PHYLLIS ODESSEY

trying to see the shape of what you don’t know

Fata Morgana, Teresita Fernandez, June 1, 2015 – January 10, 2016

“How do you begin a work of public art?” Mark Robbins, President of the American Academy in Rome.  “I ask myself where I am… historically, culturally.  I walk around – what’s above me.  Madison Square Park and the Flat Iron are about a history of looking up.  The Flat Iron building was the tallest building in New York until 1905. ” Teresita Fernandez.

Mark Robbins had a “conversazioni with Teresita Fernandez last night at the American Academy in Rome prize winners ceremony held at the Morgan Library in New York.  Fernandez talked about how to make a monumental sculpture appear and disappear.  Using a gold reflective surface was very deliberate – harking back to the use gold to represent the heavens/the cosmos in art history as well as its architectural uses at the turn of the 20th century.
This public artwork is a kind of portrait of your daily commute.  “The work depends on the presence of the viewer. It is the intersection of people moving through the work and people becoming part of the work.”
“I looked at the park and the walkways as an extension of the arteries of the city.  The artwork prompts people to engage by experiencing the work.  Some people thought it was disruptive, provocative… that was my intention.”

“Fata Morgana is a piece that I hope shatters the landscape, shimmers, fools your perceptions, it’s the idea of being looked at and of looking.  You never going to make something as interesting as a sunset.” Fernandez

In nature, Fata Morgana is a horizontal mirage that forms across the horizon line.  This site specific installation was a kind of camouflage. Installed for eight months in Madison Square Park; it remains one of my favorite pieces of public art., For a brief time,  I saw thepark and its surroundings in a different way

If you want to see more of Fernandez’s work (in a gallery setting) visit  Lehmann Maupin  to see Fire (America) from March 17-May 20.

 

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