The Artist Behind Town Square’s Public Art
Fire-engine-red benches that spike, arch and undulate. A room with walls of rising water. Seats that emit plumes of smoke or break into jitters as someone sits down. Light sculptures powered by cyclists. A labyrinth of mirrored panels.
Welcome to the world of internationally-acclaimed Danish artist Jeppe Hein. Such figures are just a few of the many whimsical sculptures created by the Berlin-based artist.
Bay Meadows is fortunate to be the site of Hein’s “Mirror Labyrinth NY – for California,” which will grace the community’s Town Square, opening in June. The installation will be the first Hein artwork on permanent exhibition in California.
Hein said, “I am very happy about the opportunity to realize a mirror labyrinth in the Bay Area and I hope it will somehow speak to people’s inner child, encourage them to overcome their barriers when dealing with others and enter into a new dialogue with each other.”
All images: JEPPE HEIN: PLEASE TOUCH THE ART May 17,2015 – April17, 2016
Brooklyn Bridge Park Presented by Public Art Fund
(c) Jeppe Hein, Courtesy 303 Gallery, New York
Hein’s work has been displayed at venues such as the Venice Biennale, the Pompidou Centre, Tate Modern and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. A recent sweeping exhibition in Brooklyn Bridge Park presented by the Public Art Fund titled “Please Touch the Art” received praise from the New York art world.
Much of Hein’s work is exhibited in public spaces, making it accessible so everyone can enjoy the interactive experience. Recently featured in “Interview” magazine, Hein noted, “I work a lot with mirrors. People reflect themselves in the work and [it] becomes a tool for communication and dialogue … Are you outside or inside the work? You don’t really know.”
The various labyrinth sculptures Hein has created are a magnet for interaction. Kids love to scamper around the polished panels that lengthen from 3 to 9 feet high. Adults who never met before strike up conversations. Power Instagram users snap selfies that show a dizzying number of reflections surrounding the photographer.
Bay Area art aficionados who recall the SFMOMA’s 2007 survey of the much-heralded artist Olafur Eliasson are in for a treat in getting to know Jeppe Hein’s work. Hein is a peer of Eliasson’s and studied at the same institute – the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen.
Art as a Means of Redefining the Public Space
Hein stated, “I consider art in public as a social sign with the ability to provoke and challenge communication and reflection. This is particularly relevant at a time when places for communication – such as free, creative spaces and areas designed to enable interaction and involve people in a dialogue with the surroundings and others – are absent from most contemporary cities.”
Art consultant Lisa Lindenbaum, who played a key role in acquiring “Mirror Labyrinth” for Bay Meadows, noted, “Hein’s work asks for engagement. It catalyzes activity, as visitors to the Brooklyn Bridge Park exhibit experienced, being drawn in to and connected with that riverfront site. In this setting, an already vibrant hub, ‘Mirror Labyrinth NY – for California’ will not only provide a focal point, but will also augment the meaning of community for all who pass through Bay Meadows’ Town Square.”
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