SPECIAL EXPO

Wolfgang Buttress, an award-winning artist, is known for his installations in public spaces that combine art, design and architecture, inspired by the life cycle of nature. Most of his works are magniloquent, though often light as well, like the trails of an airplane in a blue sky, and they arise, as he explains, “from simple ideas, like pollination,” a fecundation that generates vital energy in a calm, natural way.

This is true of the UK Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015, a large beehive immersed in nature, created to offer a generative experience of a sustainable type, perceived through empathy, as in nature.

His creations – comparable to Land Art for the ‘calm’ Buttress likes to emphasize, and for the way they become an organic part of natural and constructed landscapes – do not belong, precisely, to this category of art. They are effectively sculptures, often on a large scale, capable of triggering magical sensations and wonder thanks to elaborate weaving.

At times they are like incandescent circles of fire, as in Lucente (2014), the work installed in the lobby of the John Hancock Center in Chicago. Angel Wing (Islington, London, 2003) is a pair of wings, 125 meters high and 18 meters wide, composed of a steel structure woven with goose feathers, seeming to float in the plaza of the shopping center, almost as if they belonged to an immense bird. Rise (2011), a geodesic sphere of 30 meters in diameter that rises in the center of Belfast to a height of 37.5 meters, making it visible from all sides, represents a sort of unexpected focal point in the cityscape.

Though they are always remarkably large, Buttress’s works never overwhelm the surrounding space, imposing a static, monumental presence, but instead manage to fit into the landscape, taking part in it, since they are not inert but always to some extent mutable, in tune with the vital breath of nature.

He talks about his works as “living organisms, constantly changing, capable of transmitting a sensation of calm.” Peace and quiet are the qualities he pursues in his installations, offering a varied repertoire of astonishing works, governed by a natural harmony.

 

focusing by Cristina Morozzi

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Una, 2013, Australia. Another reflecting sphere makes it possible for those looking into the holes to see the microcosm of a starry night.
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Rise, 2011, Belfast. Winner of an international competition, the work sets out to become the symbol of the new Belfast. It is composed of a geodesic dome inside a larger reticular structure that rises to a height of 37.5 meters.
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Una, 2013, Australia. A perforated steel sphere reproduces 9100 stars of the firmament.
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Wolfgang Buttress inside the United Kingdom Pavilion, which the artist has imagined as a large honeycomb immersed in nature. “The idea is simple but magniloquent: pollination, or the fecundation of plants by means of wind or bees, to generate vital energy in a natural way.” (ph courtesy UKTI)