Thursday, 28 April 2011

La Région Centrale

I watched Michael Snow's 1971 experimental film La Région Centrale last year.  The film was shot in remote and barren northern Quebec using a robotic arm.  I love the experimentalism with unconventional camera movement, perfect for a film expressing as its themes the cosmic relationships of space and time.  But a full 180 minutes of spatial disorientation was a bit overwhelming for me.  Here's a clip of the amazing film:

Video from 's youtube channel

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Toronto sketches

I draw sketches when I wander the streets of Toronto.  Some of my drawings done at various locations downtown/midtown, 2008-2009:

Paris sketches

I draw quick sketches when I travel.  Some of my older drawings done in Paris, just outside Centre Pompidou, 2008:

Thanks to G for helping me with the scanning.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Empire, blue Empire

Before my projector broke down, I used to project an image of Eiffel Tower, or other favourite architecture of mine, on a wall at night.  I think it will be cool to project Andy Warhol's 8-hours-and-5-minutes-long film Empire on the wall all night long.  Empire is a silent black-and-white film made in 1964.  It is nothing but a continuous slow motion footage of the Empire State Building from dusk till late late night.  Here's a short clip of the film:

Video from 's youtube channel

When I visited New York two years ago, I took a picture of the Empire State Building at night, rendering it monochromatic blue:

Monday, 25 April 2011

Cymbal Rush x2

Thom Yorke's original from his 2006 album The Eraser:

Video from bushwick's youtube channel

The Field Late Night Essen Und Trinken Remix:

Video from 's youtube channel

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Pascal Fibonacci

Fibonacci sequence in the Pascal triangle:

01  01
01  02  01
01  03  03  01
01  04  06  04  01
01  05  10  10  05  01
01  06  15  20  15  06  01
01  07  21  35  35  21   ...
01  08  28  56  70   ...
01  09  36  84   ...
01  10  45   ...
01  11   ...
01   ...

Not a totally surprising discovery since both the Pascal triangle and Fibonacci sequence are generated additively - pretty neat though.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Glimpses of the inconceivable yet computable 6D space

Manfred Mohr's works are based on the 6-dimensional hypercube.  He considers its diagonal paths, each connecting two diametric points through the network of edges of this complex structure.  Mohr's works are the projections of these diagonal paths into 2-dimensional space.

Images from Manfred Mohr Space.Color, Museum fuer Konkrete Kunst Ingolstadt 2001

Mohr's algorithmic animation works were shown a year ago at Lausberg Contemporary, Toronto.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Konkrete kunst

The term konkrete kunst (concrete art, not the art of concrete!) was first introduced by Theo van Doesburg in 1930 and developed in the following decades by various artists, most notably Max Bill.  This form of abstraction rejects any symbolical association with reality.  Nothing is more concrete than lines or colours.  There are a few art museums in Germany specialized in konkrete kunst, including Museum für Konkrete Kunst in Ingolstadt:

Bridget Riley at Museum im Kulturspeicher, Würzburg 2010:

Josef Albers at Josef Albers Museum, Bottrop 2010:

Thursday, 21 April 2011


The Riemann zeta function is defined by the infinite series

where s is a complex variable with Re(s) > 1.  But if evaluated at 1, it becomes the harmonic series

Despite its divergence, Euler approved the significance of the identity.  The fact that it is connected to all prime numbers* is fascinating.

*It is a well known fact that there are infinitely many primes.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Suprematist geometry

Pioneer of Russian suprematism in the early 20th century, El Lissitzky was one of the first visual artists employing pure geometry in his works.  From 1922:

Image from Design: El Lissitzky, John Milner 2009

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

De Stijl

One of the leaders of the early 20th century De Stijl movement, Theo van Doesburg demonstrated his purist aesthetic in 1918:

Image from

Monday, 18 April 2011

Miesian minimalism

Mies van der Rohe's project for a brick country house, 1923 - the aesthetic of structural minimalism:

Image from Modern Architecture A Critical History, Thomas and Hudson Ltd, London 1992

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Schur's architectural aesthetics

Richard Schur has quickly become one of my favourite contemporary artists after I have seen his works the first time at Muenchen's ARS Agenda in 2009.  Thanks to C, I even got a chance to meet with the artist.  I was totally carried away by the architectural aesthetic of his paintings - juxtaposition of Miesian grids with vivid and neutral colour fields.

Images from Richard Schur, Verlag Hubert Kretschmer, München 2008

It is sad to see the closure of the ARS Agenda showroom in 2010.  I hope it will reopen soon in future.

Friday, 15 April 2011


April 15 - it is Euler's 304th birthday today.  Widely regarded as the most beautiful theorem in mathematics is Euler's identity (beware: there are some typos in the proof):

This elegant result links the five most fundamental mathematical constants 0, 1, iπ and e in one single equation.

More circular cities ... 40 years ago, and older

Coincidentally, Frank Stella's Tahkt-i-Sulayman Variation II from his Protractor series some 40 years ago was named after an ancient urban hub - an archeological site in Iran - although, in Stella's own words, his painting is "based on the fact that only what can be seen there is there; it really is an object."  I saw the painting at the MIA (Minneapolis Institute of Arts) in 2010.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Morris's urban geometries

With the reopening of Duesseldorf's refurbished K20 (Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen) last summer, Sarah Morris was commissioned to cover one of their external walls with her vibrant palette and geometries.  I was thrilled to find her new work there.

Morris's works are often derived from observation of architectural details.  She uses colours and geometries that she associates with a city’s unique aesthetic vocabulary and palette.  I saw her Lesser Panda show at White Cube Mason's Yard in London 2008.  Her works at the show were focused on the city of Beijing, the site for the 2008 summer Olympic Games.

Images from

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Nothing Changes

The song I recently listen to the most - cool minimalist industrial techno from Alex Smoke:

Video from 's youtube channel

Monday, 11 April 2011

LeWitt and Flavin

About the imaginary Liam Gillick/Donald Judd show I was curating, apparently works of the other two great masters Sol LeWitt and Dan Flavin would also be aptly included.

Details of LeWitt's Wall Drawings #349 at Mercer Union, Toronto 2010:

Flavin at Pinakothek der Moderne, München 2009:

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Gillick vs Judd

I just missed Liam Gillick's mid-career retrospective Three Perspectives and a Short Scenario when I visited Rotterdam's Witte de With in 2008.  So when I learnt that the exhibition was travelling to Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art in 2009, I decided that I must go to Chicago for a weekend.  Gillick's bright-coloured architectural structures dominated the show.  It was my first time seeing his works in real life.  My weekend was well spent.

If I were to curate a show, I would let Gillick's works converse with the great Donald Judd's.  Judd at K20, Duesseldorf 2010:

Saturday, 9 April 2011


Architectural drawings have always been one of my sources of inspiration, especially conceptual drawings like Peter Eisenman's 1975 House VI:

Image from

Zaha Hadid's 1983 the Peak:

Image from

Deconstructivist Gehry

More deconstructivist objects - how can I not include Frank Gehry?

Neuer Zollhof completed in 1999, Duesseldorf:

Weisman Art Museum completed in 1993, Minneapolis:

Art Gallery of Ontario completed in 2008, Toronto:

Thursday, 7 April 2011

De la Cruz's deflated paintings/collapsed sculptures

Turner Prize 2010 finalist Angela de la Cruz's paintings are broken and distorted canvases.  The distinction between paintings and sculptures is blurred by these 3-dimensional objects.  I saw her daring works at Tate Britain last December.  Although she did not win the prize, she got my vote.

Image by Michelle Schultz at

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

The first 199 digits (mod 4) of π vs Damien Hirst

The first 199 digits (mod 4) of π :

03 14 15 92 65 35 89 79 32 38
46 26 43 38 32 79 50 28 84 19
71 69 39 93 75 10 58 20 97 49
44 59 23 07 81 64 06 28 62 08
99 86 28 03 48 25 34 21 17 06
79 82 14 80 86 51 32 82 30 66
47 09 38 44 60 95 50 58 22 31
72 53 59 40 81 28 48 11 17 45
02 84 10 27 01 93 85 21 10 55
59 64 46 22 94 89 54 93 03 81

Damien Hirst's dots:

Monday, 4 April 2011

The first 199 digits of π (monochromatic grey)

03.14 15 92 65 35 89 79 32 38
46 26 43 38 32 79 50 28 84 19
71 69 39 93 75 10 58 20 97 49
44 59 23 07 81 64 06 28 62 08
99 86 28 03 48 25 34 21 17 06
79 82 14 80 86 51 32 82 30 66
47 09 38 44 60 95 50 58 22 31
72 53 59 40 81 28 48 11 17 45
02 84 10 27 01 93 85 21 10 55
59 64 46 22 94 89 54 93 03 81

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Romanticism vs geometry

Toronto's Angell Gallery is currently showing Andrew Rucklidge's recent works.  The clash of Romantic landscapes with crystalline geometry in Rucklidge's paintings reminds me of Daniel Libeskind's ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) not too far away downtown.

Saturday, 2 April 2011


Besides Hiorns's Seizure, another Artangel project I have experienced was its sound project Longplayer - a computer-generated music piece which will play for 1000 years without repetition.  It started playing at midnight on 31 December 1999 and will continue playing until 31 December 2999.  You can hear it at the top of the lighthouse at Trinity Buoy Wharf in east London.  It is hard to believe that when I visited there in December 2009, it has already been playing for almost ten years non-stop.

Vide from ' youtube channel


London-based Artangel has produced a few unique art projects.  With Seizure, Roger Hiorns has turned the idea of sculpture inside out.  Rather than presenting a sculpture inside an architectural space, Hiorns has turned every surface of an architectural space into a sculpture.  In December 2009, I saw an abandoned apartment in south London entirely covered, walls and ceilings, by blue copper sulphate crystals.

Video from tate's youtube channel

Friday, 1 April 2011

The most beautiful ugly sound in the world

Japanese sound artist Ryoji Ikeda's music borders between noise and tones.  It's the most beautiful ugly sound in the world.

Video from 's youtube channel