byzantine-style monastery was first built in its current form almost a thousand years ago. It had risen from the ruins of an ancient temple dedicated to Apollo Daphneios. Over the millennium between then and now, both men and nature have taken turns trying to destroy it. In the 1200s, Frankish crusaders sacked it - but a religious order faithful to the then Duke of Athens began to restore it two years later. In 1821 it was deconsecrated and used as...

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02 September