By Maria Rocha-Buschel
The Madison Square Park Conservancy debuted the newest installation earlier this month, featuring a light project from artist Erwin Redl. The conservancy commissioned Redl to create “Whiteout,” which is displayed on the park’s central lawn and is a large-scale kinetic light sculpture made of white spheres suspended from a grid with steel poles and cabling. The orbs, hanging about a foot from the ground, sway in the wind and the LEDs are animated in large-scale patterns.
Redl is known for creating other large-scale light projects on the facades of buildings and he was first inspired by yarn drawings from minimalist conceptual artist Fred Sandback in 1997.
Redl said that he was fascinated by the option to have such a large installation in the park that is also within an urban environment.
“The physicality of the swaying orbs in conjunction with the abstract animations of their embedded white lights allows the public to explore a new, hybrid reality in this urban setting,” he said.
Madison Square Park Conservancy executive director Keats Meyer said that the installation is especially enjoyable during the dark winter months because it can show how light impacts space.
“Park goers will be able to view the industrial elegance of Whiteout from our pathways as they traverse the site,” she said. “Redl’s project, based on how light can impact a space, will be a beauteous interpretation of the Oval Lawn during the shortest days of the calendar year.”
Art consultancy firm UAP worked with Redl and the conservancy to fabricate the installation. The company, which has offices in Brisbane and Shanghai as well as New York, has also worked with artist Ai Wei Wei on the recent project in Washington Square Park, “Arch: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors.”
The Madison Square Park Conservancy launched public art programming through Mad. Sq. Art in 2004 and Redl’s installation is the 35th outdoor exhibition that the conservancy has organized. “Whiteout” will be on display through March 25, 2018.