The idea that a place where palm trees, desert, dates, and silent heat takes up the most space can turn into a riviera of sights and sounds for a few weeks a year sounds like a mirage… or Coachella. The music festival which was in full swing this year seemed to attract more and more attendees. This type of exposure to the music coincides with an art programming that has really brought into focus massively scaled works that capture the festival goers with the same vigor as songs of Black Pink or Bad Bunny. Acting as key meeting places as well as the ultimate point of selfies, perhaps these dimensional grand structures serve to not only entice but build the community of party kids and music heads. A point which shatters the notion of classism and allows the individual to take up and share up space.
For The Messengers by Kumkum Fernando the figures of three prolific robots come to mind, in actuality these figures represent a sense of idolism and the colorful cultures of southeast Asia which the artist came from. Born in Sri Lanka and based in Vietnam the 65 – 85 ft tall figures reference the art and celebration of colors which have been seen in Tibetan and Hindu temples. Fernando speaks on his project saying “There’s really no reason why it’s in three but it’s based around three things that are important to me. My work is based around some experiences I’ve had. Around a person I am close to or story I had. I always create keeping those things in mind. I also ask how long it took to build out such a massive structure. I’ve been working on it since July designing and working with the art team here. The outer layer is wood and inside is a steel structure that holds it together. People referred to them as robots, because of the geometric shape but it’s not really a robot it’s more of an idol. My art heavily references South and Southeast Asian colors temples… I used a lot from temples, Hindu Temples. For me to bring that to Coachella already meant a lot and that they represent that side of the world was a big deal. Then it being this monumental size made it seem like when you’re there feels like you are surrounded by these beings.
A strong bond and conversation could be seen in the sculptures of Eden by Maggie West as well as the Molecular Cloud by Vincent Leroy. For the LA based mixed media artist, West reproduced her photo floral images in warm tones and cool tones placed upon 20 large scale steel structures. The dimensions came in shades and shadows of the initial photo work. This work offered a choose your own adventure experience for the viewer and an ultimate photo point whether it were to fit with a wardrobe of blue or pink looks. Vantage point was also a playful point of Paris based Leroy, whose Molecular Cloud presented perfect structures of glossy metallic magenta surfaces. Reflective and on the move, the perception and placement of the viewer offers an infinite option to engage with the surrounding as the piece played with negative spaces and the overall consuming nature of the movement.
For LA based artist and architect Güvenç Özel the all-encompassing Holoflux plays with structure, form and digital worldly. At 60 ft tall depending on the time of day the viewer gets to enjoy a show of lights, projection, graphics along with a trippy changing color scheme, which is informed by the surroundings. Most fascinating is the real time video stream which was like an entry into the void at nighttime. When asked about the construction he explained, “There are four polls and cameras on top of the projection. The cameras create a 360 view of the festival and that gets mapped onto the surface too and then the visuals and reflections in the projections are processed from, the installation and set up started on Monday so it took 4-5 days.” A favorite question was to see these artist’s parallels to their musicians of choice, what kind of music and musician are you inspired by that lead you into this project? Özel said, “I listen to a lot of indie electronica. I think that is the most interesting music of our time. When asked about which musician best personified this work, he mentions Björk. I love her work I’ve been listening to her since middle school. She’s been a huge, artistic inspiration to me so it’s really lovely to be able to do this when she’s actually performing here. I like that some of the bands that when I was younger used to dance to are performing. Underworld and Chemical Brothers”
A round up of art at Coachella could never be complete without a mention of the now iconic and classic Spectra by NEWSUBSTANCE, which offers guest a chance to ascend to the heights 7 stories in a rainbow gradient floor to ceiling window display.