For the first installment of our new series 'Wall-to-Wall', curator and writer Ken Miller sits down with some of the finest American outdoor artists, who all see urban landscape as a playground to uplift our moods. Today, we kick off the week with Ken as he talks with the installation art duo ConfettiSystem.
Earlier this summer, local artists and designers CONFETTISYSTEM completed their annual residency at PS1, as part of the museum’s summertime Warm-Up series. Nicholas Andersen and Julie Ho – the Brooklyn-based duo behind CONFETTISYSTEM – are also participating in a pop-up shop organized by Artbook at PS1 and can be seen in the “NYC Makers” exhibition at the Museum of Art and Design. Working with simple materials – paper, mylar, tape and glue – CONFETTISYSTEM have transformed a series of spaces in ways that are entrancing, radical and transportive.
How do you prefer that people interact with your work?
We love to create installations that transform a space completely – creating work that balances pleasure with a sense of being overwhelmed.
Why focus on creating objects that are temporary?
It's sort of an offering, putting our energy into transforming materials to create an object that will be destroyed. It’s about enjoying the present moment.
You guys began as a band - do you think that influenced your approach?
Yes! Bands have the power to transform the mood of a space and the people in it with the energy and presence they offer during a performance.
Describe the emotional impact of seeing one of your pieces get smashed….
Its really intense, It’s thrilling and stressful! A lot goes into making a piñata break in a beautiful way that works with the timing and mood of the room, in that sense it’s really collaborative – everyone in the room has to work together to reach that moment.
What is your process for each piece? Do you do multiple rounds of studies and test pieces? To what degree are you responding to the specific site or event?
Yes, we do a lot of testing and model making. With larger works, it is really essential to try to see the project a whole. Our work is often site specific, so it’s important that the work really becomes a part of the environment and takes into account the existing architecture. It’s a lot of fun working with raw or unconventional spaces because they usually offer more opportunities for our work to fuse and mesh with its surroundings.
Your work occupies a very unique space between art and design. Can you describe some of your influences?
Our work is really an expression of our combined cross-cultural memories, drawing inspiration from the rich sensorial experiences that often occur in temples, clubs, and other places of healing. Some of our favorite works are by James Turrell, Imi Knobel, Sheila Hicks, and Terry Riley.
Do you have a preferred place to show your work? For example, is it better to show inside a museum or outdoors? A party or a gallery?
One element that gets us really excited about a space is light! It can be really great in any venue, indoors or out. It really transforms our work. At the Museum of Arts and Design, we chose to install a large floral work on a transparent wall in the lobby because the natural light is constantly changing and really shapes the texture and color of the work.
Do you see your work evolving towards creating more permanent pieces?
Yes we are open to it! We have created a few permanent works in fabric, as well as a few furniture pieces in mylar and wood. With our permanent work we still aim to capture the light and intangible energy that our ephemeral work has.