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Creative giants from Hirst to Hambling have produced masterpieces a few centimetres across for a scaled-down show
Last year, researchers released records from nearly two years of analysis of Johannes Vermeer’s most-recognized artwork, “Girl With a Pearl Earring.” While their findings didn’t include the subject’s highly sought-after identity, they did reveal that the gray backdrop is actually a dark green curtain and that the figure has eyelashes only visible with magnification. Thanks to Emilien Leonhardt and Vincent Sabatier, of Hirox Europe, we all can study the intricacies of Vermeer’s elusive work and peer directly into the paint cracks with an interactive 10-billion pixel panorama.
The duo began the undertaking to determine the surface condition of the iconic piece after multiple restorations, measure the space between the fractured pigments, and elucidate the artist’s technique. Using a custom microscope, Leonhardt and Sabatier took 9,100 photographs of the painting that were then woven together into the massive panorama. It reveals particulars down to 4.4-microns per pixel.
The artists have responded to the pandemic with comic, haunting works showing themselves being buffeted around a chaotic London. They talk about lines of coffins, illegal raves and ‘shameful’ statue-toppling.
With public art collections closed we are bringing the art to you, exploring highlights and hidden gems from across the country in partnership with Art UK. Today’s pick: Guildford’s De Morgan Collection’s Lux in Tenebris.
Swollen, glistening, and saturated with illusion, the ubiquitous water drop absorbed Kim Tschang-Yeul throughout his career. The Korean artist, who died earlier this year, was faithful to the seemingly mundane subject matter, choosing to depict the dewy orbs repeatedly after an initial painting in 1972 following his relocation to France. Inspired originally by a water-soaked canvas in his studio, Kim nurtured the viscous element in his hyperrealistic paintings created across nearly five decades. In an essay about the artist’s unending commitment, Dr. Cleo Roberts writes:
It is a tendency that seems to unite many of Korea’s avant-garde who took from Art Informel in the early ‘60s, including Ha Chong-Hyun and Park Seo-Bo. In this generation of artists, there is a ritualistic devotion to a chosen form, process, and, at times, colour. One could venture that, in the context of living in a volatile country ravaged by war, the security of immersion in a singular mode was an empowering choice, and may have been a necessary psychological counterpoint.
Whether depicting a singular pendant-shaped drop or canvas strewn with perfectly round bulbs, each of the oil-based works exhibits a deft approach to shadow and texture. The bloated forms appear to bead on the surface and are imbued with a sense of impermanence: if disturbed by even a small movement, they look as if they could burst or run down the surface.
The London-based design duo experimented with balloons to yield a neat effect