The Sculpture Project: Passage of Wind and Water, Design Concept
By Masayuki Nagase
(View an album of preliminary designs)
When I visited this region over 20 years ago, I was struck by the great span of space and the stark beauty of the nature here. After my visit in August 2012, I learned more of the complex cultural and historical context of the region. At Main Street Square, I observed how well the community uses it. I felt it was very important that the Sculpture Project should offer a positive experience and connection between the artwork and the community.
My overall goal as an artist is to express the essence and beauty of nature and to work with metaphors that inspire and connect people with nature in their region. When studying this area, I was also struck by the enormous waves of change that have been ongoing throughout time. I am inspired to create an artwork that could become a legacy for the community in the future.
In developing my conceptual design proposal as part of the artist selection process, there were a number of key challenges I considered:
My overall design concept is based on the themes of transformation, change and hope. The aspiration of all beings in nature to live in balance. In my work I view nature as an ever-changing and continually evolving energy of life. The main metaphor in this design is based on the energy and force of nature that brings and sustains life.
I chose the two natural elements of wind and water as the major visual themes. As in nature, wind and water are ever-present and interacting with all life. Wind carries seeds, erodes and uncovers and changes the form of the land. Water also affects the land, changing form and is a source of life that sustains all living beings.
Water is the main visual theme for the Black Hills garden. On the exterior of the Black Hills garden, I have designed an abstracted pattern of water moving across the surfaces of the stones, creating a unified pattern. On the interior of the stones, I have developed a series of designs based on impressions of the movement of nature and humans across time. I view these series of prototype images as an expression of the flow of energy in the Black Hills.
The designs on these stone elements start with the metaphor of water and abstractly express water as a source of life and show traces of the natural and cultural history:
The arising of mammals and human beings. Water as a source of life for the region and as a wellspring coming from the earth. The relationship of animals and human beings and the waves of change with the coming of horses, wagons, more people and the interaction and energy flow that is created.
This stone element is the only piece outside of the two stone garden planting areas. The abstract design of this stone represents the two elements of nature: wind and water.
Wind is the main theme for the Badlands garden. On the exterior of the Badlands garden, I have designed an abstracted relief pattern of wind and grasses flowing across the exterior of the stones, creating a unified pattern.
On the interior of the stones, I have developed a series of designs based on impressions of the movement in nature starting from past geological time. I view these series of prototype images as an expression of the flow of energy in the Badlands.
The designs on these stone elements start with the metaphor of the wind and abstractly expresses the geological past and traces of the natural and cultural history:
Fossils that come from the ancient ocean and the evolution of mammals The importance of water in this region in the form of aquifers: the water that is hidden in the earth that brings forth lifeInteraction of humans with mammals: their interconnectedness and surviving together. The emerging energy from nature that arises from sometimes opposing forces and creates the action of breaking apart/shattering and also transforming into new roots growing underneath the surface
The two spires represent the potential of the community including the aspirations of all life to be in balance.
The Black Hills spire continues with the theme of water while the Badlands spire continues with the theme of wind. Both spires have an overall pattern that travels upwards in a spiral movement. They connect with each of their gardens and also relate to each other as a whole.
In these spiral patterns, I propose to design elements of flora and fauna in abstracted forms within a larger flowing pattern of handprints that will be taken from the community. The handprints represent the overall community's aspirations and hopes for the future of your region.
These designs are for the smaller stone elements in both gardens. They are based on the patterns of Fairburn Agate stones. Additional designs based on other regional flora and fauna elements will be selected after the community workshops and will be integrated into the overall design.
In my public art projects I try to work with the local communities who will be living with the artwork for many years to come. For this project I feel it is vitally important to find ways to engage the community with my work. One of my intentions in designing this artwork is to offer a sense of engagement and involvement for the community. This sculpture project presents a unique opportunity to connect the wider community to contemporary art and also children to the field of visual arts.
In early 2013, I held a series of community workshops to engage directly with various parts of your community and explored what is important to them about nature in Rapid City and the region. I may hold more workshops as the project progresses.
I will collect handprints at different locations that can reach a cross section of Rapid City's population such as schools, community centers, senior centers etc. These handprints of young and old will be integrated into the spiral patterns on the two spires.
Since children are one of the largest groups that use the Main Street Square, I want to explore ways to connect and engage them with the Sculpture Project. I am working with the Dahl Arts Center to create a Visiting Artists in the Schools program in a few public elementary schools to offer direct hands-on learning in the field of visual arts.