Archive for the 'Selected Work' Category

About

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PICTOPLASMA
PORTFOLIO

A scroll down the memory lane…

Apart from PUBLISHING and distributing our own high-quality books, DVD compilations and gadgets on the wider topic of contemporary character design and art, or frenetically organizing our annual EVENTS, such as the Pictoplasma festival and conference in Berlin and NYC, we have also been increasingly busy curating EXHIBITIONS and group shows throughout the globe, developing and intiating great collaborations with outstanding artists of our network to give birth to crazy INSTALLATIONS and art happenings, or even PRODUCING our own animations, urban games and theatre pieces, as well as – once in a while – being invited to offer our SERVICES to help companies get their character appeal up-to-date.

Pictoplasma Portrait Gallery

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THE
PICTOPLASMA
PORTRAIT
GALLERY

2014, Exhibition
On the occasion of Pictoplasma’s 10th anniversary, a vast group exhibition in an abandoned ware-house in the center of Berlin staged character portraits by the artists who, over the years, have shaped the festival most distinctively. The time-honoured genre of classical portraiture seemed an obvious choice to reflect back on character genealogies and to preserve their essence for the future.

Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the Pictoplasma Portrait Gallery examined the genealogical dimensions of figurative aesthetics in the postdigital age and presented paintings, busts, sculptures, animated video portraits by today’s most influential creators of character-driven visuals – also extending the list to accommodate the current obsession with self-portraits taken on a cellphone, gathered by Pictoplasma in an open call for #CharacterSelfies.

Character Arrival

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CHARACTER ARRIVAL
2013, INSTALLATION

In 2013 Pictoplasma was commissioned by MOTI (Museum of the Image) in Breda, The Netherlands, to come up with a visual answer to the Spaces Invades arcade game, of which they store the original code as part of their permanent collection. As part of their Hotel Moti exhibition, we came up with a reduced Split-Flap display version of the iconic franchise, allowing artwork from our archives to randomly replace the approaching space ships in an installation of dysfunctional communication and ever-changing character patterns.

The Space Invaders – in all their minimalist glory and retro nostalgia – have been born out of a technological limitation. Driven by the necessity to engage the player emotionally by anthropomorphizing a hand full of pixels, the 1978 arcade game created a timeless, iconic logotype and pioneered a true avalanche of reduced and abstract figurative design, which echoes throughout pop culture up to today.

Missing Link Solace

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THE MISSING LINK
SOLACE

2013, INSTALLATION

The Missing Link, originally created by Pictoplasma, symbolizes a generic character, that has lost contact and context. It was conceived in 2011 in reference to archetypical Yeti, Big Foot, Abominable Snowman and Chupacabra legends – some of the last mysterious entities without a clear depiction in our culture of visual overdose and instant google-search gratification.
Yet the cryptozoological mythology continues to reverberate in today’s pop-cultural circuits of communication as a placeholder for lost connections in the digital age, whether technological, social or cultural.
For the White Noise exhibition at La Casa Encendida, Madrid, the venue’s lofty roof terrace overlooking the city staged the return of the Missing Link, now offering itself as a perfectly empty, 5 meter tall character that has lost all context and purpose: An inflated mascot with nothing left to sell.
Silently reclaiming dignity and value for itself, it invites the viewer to find solace despite the growing white noise of images.

White Noise Serials

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¡WHITE NOISE SERIALS!
2013, INSTALLATION

TOO MANY MASCOTS, NOT ENOUGH CHARACTER?

Staring at us from billboards and food packaging, battling for our attention as corporate logos or trademark icons, spreading over websites or the screens of our mobile phones, mascots have become a constant cast of our visual culture.
They connect viewer and product on an emotional level and enable instantaneous identification of – or differentiation between – brands and ideas. But their significance can stretch far beyond their function in marketing of products.

Created as part of Pictoplasma’s White Noise exhibition at La Casa Encendida, Madrid, the “White Noise Serials” installation consists of an extensive shopping shelf display, bursting with an abundance of 300+ competing sympathy seekers on an avalanche of endless trifling product packages. The original White Noise product package, designed by Steve Rinzen and featuring the exhibition’s mascot by Rilla Alexander, served as a serial canvas to present over 300 characters by an avant-garde scene of international artists, designers and illustrators.

The Missing Link Installation

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THE MISSING LINK
EXPERIENCE

2011, INSTALLATION

Immerse yourself in character and enter the ‘Missing Link Experience’.

The Yeti, Big Foot, Sasquatch, Meh-teh, Yeren, Abominable Snowman – there are many names for this archetypal creature: neither human, nor animal, but bridging the divide. As a recurring motif in a steady flow of unverified news stories of sightings, the legend of a lonely, hunted species has become a global pop icon, without ever actually revealing itself. Meanwhile the Missing Link seems to have lost all biological connotations as the myth reverberates in endless circuits of communication and information.
The installation presents the crypto-zoological species as a tableau vivant, frozen in time as it performs a strange mystical rite of reunification with its conspecifics.

A surrounding 360 degree video + 6 channel audio loop loosely narrates the rise and fall of the creature, reaching from found footage of yeti sightings in international news to psychedelic landscapes depicting their ongoing struggle to re-unite as a functional tribe. The work is a collaboration between Pictoplasma and Berlin-based costume designers Werkstattkollektiv, performance artists and dancers Jared Gradinger & Friends, and Japanese artist and motion designer Motomichi Nakamura.

Post Digital Monsters

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POST DIGITAL MONSTERS
2011, EXHIBITION

In 2011 we were invited by prestigious La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris to curate a vast exhibition on the topic of contemporary character culture. “Post Digital Monster” presented a selection of international artists who have transformed their characters from digital to analogue, re-discovering such slow media as bronze, wool, clay, wood, rubber and different methods of drawing and painting. This ‘post-digital’ strategy can be seen as a quest for a state of permanence beyond the fleeting, flickering moment when the digital ‘monsters’ appear on our computer screens.

The approach also links figurative art to an ancient genealogy distinct from our all-surface digital culture: the ritualistic practices, mystic totems and animist masks that combine anthropomorphic principles with graphical abstraction.

“Post Digital Monster” featured original art-work and installations by Shoboshobo, FriendsWithYou, Ben & Julia, Jordan Metcalf, Steve Alexander, Joshua Ben Longo, Nick Sheehy, Motomichi Nakamura, Nina Braun, AJ Fosik, Overture, Sarah Illenberger, Raymond Lemstra, Roman Klonek, Allison Schulnik, Nick Cave, Megan Whitmarsh and many more

MORE ON POST-DIGITAL MONSTERS > HERE

The Missing Link Show

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THE MISSING LINK SHOW
2011, PRODUCTION

In 2011 Pictoplasma conceived “The Missing Link Show”, combining live music concerts, video projections and dance performances to create an over-the-top pop opera following the visual narration of an archetypical mysterious creature – The Missing Link. The Show lays out the myth of an unknown tribe of a lonely species in the wilderness, and tells the story of their happy existence, their rise and fall, their exile and re-unification. The creatures have been designed by Pictoplasma as clan of costumes in reference to the Yeti or Big Foot, Abominable Snowman and Chupacabra legends – some of the last mysterious entities without a clear depiction in our culture of visual overdose and instant google-search gratification. 

While the live music acts function on their own as a pop concert, the parallel visuals and performances add a narrative layer, following the story of the lonely species. The show plays out the fantasy of how these characters fell from their happy homogenous existence as a functional hippiesque tribe to turn into a hunted species of lonely, desperate creatures and outsiders, and culminates in an alternative synthesis of their return to fulfill an immersive ritual that involves us humans.
The show premiered 2011 on the revolving stage of the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin, featuring Maximilian Hecker and Dan Deacon, and was re-staged in an adapted version at la Gaîté Lyrique, Paris, in collaboration with Jason Forrest.

Fun House

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FUN HOUSE
2009, INSTALLATION

In the months and weeks prior to the exhibition “Prepare for Pictopia” (2009), a selected group of international artists were commissioned by Pictoplasma and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt to create new site-specific artwork. These works played on the main topics of the exhibition: the remix of a common visual vocabulary, the animistic physical presence of character design and the approach to interact with characters in ritualistic play. One of the most ambitious tasks was to transform the venue’s vast, empty lobby, so Pictoplasma invited Miami based artist duo FriendsWithYou to join in and create an unforgettable experience.

The areal with over 800 square meters was re-designed as a full-grown interactive installation referencing a suburban landscape, including private hide-aways, cheerful picket fences and FriendsWithYou’s legendary bouncing castle “Fun House”.

Not only was the installation the first to greet visitors of the exhibition, thus having to introduce and transport the exhibition’s core topics. Most importantly it had to be carefully conceived and produced in such a way to stand up to the enormous – and sometimes uncontrollable – willingness, of the more than 30.000 visitors to engage in wild, limitless and untamed play.

Bumper Cars

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BUMPER CARS
2009, INSTALLATION

As the central installation for the exhibition “Prepare for Pictopia” at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (2009), Pictoplasma produced a series of five unique, interactive bumper cars referencing iconic characters by international artists Motomichi Nakamura (US/JP), Boris Hoppek (DE), Nathan Jurevicius (AUS), Tado (UK) and Doma (ARG).

Every hour lights gradually faded as the sun set in the exhibition hall, while the central marked place arena came to life in an illuminated fire-work of sounds, lights and colours. The dodgems awoke and invited visitors to hop in the character cars for a truly psychedelic ritual. Accompanied by the special, 6 channel soundtrack composed by Künstler Treu, a synchronised light-show in blue, red and white revealed the previously hidden multilayered inhabitants of the graphical arena designed by Steve Alexander from the art-collective Rinzen.

The Bumper cars have since made a reappearance at the Internationaal Beeldfestival in Rotterdam, where visitors were able to literally bump away each others visual fatigue.

Prepare for Pictopia

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PREPARE FOR
PICTOPIA

2009, EXHIBITION

In 2009 the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin) invited Pictoplasma to curate the world’s first large-scale exhibition on contemporary character design and art. “Prepare for Pictopia” playfully explored the phenomenon and offered new and surprising insight into a growing scene of graphic designers and artists that work with a shared set of icons, opening up new contexts and correlations. The exhibition examined the contemporary vague of reduced figuration as a strategy for producing a vitalism outside established narratives. These so-called characters are reduced to the anthropomorphic function of eye contact which seems to look out from flat pictorial space at the viewer.
Besides a large number of site specific work created especially for the occasion by Akinori Oishi, Doma Collective, Doudouboy, Doma, Juan Pablo Cambariere, Rinzen, Borris Hoppek, Waynehorse, FriendsWithYou and Shoboshobo, the group show presented original artwork by: Mark Ryden, AJ Fosik, Ben Frost, Daniel & Geo Fuchs, Dylan Martorell, Edwina Ashton, Faiyaz Jafri, Fons Schiedon, Gary Baseman, Golan Levin, Hideaki Kawashima, Ian Stevenson, James Marshall, Jeremy Dower, Motomichi Nakamura, Nagi Noda, Olaf Breuning, Sam Gibbons, Tim Biskup and many more…

MORE ON PICTOPIA > HERE

Brilhante

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BRILHANTE
2009, INSTALLATION

French designer Florent Feys aka Doudouboy has worked extensively for the luxury industry – his luscious, oneiric and crystalline illustration style is the perfect match to brand high-class products such as haute couture or radiant perfumes.

In 2009, Pictoplasma commissioned Doudouboy to collaborate on a large-scale, walkable installation, playing on the topic of perfect and sterile consumer aesthetics incorporating minimal, yet engaging characters. The aim was to create a maximal notion of desire while keeping the viewer at unreachable distance. The installation “Brilhante” employs the optical illusion of an infinity room by arranging mirrors to seal and extend a closed space. This endless void is the perfect stage for an over-sized, gently revolving koala bear statue covered in exclusive fur.

A soundtrack sets an uncanny mood, as the visitor is tempted to touch, hug and cuddle the precious creature, only to see his own image endlessly reflected in the life-less eyes and infinite space of the installation.

Black Board NYC

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COLOR ME, BLACK BOARD
2008, SERVICES
We had the honor of collaborating with Montreal’s Sid Lee Collective to host the Opening Night for our very first Pictoplasma NYC Festival in 2008. Sid Lee’s headquarters have a long tradition of gathering creative talent and inviting them to customize the black boards spread throughout their office. Together we set up a huge black board landscape at the Red Bull Space in the centre of Manhattan, inviting the speakers of the conference and the attendees to give out a go…

Participating artists included FriendsWithYou, Fons Schiedon, Akinori Oishi, Motomichi Nakamura, David OReilly, Tokyoplastic, Aaron Stewart and Gangpol & Mit.

The Character Ride

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THE CHARACTER RIDE
2007, INSTALLATION

In cooperation with TodaysArt (2007), Den Haag, Pictoplasma produced a truly interactive installation of taming and repulsion by building on the concept of the mechanical bull. The Character Ride enables visitors to enter an intriguing world of a seemingly harmless archetypical being and witness the simplest of icons coming to life. A central character sculpture designed by Akinori Oishi (JP) smiles at you and turns around to follow your movements. Hop on and give it a ride! Powered by a monstrous machine, you will definitely fail to tame the beast.

So be aware: Cute can hurt…

After its premiere at TodaysArt, “The Character Ride” made a reappearance at the Pictoplasma Festival Berlin (2007), where Geisha-gone-singer Hanayo attempted the impossible: She agreed to perform her live-act while in full gallop.
Since then “The Character Ride” had the honour of shaking off “It-Girls” Julia Allison and Meghan Ashaat at the DLD Conference in the Haus der Kunst, Munich; nearly knocking out it’s own creator Akinori Oishi at the opening of “Prepare for Pictopia” in Berlin; as well as disgracing numerous courageous attendees of the Internationaal Beeldfestival, Rotterdam (2009) or the Fashion Net Night (2011) in Düsseldorf.

The Essence of Rabbit

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THE ESSENCE OF RABBIT
2006, INSTALLATION

There’s no such thing as too much bunnies! And just to prove it, in 2006 Pictoplasma intentionally asked internationally established and upcoming character designers, illustrators and artists around the globe to send in their versions of rabbits, bunnies, hares and everything in between.

The result is a full-scale bunny overdose, with far more than 1.500 individual rabbits from 500+ international contributers. By condensing the endless variations of the rabbit motif into one ultimate system – a perfect bunny mandala – the true nature of the beast emerges: the eternal essence of rabbit.
“The Bunny Mandala Shrine” was installed at the sous-station of Projet Diligence in Nice (France), during the onedotzero Festival in London (UK), at Bios Athens (Greece) and the South Eastern Centre for Contemporary Arts (SECCA) in North Carolina (USA).

PictoOrphanage

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PICTOORPHANAGE
2006, INSTALLATION

In a unique cooperation of the creative avantgarde from character and costume design, in 2006 Pictoplasma transformed the most captivating, screwball and outstanding characters of our time into fantastic costumes. Padded, hydraulic or helium-filled, the creatures have literally come to life at last. Based on the designs of illustrators from Buenos Aires, Miami, Barcelona, Toronto, Osaka or Paris, the new inhabitants of the virtual PictoOrphanage allowed real-life donors to sponsor them – and thereby enable the production and birth of corporeal characters from the realm of the digital image.

Dancers and performers under the direction of choreograph Jared Gradinger (Constanza Macras / Dorky Park, Berlin) explored these new life forms and their individual character. Freed from the binds of storytelling and advertising, the characters developed their individual will, which they have proudly demonstrated in countless guerrilla style interventions during their ongoing tour. Meanwhile, the orphans have made memorable appearances in all corners of the globe, from France, Germany, New York, The Netherlands, Sweden, all the way to China, turning the urban streets into a main stage for their adventures.

MORE ON THE PICTOORPHANAGE > HERE

Colour me!

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COLOUR ME!
2005, INSTALLATION

Pictoplasma’s “Colour Me!” makes an all-time dream come true: A selected group of approximately three international character designers and artists meet for the first time and create a unique colouring and activity room: while locked in the venue for several days, thousands of untouched black and white illustrations, scribbles and characters begin to cover a white room from floor to ceiling, wall to wall. Upon completion, visitors are invited to enter the space and lovingly colour in the characters in special Cyan, Magenta and Yellow pens, turning the space into an ever evolving colouring and activity room in true CMYK.

Starting in 2005, until today numerous walls of established project spaces, upcoming galleries and high-art museums from Europe to Asia have been covered with thousands of black outline illustrations, only to find themselves coloured in to the point of total occlusion by a huge stampede of happy visitors. Amongst others, “Colour Me!” has been set up in Düsseldorf, Halle, Hong Kong, New York and Peterborough. Participating artists include Jon Burgerman, Sune Ehlers, Boris Hoppek, Shoboshobo, Neasden Control Centre, Ian Stevenson and Dennis Tyfus.

Characters at War

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CHARACTERS AT WAR
2004, INSTALLATION

The installation “Characters at War” (2004) enables visitors to meet the elite of international character design literally eye-to-eye. From Super Mario to Emily the Strange: Hundreds of all time favourites and shiny newcomers from the flat-faced world of character design, comics, graffiti and merchandising are pushing through to the third dimension!

The loveliest, cutest, and strangest characters stand tall as life-size cardboard stand-up soldiers arranged in a gigantic battlefield installation. Behind the foot soldiers of this enormous anthropomorphic army are none other than the heroes of the international design scene.

Characters at War has toured excessively around the globe, and has been installed in the Zentralbüro, Berlin and the Forum-NRW, Düsseldorf (GER), at the Space4 Gallery in Peterborough (UK), at the Secca in Winston-Salem (USA) and the California State Univeristy Long Beach Art Museum in Los Angeles (USA).

Artists participating in the installation include Snowcat, Fawn Gehweiler, Buero Destruct, Furi Furi, Francois Chalet, ESM artificial, ACNE, James Marschall aka Dalek, Phunk Studio, ShagArt, Mari-chan, Unit9, Jim Avignon, Genevieve Gaukler, Boris Hoppek, FriendsWithYou, Tim Biskup, Flying Fortress, Doma Collective, Love Ablan, and many, many more…