Cloud gate and Awilda’s dream
The Millennium Park as a whole operates as a form of relational visual as it breaks with the traditional physical and social space occupied by the art gallery. The park takes the entirety of life as it is lived as its subject. It has incorporated the dynamic social environment in itself because as it is, it does not mimic the representation of objects from the daily life. The Millennium Park has created a social circumstance. This means that the viewers’ experience of the constructed social environment is the true art, while the artists are seen as a conduit for the experienced social experience (Bourriaud 113). The artists making the Millennium Park serve as catalysts for the public to experience their daily activities. The two works “Look into My Dreams, Awilda” by Jaume Plensa and “Cloud gate” By Anish Kapoor are seen as physical spaces used for social events such as discussions, communal meals or even sitting around it. People are attracted to these places because of the experience they wish to carry with them. The art in the Millennium Park has been contributing to the emergence of a rational society. The artists’ thoughts are structured by principles.
Look into my dreams, Awilda is the first new sculpture by Plensa. It stands 39 feet tall, and is made if a white resin. The piece illuminates too much power that is echoes by its sister sculptures, Laura, Paula and Inez. These sculptures show the possessive power of girls as they become women. Awilda presides over the entrance of the park with a powerful view to the west even though she is not looking. She has always shut her eyes as if she is in another place dreaming. Unlike Awilda, her sisters are brown and look like real flesh, ready to be caressed. They represent the youthful beauty girls possess as they go into womanhood. Plensa’s contribution to the millennium park has made it a model for public space internationally (Sutton 1). Jaume Plensa’s four portraits have become Chicago’s landmark. They are an icon to public sculpture. Plensa’s practice leaves the private space to accommodate the social context in it. As such, the work is seen as a catalyst to some activities in the daily lives of the viewers. The work serves a social function. The theme people experience when relating with the sculptures is that of change into something better. The young beautiful girls are changing into womanhood, which is perceived a better stage with better experiences. It is like the girls are dreaming of the beautiful life ahead of them. This is the kind of experience the public draws from the sculptures. They do not just look at them as objects but as a source of something nothing else can offer them. This work has attracted international recognition of the park since it is a destination for cultural and social activities. There are several visitors who come for the purpose of this work. It has also attracted educational events. People visiting the park get a lot of photographs from these works, and all create a long term sustainable social and cultural value for the Chicago citizens. Through Plensa’s work, there is a creation of a social environment in which people come to participate and share an activity. Unlike the traditional meaning of art, the requirement to form imaginary, this work offers a way of living, and is a form of a model in the real world to help in sharing a particular activity in the social context of the dream.
Cloud gate is another work by Anisg Kapoor at the Millenium Park. This sculpture is commonly referred to as “The Bean” because of its similar shape to bean. The sculpture is made up of stainless steel and is highly polished to conceal the seams of the 168 stainless steel plates making it. Due to its unique reflective element, visitors like taking photos around it. The artist has made it look so perfect as if it has come from another planet because of its unique polish that erases its origin. The entire city is seen on its surface. When someone approaches this bean, he or she sees his or her image in it. The image is joined to those of the park and the city. The reflective surface serves as a mind, and this mind is observing the universe. People approach art to see themselves in it just as in this bean. It is a piece that viewers identify with a lot. The mindfulness of Cloud Gate is our own mind, the way our minds shudder as they consume the entire city. Politically, the Cloud Gate allows the viewers so see that Chicago is not an eternal city. There are new things that can really happen in the world. In simple words, this work is an indication that things can be otherwise. It reassures that things could be different from how they are. It is like the artist has made this elliptic bean to show us the world as our childlike selves see it, mutable and fluid in form. The artist has envisaged the audience as a community (Sharoff 61). The feeling is unique for everyone who visits this site. The reflection is different, but the experience is almost the same. A similar inner voice telling each person those things could be different from how they seem. It is like the work gives reassurance to everyone, and anything it reflects. Art and objecthood are very different things. These works are arts because the objects used in the construction of the works are autonomous entities. Looking at these works does not feel like the observer is looking at an object but rather a piece of art. The bean is created in a manner that its seams are all sealed to make it look one. As if the whole piece was born from elsewhere the way it is (Wallis 117).
The two works are contemporary pieces that include the public in them. They are both large sculptures. They have all created space to include the public. Plensa used the huge human body sculpture with closed eyes to provide people with a place where they could meet and share dreams. This shows relational aesthetics in that people are engaged in the sculpture in doing a social thing. How else do people dream if not in sleep with closed eyes? The work shows both art and object hood. Art in the way it is designed and object hood in the manner it is viewed and used in social activities. Both works are not an encounter between an observer and an object since them all offer inter-subjective encounters. As the public encounter these works, they elaborate meaning collectively.
Bourriaud, Nicolas. Relational Aesthetics. Dijon: Les presses du reel, 2002. p. 113.
Sharoff, Robert (2004). Better than Perfect: The Making of Chicago's Millennium Park. Walsh Construction Company.pp.61
Sutton, Benjamin. Jaume Plensa Gets a Big Head (Four of Them) in Chicago Park. 2014. Web. 10th Dec. 2014
Wallis, Brian. Art after modernism: Rethinking representation (art criticism and Theory). David R Godine. 1992. Pp. 177
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