MARIUS JANSEN VAN VUUREN
Artist . Public Artist
I’m a South African Artist, collaborator and a maker of stuff.
The Giant Baby Giraffe was one of three large-scale public art installations that formed part of the It’s My City community project under guidance of British artist Alex Rinsler. The public added thousands of messages to the works, expressing their wishes for the future and for their loved ones. After a week the sculptures came to life with three community-led processions, meeting in a fourth location where they were set them on fire. It was the 2016 signature project of the Programme for Innovation in Artform Development (PIAD) a partnership between the Vrystaat Arts Festival and the University of the Free State, supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Inspired by re-purposing animate and inanimate materials, the reconstructed bronze tree series investigates the ephemeral life-cycle of living organisms in the natural world in contrast to the extended lifespan of the products we consume. The work questions our awareness of our environmental footprint and our contribution to this footprint. The relationship between the bronze and cardboard moreover questions the phases of life and the concept of permanence. Recreating trees from found dead branches and casting them in bronze is a process of upcycling nature which contrasts the use of the other materials that form part of these sculptures: cardboard, wood and steel. Furthermore, these sculptures become symbolic of the full phases of life and the experiences that transform us.
We Can Be Heroes is an interdisciplinary public art project that found its debut at the Free State Art Festival, where it consisted of four large inflatables inspired by the Southern sky, imagined worlds and local mythologies. Locals in and around the city of Bloemfontein were invited to hold a giant balloon and to share their thoughts on what they think of when they look to the sky. The balloons came together on one site at the festival, forming a unit outlining the footprint of the city during the last two days of the festival. During these two days of the festival the collected thoughts of the locals were projected onto the surface of these inflatables.
We Can Be Heroes was presented as part of the Programme for Innovation in Artform Development (PIAD), an initiative of the University of the Free State and the Vrystaat Arts Festival, generously supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, in partnership with OSCA – Open Space Contemporary Arts (Australia). Conceived by Australian artist Paul Gazzola and designed by local artist Marius Jansen van Vuuren.
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