6 Artists

6 Artists

Poetry of Discarded Materials

In a time where consumerism only seems to be growing, it is inspiring to observe these six artists – such as Tara Donovan and Piet Hein Eek – who have made discarded, everyday materials the centre of their work. Watch their approach to re-using materials.

“The materials wait to be used again.” British sculptor Phyllida Barlow (b.1944) uses materials from her former sculptures – from their experimental stage. To Barlow, sculpturing is not about perfection but about recovering lost moments.

Flexibility is key to American artist Elliott Hundley (b. 1975), who uses materials he’s found washed up on a beach in his artwork. Wrapping paper, rocks and beads are all part of a magnificent collage pieced together by chicken wire and straight pins.

“In a way the artist works with remnants, society’s remnants.” Danish poet, writer and artist Morten Søkilde (b. 1974) dubs himself “a thing-finder” and uses these things he finds on e.g. the street to create his poetic, dream-like miniature models. When re-using materials in such a manner, there are suddenly infinite possibilities, and one’s own ideas are the only limitation.

American fabric sculptor and performance artist Nick Cave (b. 1959) describes his art as “a second skin that hides gender, race, class.” An array of discarded materials makes up his artwork, and he often frequents thrift stores and flea markets, searching for something “that has a pulse to it” and can be the beginning of something new.

“It always starts with material,” says Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek (b. 1967), who uses e.g. scrap wood to build furniture – his goal being to optimize and take maximum advantage of the things around him. Starting out, people thought he was crazy to use leftover-material, but his approach has now set a new trend.

American artist Tara Donovan (b. 1969) was initially drawn to everyday materials – such as straws – because they were easily accessible, inexpensive and mass-produced. She works to the point where the flexible material, which makes up her magical sculptures, transcends itself, thus creating a sort of artistic structure.

All interviews by Marc-Christoph Wagner, Christian Lund and Jonas Hjorth, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2015

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Chigozie Obioma

    Reading From ’The Fishermen’

    “Those the Gods have chosen to destroy, they inflict with madness,” says an Igbo proverb. Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma reads from his novel ’The Fishermen,” a tale of fate and brotherly love.

  • Nell Zink

    Reading From ‘Mislaid’

    A white lesbian woman escapes her marriage to a gay college professor and starts a life as an African-American single mother in the rural Virginia of the 1960s. Sounds intriguing? American writer Nell Zink reads from her 2015 novel ‘Mislaid.’

  • Clemens Setz

    When and Where I Write

    Austrian writer Clemens Setz says he is “very vulnerable” in the early hours of the morning and cuts off all incoming noise from the outside world. Those are “the perfect working hours” for him. Find out why in this short video.

  • Claudio Magris

    Europe and the Open Sea

    “The Mediterranean Sea is becoming a frontier and not a liquid bridge,” says Claudio Magris, leading cultural philosopher of our time. But the sea is many things: bearer of history, great discoveries and the love for his late wife.

  • William Kentridge

    on 'The Refusal of Time'

    How can we get a hold of time with our body and mind? This question is the crux of South African artist William Kentridge’s immersive installation ’The Refusal of Time.’ Join the artist for a detailed tour of his pulsing, breathtaking work.

  • Mette Winckelmann

    Woman to Woman

    ”You must evaluate whether the system you’re part of could be effectuated differently.” Meet artist Mette Winckelmann, who believes that abstract painting communicates deeper than language, and explore her visual take on gender politics.

  • Wang Shu

    Architecture is a Job for God

    The Chinese architect Wang Shu’s buildings – a crossover between traditional Chinese culture and large-scale modern architecture – have earned him prestigious awards. “Democracy means a really diverse society,” says the architect in this inspiring interview.

  • Margrethe Odgaard

    Colour Diary of New York

    Becoming more aware of your surroundings can “open a new dimension inside as well as outside yourself.” Meet award-winning Danish designer Margrethe Odgaard who has trained herself to register the world through colours.

  • Adam Caruso

    Novelty is nonsense

    "The European city is one of the great human inventions!” Adam Caruso advocates building with a deep sense of history and tradition. Meet the architect behind the award-winning Tate Britain conversion and numerous Gagosian galleries.

  • Thomas Hirschhorn

    A World of Collage

    Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn juxtaposes pixelated images from the media. His works are not about technology, says the artist: “I try to give form to what I can’t accept: that someone else can decide for me what I should do, see or think.”

  • Jonathan Safran Foer

    On Donald Trump

    Jonathan Safran Foer, star of American literature, offers interesting views on America’s new president and the consequences Trump will have on American culture. "The place for literature may be even more important than before," he says.

  • Dorte Mandrup

    Where Place Meets Sculpture

    Rising from the landscape in a place rich with materiality and history sits architect Dorte Mandrup’s new Wadden Sea Centre. Meet the renowned architect and see a building were “everything comes together.”