French photographer JR began his career as a graffiti artist, and has since garnered international recognition for his large-scale installations of people integrated into their public environments. He often depicts his photographed subjects engaged with architecture to bring awareness to political, social and cultural issues that directly impact the selected region. For the Armory Show’s “Focus” section, JR, in partnership with Jeffrey Deitch and Artsy, created So Close, a large-scale photo installation that manipulated archival photos of Ellis Island immigrants to showcase images of refugees from the Syrian Zaatari camp.
South African artist Mary Silbande lives and works in Johannesburg. Through her photography and sculptural works, Silbande critiques the stereotypical depictions of black women in South Africa. In her Armory Show installation titled Cry Havoc, Silbande narrates her family’s history of being forced into domestic work by the Apartheid State. Her grandmother is represented in blue as the oppressed worker, and the authority figure is in purple, referencing the 1989 Purple Raid Protests.
Pieter Vermeersch was born in 1973 in Kortrijk, Belgium, and currently lives and works in Brussels. Time, space and color are three elements central to his site-specific installations, which create a meditative and ephemeral space through large-scale color gradations and fade-outs. In his Armory Show exhibition, contrasting hues are juxtaposed with small, geometric marble pieces to create a contrast between the light of his chromatic paintings and the solid stones.
Hong Kong-born, London-based artist Gabriele Beveridge received a BFA in Photography from Falmouth College of Art, and holds an MFA in Fine Art Media from the Slade School of Fine Art in London. Exhibiting in the art fair’s “Focus” section, Beveridge utilizes found objects and images, embellishing the old with newly-fabricated hand-blown glass and metal parts representing the body. The artist creates multi-dimensional assemblages that explore representations of beauty.
Angel Vergara was born in 1958 in Mieres, Spain, and lives and works in Brussels. The multidisciplinary artist works in video, drawing, painting, installation and performance art. His most recent series challenges the limitations of an image through video works that combine painting, photography, and moving images.
Ken and Julia Yonetani’s visually and conceptually powerful works comment on people and their environments, bringing awareness to contemporary environmental issues by engaging their audience in a meaningful dialogue. The duo’s installation titled Crystal Palace (2013), was created in response to the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan. The 31 chandelier pieces in the installation are refitted with UV bulbs of neon green, representing the 31 nuclear nations of the world in varying dimensions that correspond to the number of operating nuclear plants in that nation.
Ken and Julia Yonetani’s The Last Supper is made of salt from Australia’s Murray River, symbolizing both earthly toxicity and the feast before the afterlife. The artist duo worked in collaboration with the scientists at Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre, and studied their concerns about increasing levels of salinity in Australia. Five hundred and fifty tons of salt were utilized to create this installation.
German-born artist Andreas Schmitten is known for implementing staging strategies that captivate his audience. Many of his large sculptures are encased in glass to create a barrier between the object and the viewer. Schmitten’s visual language is both abstract and geometric, utilizing a palette devoid of emotion that evokes utility, function, and distance.