Madison Square Park debuts its largest sculpture installation yet

Fata Morgana began construction in March and will be completed in May. (Pictured) The canopy installation as seen this week (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Fata Morgana began construction in March and will be completed in May. (Pictured) The canopy installation as seen this week (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Mad. Sq. Art will debut a new installation in Madison Square Park officially opening in June that is planned to remain in the park throughout the rest of the year.

Fata Morgana, by New York-based artist Teresita Fernández, will be the largest outdoor sculpture from the Madison Square Park Conservancy and will consist of 500 feet of mirror-polished discs that create canopies over the pathways along the central lawn. The exhibit will run through January 10, 2016, which Mad. Sq. Art curator Brooke Rapaport said is to allow park visitors to interact with the piece throughout all four seasons.

“The idea is that it will change and transform visually so it’s always a different experience,” she said.

The project has been partially installed with some sections currently open, but the entire installation is expected to be finished by the end of May. The opening reception is planned for June 1.

The metal sculptures will hover over the walkways and are perforated with intricate patterns that resemble foliage and will create a glowing, flickering affect as the sunlight filters through the canopy. The Conservancy said that the installation is the first project from Mad. Sq. Art to fully make use of the upper register of a visitor’s space.

The piece is named for a horizontal mirage that forms across the horizon line, known as Fata Morgana. Fernández’s project alludes to the phenomenon and adds a glittering element to the park that visitors can interact with.

“When people come to the park and see the completed work, I think they’ll be mesmerized and inspired,” Rapaport said. “It’s really about the ambulatory viewer and having this experience while they’re walking through the canopies.”

Park goers walk under the sculpture canopies.

Park goers walk under the sculpture canopies.

Rapaport said that they have been working with Fernández for several years on a project for the park, and plans for the installation have solidified over the last two years. The project consists of six steel structures to support the canopies, the installation for which began in March. The second phase of installation involves securing the discs and the last to be put in will be on the west side of the lawn.

Fernández is most well known for her public sculptures and unconventional use of materials, and she said that this installation was designed for and inspired by Madison Square Park.

“My concept was to invert the traditional notion of outdoor sculpture by addressing all of the active walkways of the park rather than setting down a sculptural element in the park’s center,” she said. “By hovering over the park in a horizontal band, Fata Morgana becomes a ghost-like, sculptural, luminous mirage that both distorts the landscape and radiates golden light.”

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