Art: The outdoor art installations not to miss in 2018
September 8, 2018
The Constellation, by Ralph Helmick, Abu Dhabi, UAE
The Constellation is a monumental public artwork that forms the centrepiece of The Founder’s Memorial in Abu Dhabi, a permanent national tribute to the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Boston-based sculptor Ralph Helmick collaborated with Dpa Lighting to bring his celestial installation to life in the pavilion at the heart of the memorial.
Interdisciplinary Australian firm Eness has designed JEM, an interactive space of contemplation and calm. Placed at the heart of Flowstate, a recently revitalised creative space at Brisbane’s South Bank, the installation responds to user interaction. The 32 LED-lined arms utilise a 360-degree laser tracking system, replying to movement through pulsating, multi-coloured lighting phrases and rhythmic sounds. Plush crochet beds invite guests to relax awhile, to embed themselves within the dynamic experience and to gaze at the sky above. ‘JEM is here to unify people through a shared experience,’ states Eness. ‘We’re excited to see how people rest, dream and play in this rare space’.
Flowstate, The Arbour, Tribune Street, Brisbane, Australia; www.eness.com
The Manchester Lamps, by Acrylicize, Manchester, UK
A series of five sculptural lamps are shining a light on Manchester’s city centre. Designed by Seattle and London-based studio Acrylicize and commissioned by Property Alliance Group, the larger than life creations echo various eras of innovation in design and beyond, each with a distinctive style, from art nouveau, to art deco, midcentury, Victorian and contemporary. Paying homage to the Sir Robert Peel quote, ‘What Manchester does today, the rest of the world does tomorrow’, these public sculptures honour Manchester’s industrial past while ‘optimistically looking towards the future’, explains the studio. The 1903 art nouveau Tiffany lamp (pictured right) nods to the city’s history of education, including the Chetham Library, which houses the UK’s oldest free public reference library. The sculpture’s canopy is adorned with open books alongside classical pen nibs and square academic caps.
Where the Lights in My Heart Go, byYayoi Kusama, Boston, US
One of Yayoi Kusama’s cosmic Infinity Mirror Rooms is being shown in the Boston area for the first time. Installed outdoors at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Where the Lights in My Heart Go (2016) is a ten-by-ten-foot polished stainless steel chamber with a mirrored interior; perforations in the walls and ceiling allow natural light to penetrate the darkened room, creating a celestial experience when visitors step inside. Kusama calls the work a ‘subtle planetarium’, an intimate and enclosed space that also gives the illusion of a continuously expanding universe. Pictured, Where the Lights in My Heart Go, 2016, by Yayoi Kusama, mirror polished stainless steel with glass mirror.
Where the Lights in My Heart Go is on view 5 July – 28 October; deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, 51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln, MA 01773, US; www.decordova.org
Sculpture In the City, London, UK
London’s Square Mile has been transformed into an outdoor sculpture park for the City of London’s annual public art programme. Now in its eighth year, Sculpture in The City sees works from internationally renowned artists – Sarah Lucas, Tracey Emin, Sean Scullly among them – crop up near the English capital’s architectural landmarks, such as the Gherkin and The Leadenhall Building. Pictured,The Adventurer, 2014, by Gabriel Lester, metal, wood, fluorescent light, billboard.
Sculpture In The City runs until May 2019 in London’s Square Mile
Wind Sculpture (SG) I , by Yinka Shonibare, New York, US
Yinka Shonibare is having a moment in the US. The British-Nigerian artist recently installed one of his signature batik-inspired Wind Sculptures at The National Museum of African American Art in Washington DC. Now, Shonibare has unveiled his first public art commission in New York – at Central Park no less. Presented by nonprofit organisation Public Art Fund, the 23ft tall fibreglass sculpture is the first in a new generation of Wind Sculptures, taking on a deeper, and more dynamically twisting form than previous iterations – the 55-year-old has described it as an attempt to ‘playfully sculpt the impossible’. Visitors will find it difficult to miss this billowing hand-painted sculpture, which uses a palette of turquoise, red, and orange – colours that recall Shonibare’s childhood on the beaches of Lagos. Shonibare has called the Dutch wax batik print that inspires his work the ‘perfect metaphor for multilayered identities’. Ultimately, isn’t that what New York is all about?
Wind Sculpture (SG) I is on view until 14 October; Doris C Freedman Plaza, access via southeast entrance, Central Park, New York, US
‘Smog Free Tower’, by Studio Roosegaarde, Kraków, Poland
Design Awards 2018 judge Daan Roosegaarde believes that design should genuinely improve quality of life. Now, Studio Roosegaarde has garnered international acclaim with itsSmog Free Tower, a 7m tall air cleanser that purifies 30,000 m3 of air per hour, on as much energy as a water boiler. The tower is currently occupying Park Jordana in Kraków, Poland, promoting an optimistic vision of a cleaner future.
Park Jordana, Aleja 3 Maja 11, 30-062 Kraków, Poland
Ice Breakers, Toronto, Canada
Downtown Toronto has received a fresh wave of public installations this winter. Spread across the city’s waterfront, winning submissions of theIce Breakers design competition come from Canadian, Chinese and Portuguese studios, designed under the theme of constellations. Winning designs include Winter FanFare(pictured) by Thena Tak from Vancouver, as well as Root Cabin by Winnipeg’s Liz Wreford and Peter Samson of Public City Architecture.
Another winning submission Through the Eyes of the Bear (pictured), by Tanya Goertzen of Calgary-based People Places, is constructed from completely renewable, recyclable and compostable materials. The buried bear invites user interaction, asking onlookers to consider their own relationship with nature by literally looking ‘through the bear’s eyes’. Goertzen looked to the Ursa Major constellation for inspiration, which is widely known as the ‘Great Bear’. Waterfront BIA’s Executive Director Carol Jolly sees the new installations as having ‘really brought a community together’ during the colder months, and are reason enough to head water-side this winter.
HTO Park West, 375 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5V 1A2, Canada
Relatum – Stage, by Lee Ufan, London UK
London’s art-filled Kensington Gardens has gained a new public sculpture outside Serpentine Galleries. Following in the footprints of works by Michael Craig-Martin, Alex Katz, and Anish Kapoor, Lee Ufan’s Relatum – Stage continues the South Korean artist’s renowned ‘Relatum’ series, ongoing in global public spaces since the 1960s. Comprising two, angled, mirrored-steel sheets and two different-sized stones, this new work aims to merge the natural and industrial in a poetic installation that reflects the peace of the Park – a haven in its city centre spot.
Jacob’s Ladder, by Gerry Judah, Makarau, New Zealand
Gibbs Farm – a 1000-acre open-air sculpture park in Kaipara Harbour, near Auckland – features over 30 monumental sculptures from a roll-call of top international contemporary artists including Richard Serra, Anish Kapoor and Andy Goldsworthy. All works are commissioned by Alan Gibbs, a New Zealand businessman, entrepreneur and art collector who has been assembling the Gibbs Farm collection for 26 years. Now, British artist Gerry Judah has joined the cast, with Jacob’s Ladder – a sweeping, 110ft tall sculpture made out of square-sectioned steel tube.