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
belgrade street art, graffiti in serbia
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Images from a post-war generation

Belgrade street art Look to the streets and they will tell you the pulse of the city. On the walls, on poles, on electricity boxes, are the stories of the people.These stories are not told in words - these are tales of the visual. For in the art of Belgrade you can find the fears and hopes of reality.I won't insult the artists by trying to put into words what they have captured so well with their images. Except to say that you can see more than just history, or urban shackles, or daily pressures. Look beyond the colours and the styles to see a world where living to 25 is an achievement, where a smile is more than a smile, where even the simplest stencil shows a complicated analysis of the post-war surrounds.This is the street art of Belgrade - some of the most intriguing and thought-provoking in this part...

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16 July
Miffy, Dick Bruna House, Utrecht, Netherlands
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The multimillion dollar rabbit

Dick Bruna House, Utrecht, The Netherlands Who would have thought that such a simple design would prove to be so popular for so long?Miffy is a rabbit – that is clear from immediately looking at her. But you might not realise that she is the world’s most successful rabbit, at the head of a US$250 million empire. And that fortune has come about despite (or, perhaps, because of) a sterile simplicity. She is created with just a few shapes and one colour. There’s no intricate detail or deep expression in her face but Miffy has managed to capture the hearts of children across the world.The character was created by Dutch artist Dick Bruna, who has made about 30 books based on Miffy’s adventures. (If you can call going to school or going to the doctor an ‘adventure’.) Together they have been translated into 40 different languages and have sold more than...

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13 June
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
tactual museum, athens, museum for blind in greece, greek ancient art (5)
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Getting in touch with the Greek statues

Tactual Museum for Blind, Athens Imagine what it's like to travel to the most famous tourist sites in the world but to not be able to see them. What it would be like to stand in front of the greatest artworks of human times but not be able to appreciate them. To try to understand the history of the world without images to put to the stories.These are the struggles of the blind and the visually-impaired. Sightseeing is difficult if you have no sight and are unable to see. The usual tourist behaviour of standing, looking, considering what is in front of you - it's all a luxury that's as foreign as the lands the sites are in.One museum in Athens is trying to change all of that, though. At the Tactual Museum, they're trying to give people with sight problems a sense of Greece's ancient history. Everything on exhibit can...

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25 July
plane art, philadelphia, street art, jordan griska (3)
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In plane site

Philadelphia street art There’s something cool about street art at the best of times, but especially when you’re a tourist. There’s something about the installations in public areas that says a lot about a city. The artwork represents the thoughts of the inspired, using symbols to tell the true tale of the place. And it’s telling what a city allows to be installed!One work in particular caught my attention when I was in Philadelphia. It's hard for a huge fighter jet crashed into the pavement not to catch your attention!I walked around it, surveying it from every direction. I looked inside the windows and was surprised by what I saw. I touched it and felt the cold metal on my palms. I made a mental note to find out more about it.I'm glad I did.It turns out the work was made by a young local artist called Jordan Griska. He had...

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20 July