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Dedicated to housing an extensive amalgamation of multi-media contemporary artwork, Carriageworks in Sydney takes its place at the forefront of innovative artistry. Now, it premieres two massive installations in Australia by two of the most renowned figures nowadays: Japanese electronic artist and composer Ryoji Ikeda and French conceptual artist Daniel Buren. Until July 29 and August 12 respectively, discover the pieces Micro/Macro and Like Child’s Play and get ready to challenge your perception of size.

When we were children, we towered over our toys, making them subject to our every whim. In Like Child’s Play, however, Daniel Buren flips the tables. Inspired by wooden block toys, Buren has built a hundred large-scale blocks, arches, triangle, and pediments that now tower over us; instead of looking down upon these toys as we once did, we are forced to look up and recognize the symbolic power they now hold.

The work’s arrangement creates sight lines in the sky, with everything aligning perfectly for the viewer. The audience can navigate through Buren’s artwork, admiring the spacial significance of the objects. Buren also explores the relationship between colors, dividing the exhibition into vibrant colors and a minimalist black-and-white aesthetic. He says, “For me, colour is pure thought, and therefore completely inexpressible, every bit as abstract as a mathematical formula or a philosophical concept.” His colours are playful, extensive, and childish in the most positive sense of the word.

Ryoji Ikeda takes this theory one step further by utilizing a multi-media platform that includes an original electronic composition. He says, “My work is created by reducing sound, light and the world into sine waves, pixels and data so that the world can be viewed once more at a different resolution.” Micro/Macro is comprised of two monumental pieces: one reaches a height of ten meters while the other is one hundred seventy three meters squared.

Unsurprisingly, Ikeda’s works dwarf the audience — but this is precisely his intention. Inspired by his residency at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, Micro/Macro follows the theory of the Planck Scale, which measures the smallest particles in the universe: atoms. It’s difficult — and a little bit trippy — to imagine that the world consists only of different combinations of atoms, but Ikeda forces the audience to consider their small role in the ever-expanding universe.

One thing is certain: we are minuscule compared to the vastness of the universe that controls us. For some, this may be troubling; how can we invoke change if we are indeed so small, if we are nothing more than a series of atoms? Yet Buren and Ikeda don’t aim to reduce us to insignificant figures, they merely ask us to consider our constantly expanding surroundings, to look at our relationship to the space in which we reside.
Micro/Macro by Ryoji Ikeda will be on view from July 5 to 29, and Like Child’s Play by Daniel Buren will be on view from July 7 to August 12 at Carriageworks, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh NSW 2015, Sydney.

Mary Chamberlain Harlan

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