Client: New York City Parks and Recreation
Location: Manhattan, NY, United States
Completion date: 2022
Artwork budget: $300,000
Artist - Producer
Jaime Miranda Bambarén
John Thomas Robinette
Curator - Texts
13 Moons (Seeds), a momentous public art installation by Jaime Miranda Bambarén (Lima, Peru, 1982), is on view at New York City’s Thomas Paine Park – Foley Square until the 21st of June 2023. The project involves thirteen enormous and intensely carved organic spheres. Their name, and number, and shapes, stand in gravid allusion to the annual cycle of human ovulation —with cosmic overtones derived from their mesmerizing expressiveness and astounding dimensions (up to 230 cm high each piece). A colossal presence made all the more enthralling by the crucial fact that every single Moon is wrought out of single pieces of wood, in a paradoxical act of healing. Miranda-Bambarén does not fell any trees. On the contrary, he exhumes and sculpts the truncated roots of already plundered eucalyptus in the Peruvian highlands. Centennial specimens, planted perhaps since viceregal times, and now razed by our degrading “modernity”.
By converting such remains into Seeds, the artificer affirms, to be sure, an ecological claim. But, above all, he projects a metaphysical vision, a resurrectional act: to grant those desecrated remnants a symbolic dignity. And to transfigure those mementos of death into breathtaking, almost breathing images of life. Moribund nature transformed into a nascent art.
A sense of latency already inscribed into the very materiality of these convoluted pieces. The dramatic outbursts of their fissures and textures. The peristaltic entrails of the savaged roots. The furrows, the gaps, the crevices. The almost erogenous conduits and orifices. The disturbing and enticing cavities provocatively probing deep into the kernel hearts of each Seed. And at times penetrating its flesh and soul to the point of occasionally breaking through its entire body to reveal, in an outburst of light, the other side of the perforated sphere.
A vision akin to the aesthetic notion of the sublime. Or the artistic experience of the spiritual. The spiritual in art, paradoxically extracted out of the extremely physical process of cleansing the still brute substance of the unearthed roots, and then arduously exploring the creative suggestions provided by their unique marks of existence.
The elements, the atmospheric forces that will both blemish and embellish the impeccable forms withdrawn from the artist’s studio to be exposed to —rather than merely exhibited in— the open airs, and the rains, and the winds, and the smog, of Thomas Paine Park. 12 highly symbolic months: the actual process of the installation itself began on the 21st of June 2022 —the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hermisphere— and was concluded three days later, on the 24th, in coincidence with the Inti Raymi, the grand Solar Feast of Inca times. With similar poignance, the total experience will conclude on the 21st of June 2023. That time lapse, that passage of time, is in itself part of 13 Moons. And its mark will be inscribed into both the modified appearance and the perpetual soul of the grand spheres that thus configure their final mystery. The mutual transfiguration of patina and aura. Their reciprocal transubstantiation. Defined by the whims of nature. Or God. Il miglior fabbro. A thaumaturgic art. Such mystical overtones, however, are discreetly diffused into the faktura of the 13 Moons.