Raw + Material = Art: Upcycling, Recycling and Rethinking

Raw + Material = Art: Found, Scavenged and Upcycled is a great read for anyone who is a fan of bold and innovative artwork.

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It’s amazing how simple materials can be utterly transformed by an inspired artist. Raw + Material = Art: Found, Scavenged and Upcycled is the latest book from Tristan Manco and I think it’s one of the most engaging collections of art and artists that I’ve seen for quite some time. I hope I get to see some the work included in the book for real one day.

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Several books have already covered this subject matter and so some of the works are familiar, but nonetheless the sheer virtuosity of works such as Mia Pearlman’s gigantic cut-paper installations and the exquisitely-executed small works that Yuken Teruya makes from discarded toilet rolls and found paper-bags (McDonalds, Burger King), reinforce the validity of the continued interest in transformations of the ‘found object’. The excesses and horrors of the First World War affected Duchamp and the Dadaists, and now it seems rampant consumer culture and other social ills are prompting artists to shift ground in many fascinating directions.

Discarded materials given new life include: skateboards, doors, dust, road kill, old timber and photographs. A stand-out for me are the sculptural installations of Sao Paulo-based painter and sculptor Henrique Oliveira, who usescheap laminated pinewood left over from building sites.

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Another criteria for Manco is the use of traditional craft techniques as in the lovely organic woven and braided works of Maria Nepomuceno or folk traditions such as can be found with Peruvian art collective Fumakaka. Rosemarie Fiore has invented her own, very unique drawing processes using fireworks and old fairground rides and the results are beautifully different to what you might imagine.

Another collective from Spain, Luzinterruptus, focuses on reclaiming abandoned urban spaces, which can range from a purely aesthetic intervention to warm celebrations of community.

There’s lots like in this book!


Margaret Snowdon is the Art & Design Buyer at Readings Carlton.

Raw + Material = Art: Found, Scavenged and Upcycled

Raw + Material = Art: Found, Scavenged and Upcycled

Tristan Manco

$49.95Buy now