Sitting at Brooklyn Bridge, NYC, is a colossal sculpture made from 17kms of square aluminium tubing, which forms a part of international art project CONNECT BTS, hosted by Korean pop group BTS.
The abstract public art installation, New York Clearing (2020), is Antony Gormley’s latest ‘drawing in space’ project. Comprised of countless loops and coils without a beginning or an end, the parametric structure turns itself into a maze-like interactive environment for the public to climb through.
Overlooking the East River, the 15-metre-tall sculpture forms part of an international art project CONNECT, BTS. This project aims to connect five cities (London, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Seoul and New York) and 22 artists, who each contribute their unique philosophy and imagination. It aims to redefine the relationships between art and music, the material and immaterial, artists and their audiences, artists, theory and practice. It is a “collective curatorial practice by curators around the world who resonate with BTS’ philosophy”.
The swooping lines of Gormley’s sculpture coincide with this theme and encourage the physical engagement between viewers and its abstract construction as “an exploration of the body not an object”.
“This is the first time that I have attempted to make clearing without architectural support,” Gormley says. “I am enormously excited about the opportunity of making this energy field in conversation with Manhattan across the waters of the east river. It can be seen as an evocation of human connectivity, a materialization of the energy of the people that view it and the people that made it.”
Gormley says that art has been indoors for too long, “There’s nothing better than putting things that didn’t exist before out in a space where everyone can see it and just seeing what happens. There’s not going to be any labels here…you’re not telling anyone to think a certain way.”
“The thing that is fascinating me is this return to a sense of American confidence. It’s very easy at the time of Trump to think that everything is going down a plughole and yet building this with a multinational team of very varied skills and capabilities, in a way relinked me to the spirit that’s found in this city. This is an example of collective creativity — the city itself… the thing that excites me most is to come to a place where that will to make is so powerfully expressed.”
CONNECT, BTS is a global initiative that aims to connect individuals across the world as they re-evaluate their present circumstances. By engaging with 22 contemporary artists, BTS is creating an opportunity for the cross-pollination of the worlds of visual art and pop music.
“BTS has created a movement involving an audience of millions worldwide,” says CONNECT, BTS, art director and independent curator Daehyung Lee. “Their ability to speak meaningfully to people of different cultural backgrounds, social classes, ethnicities, genders and identities speaks in turn to modern art’s long-standing goal to transcend imagined boundaries.”
Commissioned by Daehyung Lee and approved by Eric Landau, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, the sculpture remains on view to the public until March 27, 2020.