Fata Morgana, a 500-foot-long sculpture in six sections installed horizontally above park visitors, will be Mad. Sq. Art’s most ambitious commissioned outdoor sculpture
The outdoor sculpture, which will consist of 500 running feet of golden, mirror-polished discs that create canopies above the pathways around the Park’s central Oval Lawn, will be on view in Madison Square Park beginning June 1, 2015. In nature, a Fata Morgana is a horizontal mirage that forms across the horizon line. Alluding to this phenomenon, Fernández’s project introduces a shimmering horizontal element to the Park that will engage visitors in a dynamic experience. The installation is a mirror-polished, golden metal sculpture that will hover above the Park’s winding walkways to define a luminous experiential passage for Park visitors. The metal forms, perforated with intricate patterns reminiscent of foliage, will create abstract flickering effects as sunlight filters through the canopy, casting a golden glow across the expanse of the work, paths, and passersby. The project is Mad. Sq. Art’s first to fully utilize the upper register of a visitor’s space.
Teresita Fernández (American, b. 1968), a 2005 MacArthur Fellow, is best known for her prominent public sculptures and unconventional use of materials. Her work is characterized by an interest in perception and the psychology of looking. Her experiential, large-scale works are often inspired by landscape and natural phenomena as well as diverse historical and cultural references. “Fata Morgana is a site-specific work designed for, and inspired by, Madison Square Park,” said Ms. Fernández. “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. 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.” Madison Square Park’s 6.2-acre site welcomes more than 50,000 daily visitors – a richly diverse audience including local residents, families, public school groups and day camps, office workers, students, artists, and international tourists. “Our mission with Mad. Sq. Art is twofold: it is a consummate challenge for artists to create outdoor work on a monumental scale, and it is a partnership between the Conservancy and the public,” said Keats Myer, Executive Director of Madison Square Park Conservancy. “Mad. Sq. Art is a singular opportunity for artists to further their current practice without the physical limitations of a traditional gallery space,” said Brooke Kamin Rapaport, Martin Friedman Senior Curator. “What Fernández has realized with Fata Morgana is the most monumental example of this approach.” A celebrated series of sculpture exhibitions by living artists, Mad. Sq. Art was launched by Madison Square Park Conservancy in 2004 to bring free public art programs to New York. The program has received extensive critical and public attention since its inception and has developed into a world-class cultural institution. Its ambition and scale expands each year alongside an increasingly diverse range of innovative, world-class artists. Fata Morgana was designed by Teresita Fernández in collaboration with SITU Fabrication. Fata Morgana was fabricated by Adirondack Studios. Structural engineering by Thornton Tomasetti.