CLAUDIA WIESER | REHEARSAL
CLAUDIA WIESER TO DEBUT FIVE LARGE-SCALE SCULPTURES AT THE ICONIC VISTA OF THE MANHATTAN BRIDGE IN DUMBO CREATING A DESTINATION FOR REFLECTION AND CONNECTION
On July 29, Public Art Fund will unveil Rehearsal, Berlin-based artist Claudia Wieser’s public art debut. Featuring five distinct large-scale geometric sculptures clad with hand-painted glazed tiles, panels featuring photographs of New York City and Roman and Greek antiquities, and mirror polished stainless steel, Rehearsal will create an immersive experience for park goers to explore. The cluster of sculptures will be located at the iconic terminus of Washington Street, where the Manhattan Bridge frames the Empire State Building. Juxtaposed with the surrounding architecture and natural landscape of Brooklyn Bridge Park, Rehearsal highlights the dynamism of the city and its people. The installation can be seen as both a meeting place and a theatrical set that hearkens back to ancient Roman forums—public spaces where people could assemble, interact, and exchange ideas. Inviting park goers into the installation to explore the painted, photographic, and mirrored details of Wieser’s works, Rehearsal will offer a moment of pause and reflection, and also allow the public to become actors in their own urban narrative.
“Wieser is acutely aware that the sculptures will become part of the landscape of the city for a time and wanted to create a powerful synergy with the bustling surroundings of DUMBO. Building a dialogue between the public and the sculptures is an integral part of Rehearsal,” says Public Art Fund Associate Curator Katerina Stathopoulou. “Park goers will activate the works by touching, resting, and seeing themselves and the city reflected as they weave their way through the constellation of sculptures.”
In conceiving her first outdoor work, Wieser was presented with the unique opportunity to link the sculptures to the surrounding built and natural environments. The structures range in height from seven to 13 feet and are encased in a balance of more than 1000 warm and cool-toned clay tiles that were hand-painted by the artist in her Berlin studio. They define the shape of each sculpture and echo the patterns of the neighboring historic red brick buildings and nearby Belgian-block paving stones. Wieser treats each tile as a surface for a painting, showing the marks of her workmanship. Interspersed throughout the sculptures are images that add different layers of perspective: contemporary photographs of New York City taken by Wieser during past trips, and others captured by tourists in the 1980s and 90s, along with reproductions of ancient sculptures that allude to Roman forums. Highly polished stainless steel reflects the movement of visitors as they pass through the sculptures. In choosing the title, Wieser underscores the performative nature of the work, drawing attention to the interplay between visitor and artwork to suggest something that is still in process and ever-evolving.
Wieser is known for her Modernist-inspired geometric constructions that reference Bauhaus architecture and design, spirituality, alchemy, and furniture design, with a nod to 20th century abstract and expressionist artists such as Hilma af Klint, Wassily Kandinsky, and Paul Klee. Trained as a blacksmith, her work has evolved to encompass craft and functionality—an ethos at the forefront of her Public Art Fund commission. The sculptures take into consideration site specificity and were conceived with the public in mind, to provide an opportunity for escape, respite, and connection as we re-emerge into our shared world.
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