Socrates Sculpture Park

Gene Thompson

Exhibition: Outside In, 1987

Early Flight, 1987


Exhibition: Walk On/Sit Down/Go Through, 1987

Images: 

Paradox, 1987
Helium inflated structure of metallized and optical-quality mylar
10 cones spanning 800'; Each cone: 40' x 4'6"

When I first saw Socrates Sculpture Park, I was reminded of experiences from my childhood in California. I had worked with my father (a horticulturalist) renovating rubble-strewn lots and deteriorated landscape sites. I knew the kind of labor and creativity involved in the process of bringing a forgotten piece of land back to life. I remember the initial roughness of those sites in California and the transformation that evolved because of our work. In many ways, I felt a sense of deja vu when I first saw Socrates Sculpture Park. But instead of trying to reconstruct the kind of process my father and I experienced with landscape in California, I decided to approach this sculpture space in a new way for me -- create and construct a sculpture based on the clearest, least interrupted expanse on this site: water.

Water to support sculpture -- something flexible and mobile but simultaneously solid as steel, wood or other materials used for land-sited sculpture. Sculpture on water would complement the powerful, massive works developed on land. Light-weight mylar constructions inflated with helium later, deflated and stored, are for me a captivating idea for scuulpture, a curious paradox at a time when available land space for sculpture is most precious and endangered like an almost extinct species.

I would like to thank all the people who helped me, especially Elaine Epstein and Loren Calaway.



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