Sculptures for ODYSSEY project, Belfast, 1999
EARTH – 16.0/16.0/4.0 m. – bronze, concrete and lighting effects
FIRE – 10.0/8.0/5.0 m. – bronze, aluminium, stainless steel, coloured glass, computer and lighting effects
WATER – 16.0/12.0/6.0 m. – aluminium, stainless steel, coloured glass, lighting effects
AIR – 6.0/6.0/6.0 m. – aluminium, stainless steel, coloured glass, sound, lighting and computer effects
This project represents a set of four sculptures, united by the same underlying idea, with a deep philosophical and visual meaning. It is based on several basic principles as follows:
· A set of four cubes, appearing progressively above the surface of the earth, form the basis of the four sculptures and impart the idea of the DAWNING OF A NEW CENTURY and PROGRESS/DEVELOPMENT.
· Technologically, the sculptures will be constructed and made of the same materials (only two new materials will be used), the same technologies
· and the same constructors will be used like in the building, thereby achieving maximum harmony with the architecture at a minimum of expenses.
· The layers of different materials used in each sculpture, reminiscent of geological strata, are consistent with the order of discovery of these materials: bronze, glass, stainless steel and aluminium. This gives an idea of the development of science/technologies during the centuries.
· The idea of dynamics is also shown in evolution. From the static EARTH, through the dynamic, as yet only projections of FIRE and the growing dynamics of spurting and running WATER, to the culmination in the movement and sound of AIR.
This is the eternal interaction and opposition of the natural elements in the Universe: EARTH – solid matter, FIRE – the element of creation and passion. WATER – life energy and love blended in one, and AIR – spiritual energy, the muses and the arts. Each of them is unique and perfect in nature. They are extremely powerful in their mysteriousness and at the same time incredibly magnetic. This is why man has always worshipped them and raised them into a cult. Their absolute greatness is reflected in the concise geometry and exquisiteness of the different materials – bronze, glass, aluminium and stainless steel. The use of transparent and reflecting materials makes the sculptures appear lighter and enables the environment to be included in the form of reflections, inscribing them even more aptly into the concrete context. The different light and sound effects complement the association with the natural elements. Every sculpture is inextricably linked with the others. They represent a process of penetration of the basis to elevation in space, dissolving in it through sound and movement. The cube, as the basic form distinguishing the four sculptures in different ways, is the most stable figure which, placed on one of its points, creates a sense of dramat and dynamics. In the first sculpture the cube is barely visible, in the second it is half above ground, in the third a SMALL part rests on the basis, and in the last the cube is floating in space.
This evolution from the horizontal to the vertical conforms to the notion of a visual gradation of the elements.
The first sculpture, symbolizing EARTH, depicts the dramatic interaction between the heavy mass of the cracking crust of the earth and the beginnings of life in it. It is the clash between the old and the new, between static material structures and the incredible energy of nascence. This sculpture is made of bronze and its upper part of natural verdure, trimmed to the size of the cube. The contrast between the cracking ground and the emerging body crowned by living greenness enhances the emotional impact and brings the stern geometry to life. Piercing the crust of the earth, the sculpture is shooting up to the sun like a germ, symbolizing the dawning of the New Century. Specially installed projectors will produce additional light effects in the evening and at night.
The second sculpture is made of stainless steel, glass, aluminum and bronze. The dynamics of the work are conveyed by means of light effects which complement the size and composition of the sculpture. The computer projected visualization on the basis, the reflections on the red glass from the in-built projectors which also cut through the traced upper part, show several aspects of the blazing element – the fire in the bowels of the earth, the emotional aspect of our civilization and the hidden intensity of the new century. The fire is ablaze to the full, throwing red sparks in a wide circle. The illusion of fire erupting from below the earth, just as passion explodes from the depth of the human soul, canbe compared to the opposition between the divine spheres of the Spirit and the scale of Hell.
The third sculpture is made of stainless steel, glass and aluminum. It is situated in a water basin where the dynamics grow before culminating in the last sculpture – AIR – although it remains static as a whole. It includes four variations of dynamic water:
· moving water surface – basin
· jets of water hitting the base of the sculpture, creating the illusion that they are holding the sculpture in the air
· masses of water flowing down inside the middle glass part
· rippling streams washing the uppermost part.
The inside and outside colour projectors will additionally enhance the effect of the running water, emphasizing its beauty, exquisiteness and vital energy. The feeling of defeated gravity, an association called forth by the fountain which holdsthe cube, is identical with the sensation of weightlessness in water. The slight vibration of the sculpture, bathed in water inside and outside, is enhanced by the strong presence of glass.
The fourth and last sculpture marks the culmination in the evolution of dynamics as the unifying idea. Whilst the whole work revolves around its axis, the three differently tuned eolian harps move simultaneously, thereby, besides the visual effect, placing the pipes at different angles to the wind, which in turn leads to wide-ranging sound effects, aimed at creating a calm and varied sound background. The six metres height enables the sculpture to also be seen from the other bank of the river Lagan and the Abercorn basin. The changing inside and outside projectors will create additional light effects, making the sculpture appear even more ethereal and dynamic. The cube is raised above the surface, making for an almost unreal impact, just as the air itself. In the daytime, the glass surfaces will reflect the sky and optically this huge body will melt with the surrounding environment.