I am very excited to discover and share with you the ephemeral artworks of USA artist, Janet Echelman. Her living, breathing sculptural environments respond to the forces of nature – wind, water and light – and become dynamic incursions into the urban fabric. She combines ancient craft of weaving fish nets and lace work with cutting-edge technology to create sculpture at the scale of buildings. organically experiential in nature, the result is sculpture that shifts from being an object you look at, to transient space one can become immersed in. Above; 1.26 Sculpture Project at the Amsterdam Light Festival, 2013.
Tsunami 1.26, over George St, Sydney Town hall, in 2011. An aerial lace installation, which was inspired by the 2010 Chile earthquake’s ensuing tsunami and the 1.26-microsecond shortening of the day that resulted from the earthquake’s redistribution of the Earth’s mass
I am stunned by artwork that doesn’t require a gallery or designated urban landscape, but instead sits within the void of urban airspace with a monumental presence, fluidly moving and responding to natural environmental forces.
“Her Secret Is Patience”, 2009 – Phoenix, Arizona. Her artwork is uplifting and joyous.
It occurred to her that their nets were creating form without mass in a completely unique way. Once She made some forms from the nets,
She hoisted them into the air and discovered that they billowed softly and made the unseen dance of wind visible. Add colour, light, further exploration of materials and a massive increase in scale, and an artform is created.
“Target Swooping II”, 2001 – Burgos, Spain in the 15th-century carved stone courtyard of Casa de Cordon, where Christopher Columbus was welcomed home from his New World Voyage by Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand.
‘Every Beating Second’, San Francisco, 2011
Echelman came across her unique idea circumstantially. While working in India on a Scholarship, She was searching for a way to create art without her conventional painting tools, and when swimming at a beach, she noticed the fishermen winding their nets on the shore. She was struck with the idea of making art from nets; thus was born an entirely new career direction. Above “Line Drawing”, 2006-07 – Poe Parking Garage, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, USA, adding surprise to a dull featureless urban space.
Her strategy is to let her work be choreographed by nature, so that it is ever-changing, renewed at every moment.
“She Changes,” 2005 – Porto, Portugal. This work is credited as the first permanent, monumental public sculpture to use an entirely soft and flexible set of membranes moving fluidly in wind. The net is comprised of 36 individual mesh sections in different densities, hand-joined along all sides into a multi-layered form. The net material is TENARA® architectural fiber, a 100% UV-resistant, colorfast fiber made of PTFE (poly-tetra-fluoro-ethylene), the substance most widely known as the non-stick cooking surface Teflon®.
Recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, Echelman was named Architectural Digest’s 2012 Innovator for “changing the very essence of urban spaces.” Her TED talk “Taking Imagination Seriously” has been translated into 33 languages and is estimated to have been viewed by more than a million people worldwide.
I would love to use one of her works in a restaurant or public interior project.
photo sources; Echelman website and Designbloom