Over the last 20 years Yukinori Yanagi (previously) has been creating a series of artworks with an unlikely collaborator: ants. The Japanese conceptual artist begins by assembling replicas of flags by pouring colored sand into plexiglass boxes. He then pours live ants into them, allowing them to wreak havoc – or order – as they set about tunneling through the sand. The piece is indeed a living, breathing artwork. It’s appearance continues to evolve as ants travel through the maze of flags, mixing sand as they go.
The symbolism, as crystalized in “Pacific” (below), which pokes fun at the notion of national identity and how even the island of Japan is not immune to the mixing of cultures and identities. “My works,” says Yanagi “are borders I have had to cross or barriers I have confronted in trying to define myself as a Japanese.”
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Episode #001: Mark Bradford at his home in Los Angeles, with excerpts from his childhood Super 8 home movies.
Mark Bradford transforms materials scavenged from the street into wall-sized collages and installations that respond to the impromptu networks—underground economies, migrant communities, or popular appropriation of abandoned public space—that emerge within a city. Bradford’s work is as informed by his personal background as a third-generation merchant in Los Angeles as it is by the tradition of abstract painting developed worldwide in the twentieth century.
LEARN: Mark Bradford is featured in the Season 4 (2007) episode Paradox of the Art:21—Art in the Twenty-First Century television series on PBS.
DISCUSS: What do you think about this video? Leave a comment!
Learn more about Mark Bradford: http://www.art21.org/artists/mark-bradford
VIDEO | Producer: Susan Sollins & Nick Ravich. Camera: Bob Elfstrom. Sound: Ray Day. Editor: Monte Matteotti. Artwork courtesy: Mark Bradford. © 2008 Art21, Inc.