They say that patience is a virtue, and unfortunately it is one I feel I am sometimes lacking. I love me some order and organization, but these following artists must have the patience of a dozen saints in order to take apart and re-assemble hundreds of little pieces into these striking images. And not to mention a steady hand throughout the whole process.
I’m no doctor, but this looks to be a case of Obsessive-Compulsive Design and now if you’ll excuse me, my room is looking a bit messy…
Ursus Wehrli – the Art of Clean Up (via Plenty of Colour)
Swiss artist Ursus Wehrli looks at everyday scenes and sees chaos. What you and I may see as slightly haphazard and completely normal, he sees as a hot mess just waiting to be cleaned up. While we may go about our days without a second thought, Wehrli is already rolling up his sleeves, ready to straighten, sort, and stack until even the stars align.
You really have to admire the time and patience to alphabetize noodles, and the time and energy to coordinate and choreograph poolside patrons into an un-natural array of colorful objects. His photographs take on an infographic-like quality and are very informative – in case you are ever wondering just how many pine needles are found on an average branch.
I also appreciate the cheekiness of Wehrli’s book, Tidying Up Art, where he plays digital housekeeper in famous works of art in order to, you know, clean it up a bit. In his TED Talk, he says this ‘compulsive habit’ eventually yielded this ‘picture book’ as he began to look at the world of modern art. The video is worth watching because Wehrli has quite a sense of humor as he critiques several examples of famous artwork, quipping that his mother would have grounded him if his room was as messy as some of the ones in these pieces.
Todd McLellan – Disassembly series (via 20×200)
I picture the process behind Todd McLellan‘s photos to be like an inverse game of Operation: instead of extracting plastic vital organs with the fear of getting the buzzer, he first dissembles the old object ( ‘often found on the street curbs heading for disposal’) and then, armed with a teeny little pair of tweezers (I imagine), meticulously lays out each piece down to the most miniscule of screws.
It’s fitting that Todd works with mechanical appliances such as cameras and clocks, that are designed to hide their internal workings within a sleek shell. Every gear, cog, and lever serves a purpose but it’s not until he exposes these organs that we’re aware of just how much stuff is actually inside of these everyday objects. I especially enjoy seeing all the bits that make up a camera, but it may be the guts of ye olde typewriter that really get me with all of those branch-like pieces.
But for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So for every cleancut Dr. Jekyll-esque image, Todd has also created an explosive version, possibly capturing the moment the object is about to ‘burst’ into its million little pieces. Oh hello Mr. Hyde.