A Ribbon of Light

Submitted by Dierk Van Keppel

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Client: Lawrence Public Library

Location: Lawrence, KS, United States

Completion date: 2014

Artwork budget: $80,000

Project Team

Artist

Dierk Van Keppel

Rock Cottage Glassworks

Industry Resource

Tom Zahner

A. Zahner Co.

Architect

Sean Zadke

Gould and Evans

Overview

A Ribbon of Light is a DNA structured sculpture made with hand blown glass, fused glass, and water-jet cut aluminum. The art work I have had the honor to make, for Lawrence Public Library,  is an abstract representation of DNA. I have placed chains of colored glass within a matrix of clear glass. The glass was first blown then fused together. The patterns of color go from less to more dense as if duplicating themselves. The glass is assembled into aluminum framework that mimic the cell body.

Goals

“A Ribbon Of Light" Is a metaphor that honors the libraries function to maintain humanities knowledge and make information accessible to the public. Throughout our history politics and subjective opinions have eroded and even destroyed objective scientific facts and cultural traditions. Thankfully Libraries have secured the great works and knowledge produced and accumulated by the great thinkers, the poets, the authors, the historians, the scientists. The institution we call libraries educate us, provide cultural and artistic points of view. Without them our society would be subject to information that is from entities that are the most powerful, have the most money or political persuasion. Libraries are the sanctuary for free thinkers.
Our own genetic code is the information on how our bodies and all living matter are formed. I think that the genome is a perfect analogy to the library. It is the structure that keeps then provides the information necessary to form and reform ourselves, our values, ideas, our advancement. The analogy continues in that these structures record and keep history intact. So that failed concepts and bodies subject to natural selection are either improved or fail to exist.

Process

I want to express my gratitude to the City of Lawrence, The Lawrence Public Library and The Lawrence Art Selection Committee for giving me this opportunity. I have learned a lot from experimenting with a different approach to glass making and I have enjoyed the experience. I would also like to thank Tom Zahner and Craig Long for their design and engineering contributions as well as John Shreve for his design input. I would especially like to thank A. Zahner Co. without their backing and metal fabrication this work would not have been possible for me.

Additional Information

This project was a collaboration between the Architect: Sean Zadke of Gould and Evans, Tom Zahner of A. Zahner Co. and myself. The goal was to create an artwork that integrated the architecture via glass elements including the signage and way finding panels constructed in the same fashion as the atrium sculpture. The design Idea was to lead the library patron from the outside into the core of the library.