Points of view

Es Devlin: Highest level contemporary and interactive art

19.12.2018 | By PAOLO BOCCHI

Go to New York for the inauguration of a project by the BIG studio, and discover, thanks to the architecture of Biarke Ingels, a true star of contemporary art: Es Devlin. An artist who has worked, among others, with the likes of Beyoncè, Adele, U2, The Weeknd, etc.

The new trend in the United States increasingly sees art coming out of the narrow and elitist spaces of more or less famous galleries to go directly to the streets.
In an intelligent and subversive way, the artists are taking over the public spaces of newly built residential and/or commercial buildings, with a strategic move that has conquered and amazed insiders and not. It thus happens that one can come across an Anish Kapoor sculpture at the base of a TriBeCa building; that one can see works by Robert Indiana in a condominium in Miami, and that one will be fascinated by the works of Olafur Eliasson for a “condo” soon to be opened, also in Miami.
Art meets public spaces, therefore. And the artists, with their works, meet different types of public, whom they probably would never have had the opportunity to “speak” to otherwise.
Builders and sellers seem to have “sniffed” the new direction, and move accordingly. The design standard now includes a “sacred triad” to direct the construction of any building, in order to satisfy potential future buyers: an internationally renowned architect, a great interior designer, and a great artist. These are the “winning” ingredients, today, for “brick & art”, which marry each other, to the extreme pleasure of both. An unthinkable and unimaginable thing, only a few years ago.
One of the most recent examples, and one of the most striking, of the current trend, is certainly the cooperation that came to life during the realization of the “XI Residential Towers”, in New York. A project that saw Bjarke Ingels, Danish architect among the most “à la page” of the moment (and founder of the BIG studio, Bjarke Ingels Group), working together with Es Devlin.

 

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And here comes the point. Not everyone knows or knew (at the time of the inauguration) who Es Devlin was, and what he did. Today, thanks to the artist-architectural vernissage held in the big apple, Es Devlin and his visionary works have entered the mind of anyone who attended. And those who were present, have spread, and are spreading the “Devlin word”.

Es Devlin is, fundamentally, a great artist. His fields of action range from the most “usual” art to the stages of U2 and The Weeknd to the “added” red lion in Trafalgar Square. But let’s go step by step. Es Devlin works a lot with “the stage”, with “the theater”, with “the concerts”, with “ballet”, but doesn’t disdain crossing borders, exploring and working on projects dedicated to galleries or, as in the case above, new experiments in which languages-public-works come together for the first time in different forms from the customary habit.
To mention some names Es Devlin has worked with: Adele, The Week, U2, Miley Cirus, Kanye West, Damien Hirst, Royal Opera House, Take That, Bregenz Festival, Lorde, Beyoncè … just to name a few.

In September this year, Es Devlin took poetry to Trafalgar Square, by adding a “fifth” lion, painted red, to the existing four, and using it as a “Trojan horse” to be able to provide moments of poetry in one of the most important and historical points of aggregation in London, interacting with the public. A red lion “roaring poetry!”
The title of the installation?
Please Feed The Lions.

 

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Es Devlin is one of the best examples of contemporary art: his art is among us, and we experience it and live it, enjoying its power and beauty to the utmost without even realizing that we ourselves are “an integral part” of the work itself.
One last thing, about Es Devlin:
the best is yet to be: Poem Pavillion, Expo 2020, Dubai.