This summer, artist Jeppe Hein has installed Changing Spaces, an interactive public art installation on Rockefeller Center’s Center Plaza, a swirling torrent of “liquid architecture” that continues the artist’s use of space and phenomenon to encourage visitors and passerby to stop and interact with the work.
Hein’s work has long taken an engaged approach towards the public, and often takes on shared space as the raw material with which he constructs subtle, intriguing sites. Hein’s practice, and approach to the site-specific reconfiguration of public space, focus on the integration of art and mindfulness into everyday life, encouraging play and imagination, often with simple materials turned towards imaginative iterations. His work often features surprising and captivating elements which place spectators at the center of events and focuses on their experience and perception of the surrounding environment.
Here, that materiality turns towards water. Changing Spaces consists of four circles with enclosing walls of water emerging and shooting up from the ground. The circular water ‘walls’ rise and fall at random, and merge into each other, dividing the water pavilion into smaller spaces within the structure. Visitors are allowed to move within the structure from space to space, as the artwork continually changes shape and appearance out of their control, creating a playful and interactive environment.
For a site that has long relied on the monumental, from an immense Jeff Koons to the infamous Elmgreen and Dragset pool on view at the site, Hein’s work seems to be a refreshing change of tone, filling the square with laughter and visitors who do their best to offer their own interpretation on moving through his watery structures.
The piece is on view through September 9th.
– D. Creahan
Jeppe Hein: Changing Spaces [Exhibition Site]