By Bill Parry
The landscape at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City will change dramatically in several weeks with the May 17 debut of several site-specific works. Perhaps the most dramatic will be the latest public artwork of Heide Fasnacht, titled “Suspect Terrain.”
The artist details the creation and aftermath of a 30-foot sinkhole, created with plywood, surrounded by cracked earth with a small house in the middle. The piece was inspired by media coverage of actual sinkholes in China and Guatemala.
Visitors will be able to look into the depths of the pit while actually standing at ground level. The house lies half submerged in a pool of illusionistic water, an allegory that explores the park’s unique history as an illegal dump site and landfill.
By sculpturally depicting these devastating geological occurrences, Fasnacht turns the relationship between event and documentation into a personal and precarious action.
“I take the collapse as a plan to reconstruct in however fractured a fashion,” Fasnacht said. “These become objects of reflection on the instability we now all live with, on the flux of life, and the ability to create nonetheless.”
“Two Trees in Balance” is Gabriela Albergaria’s work involving nature. Through drawing, photography and sculpture the artist seeks to examine and deconstruct the cultural and social beliefs surrounding images of the natural.
The artist uses salvaged tree branches and stumps to fashion two trees suspended from a steel cable on opposite sides on a 10-foot concrete wall. Albergaria manipulates preconceived expectations of what the natural world should look like.
The two works will open alongside Agnes Denes’s “The Living Pyramid.” An earthwork that spans 40-feet at its four-sided base and rising 35-feet high, it was created from several tons of soil and planted grasses. It is the artist’s first public artwork in New York City in three decades since her iconic urban intervention, “Wheatfield – A Confrontation in 1982.”
For nearly five decades, Denes has used the pyramid both structurally and conceptually to examine environmental priorities and social hierarchies.
“Some pyramids float in apparent weightlessness, while others are made of the weight of conscience,” Denes said. “What they all convey is the human drama, our hopes and dreams against great odds. They represent the paradoxes of existence and like grand mandalas, define our destiny.”
The public opening at Socrates Sculpture Park is May 17 from 3-6 p.m. coinciding with New York’s Frieze Art Fair. The park is free and open to the public 365 days a year from 10 a.m. to sunset at the intersection of Broadway and Vernon Boulevard.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr