Innovative and transformational art was the underlying theme of the 12th edition of the PULSE Maimi Beach Contemporary Art Fair, focussing on new and mid-career artists from all around the world. The transformational theme ran throughout the fair in a variety of ways from the 3D optical illusions which is characteristic of British artist Patrick Hughes to the “Transformational Makeover Salon” where Erica Prince invited visitors to undergo makeovers which were not about creating a stereotypical face of beauty, as in a beauty parlour, but about creating something or someone new for a short period, so that visitors could explore aspects of their hidden personalities.
Where does art stop and other creative activities art start? Today the boundaries are increasingly blurred. Arrival at Pulse was announced by Anne Spalter’s “Digital Marbles” where Miami’s architecture and landscape had been encapsulated into huge globes which incorporated an interface with which visitors could interact, while BOOMERANG and Loni Landon presented Sasha Okshetyn’s performance from her Beach Sessions and the Peter London Global Dance Company presented SOKAISO, capturing the vibrancy and colour of Caribbean and South African Carnivals. Ben Skinner used language as art – What did his “No Future Plans” mean? Did it mean that tomorrow night has to be kept a secret, something that no one must know about, or did it mean something else?
Within the Fair itself, the café had been transformed by Jason Hackenwerth’s ”Pupa” slowly rotating above the diners who perhaps didn’t realise that they were eating under a canopy which was intended to represent the transformation of humanity from fear, greed and lust to something higher, more beautiful and more long-term, and other bridge was been built from art into design in the furniture on show from kinder Modern, which, although it is an American company, has the simplicity of design that is associated with Scandinavia.
In the 21st century, technology continues transform art, examples being Canadian artist Thrush Holmes’ colourful work which is brought to life by incorporation of neon lights, Yorgo Alexopoulos’ mesmerising videos incorporated in his work and American artist Jim Campbell’s 300 LED lights waving across and changing colour in “Repixilated”, while Japanese artist Shinnosuke Yoshida blurs the bounday between computer mother boards and cities of the future.
There is a sinister edge in Xia Hang’s huge metallic insect which looked like a futuristic robotic soldier ready to wage war but, more romantically, Sierra Leone artist Patricia Piccinini created two lovers of the modern age in the form of motor scooters cuddling up to each other in a loving way.
And, finally, in amongst all the high-tech and futuristic art, one gallery stood out as linking back to the natural world – Galerie Frey from Austria with artists such as Alexander Steinwendetner, Johannes Domenig, Antonella Zazzera and Herbert Golster using copper wire, sailing canvas, wood bark, maple, beach and stone to transform natural materials into beautiful artworks.