Panorama is an open-air exhibition that takes inspiration from the High Line as an urban park cutting straight through the city, creating new vistas and vantage points onto the surrounding natural and man-made landscapes. The High Line is the ideal stage for this series of sculptures and installations, all of which explore the act of seeing and understanding the spectacle of nature. The exhibition challenges historical notions of the sublime, quasi-religious experiences of “untouched” nature, and the debate on the manicured versus the ostensibly natural garden, opening up the possibility for experiencing nature in its necessarily human-impacted state.
Panorama will feature eleven international artists:
Mariana Castillo Deball (b. 1975, Mexico) examines how objects’ cultural and functional significance changes over time. For Panorama, the artist presents three stacked ceramic columns. The works grew out of a dialogue with Atzompa potters in Oaxaca, Mexico about their archaeological heritage and how it is expressed, contaminated, or dissolved in the present. Each column tells a story inspired by fictional tales composed around everyday objects and archaeological artifacts.
Olafur Eliasson (b. 1967, Denmark) is known for his environmental installations, including the giant LED sun he created for Tate Modern in London and a series of four waterfalls in New York’s East River. High Line Art presents the North American debut of Eliasson’s The collectivity project, a large installation of two tons of white LEGO bricks that features an imaginary cityscape conceived and designed by the public. All visitors to the High Line are welcomed to play with the installation, building and rebuilding the structures over time. As the inevitable entropy of the piece begins to soften the hard edges of the designed structures, and mounds of loose pieces gather in the corners between buildings, a beautiful collective creation takes form. * The collectivity project will be on view from May 29 to October 12, 2015, click here to learn more.
Elmgreen & Dragset (Michael Elmgreen, b. 1961, Denmark, and Ingar Dragset, b. 1969, Norway), a collaborative duo known for their site-specific installations, introduce a new sculpture at 10th Avenue Square, a site on the High Line that offers a secret view of the Statue of Liberty. Often overlooked in lieu of the other arresting urban vistas found in the park, this southerly-facing spot houses an oversized nonfunctional bronze telescope, a sculpture that simultaneously brings attention to and makes the viewing of Lady Liberty impossible.
Ryan Gander (b. 1976, United Kingdom) presents a marble fountain, fabricated in the visage of his wife playfully spitting water. The sculpture plays with the tradition of fountains in classical gardens, where mythological divinities, imaginary animals, and other strange creatures are turned into whimsical springs. Gander extends this practice by inserting a traditional figure into a contemporary garden, and inviting adventurous visitors to drink from her mouth. Gander will also exhibits two additional works: a bronze cast of his wallet and phone, which will sit on a bench as though they were abandoned by the artist; and a sound piece, which will consist of a live feed from his home garden in Suffolk, England.
Kris Martin (b. 1972, Belgium) presents Altar, a steel replica of the Van Eyck brothers’ famous Ghent Altarpiece, Adoration of the Mystic Lamb (1432), which frames the vistas surrounding the High Line. The sculpture consists only of the frames of the altarpiece, thus replacing the work’s depictions of religious figures and allegories with a direct experience of the natural world, opening up a contemplative view on the nearby cityscape.
Damián Ortega (b. 1967, Mexico) is best known for his dissections of common objects – for example, a vintage Volkswagen Beetle – whose elements he subsequently hangs in suspended deconstruction. For the High Line, Ortega continues a recent series of sculptures in the shape of graffiti tags that are modeled on found tags and fabricated in rebar. Installed on the railings of the park, Ortega’s flowing rebar script frames different views of the streets and buildings, superimposing handmade writings onto the landscape.
Gabriel Sierra (b. 1975, Colombia) is an artist who challenges the supposed givens of design and architecture through interventions and the conception of arbitrary, bespoke measuring tools. For the High Line, Sierra creates a series of custom measuring tools installed next to High Line plants intended for tracking the growth of trees, bushes, and shrubs in the park.
Katrín Sigurðardóttir (b. 1967, Iceland) builds model landscapes that surprise viewers with miniature, reversed, and hidden topographies. For the High Line, Sigurðardóttir installs an inverted model of a glacial island under the structure of the High Line at Gansevoort Street. An uninhabited volcanic isle isolated in the ocean between South America, Africa, and Antarctica, Bouvet Island evokes the landscape of Sigurðardóttir’s native Iceland. The sculpture hangs inverted from the bottom of the steel structure of the High Line and is visible while walking up the stairs to access the park.
Creating models ranging from painstakingly accurate marble island cities to overgrown painted palm trees, artist Yutaka Sone (b. 1965, Japan) explores a vast array of media, including sculpture, painting, drawings, photography, video, and performance. For Panorama, Sone exhibits Little Manhattan, an almost nine-foot-long marble sculpture of the island of Manhattan. A fantastic feat of meticulous carving, the sculpture includes every bridge, pier, and building found in Manhattan at the time of the sculpture’s making.
Kaari Upson (b. 1972, United States) uses silicone, resin, pigment, and charcoal to create marred sculptures of household furniture, such as mattresses, stuffed chairs, and couches. Her sculptures are often based on fantasies and memories of people she has observed from a distance, but never met. For Panorama, Upson will create an abstract landscape made with aluminum-casted Pepsi cans.
Andro Wekua (b. 1977, Georgia) constructs scale models of buildings from his childhood hometown of Tbilisi out of plaster, wood, steel, and paint – all entirely from memory. For Panorama, Wekua presents a sculpture of a six-foot-high window he remembers from his childhood bedroom. In the context of Panorama, Wekua’s work raises the question of the psychological dimension of landscape, and its imaginative and emotional power, especially in evocation of the memory of home.
Photos by Steven Severinghaus.