As you approach the thing, its bulbous red form, looms higher and higher above you. With every step closer, its shape shifts, and its weight seems to move from front to back. Graphic painted lines and high-gloss car paint finish scream “SPEED!”
Running Track, commissioned by the Edmonton Arts Council for the Terwillegar Community Recreation centre, is a piece created by a world renowned group of four sculptors that call themselves Inges Idee. Together, they have done site-specific, permanent public art commissions in Berlin, Tokyo, Paris, Vancouver, and now Edmonton.
In the first of a series of lectures on public art last Thursday, Axel Lieber, a member of the collective, gave an enlightening talk about public art and presented an impressive portfolio of some of the most poetic projects I have ever seen. Lieber revealed the fascinating process used to develop their sculptures, from brainstorming and sketch models to finished project. Running Track began as a foam model of a distorted figure running, and was simplified, abstracted, refined and enlarged until its current form emerged.
Very thoughtfully, it references the purpose and colours of the building it stands in front of. Lieber explained the inspiration for the piece came from athletics and sport, but also the general ideas of speed and dynamism. The piece seems like a modern take on the ideas of the futurist art movement. I can't help notice the resemblance to Umberto Boccioni's 1913 bronze statue, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space.
Bravo to MADE in Edmonton, the AGA, the Edmonton Design Committee and the Edmonton Arts Council for bringing the attention of Edmontonians to our visual culture with this Public Art Lecture Series. The series continues to shine a spotlight on public art and urban design in the city and around the world. You can find a schedule at madeinedmonton.org of upcoming events. V