Well Cells

Submitted by Andrée Valley

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Client: UW Hospital and Clinics

Location: Madison, WI, United States

Completion date: 2002

Artwork budget: $10,000

Project Team

Artist

Andrée Valley

Industry Resource

Findorff Company

Overview

Commissioned in January of 2002 by University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Well Cells is a multiple piece mobile located in the rotunda entryway and hallways of the UW Hospital and Clinics – West in Madison, Wisconsin. It was completed and installed in July of that year at a cost of $10,000. This price did not include installation which was done by the general contractor under supervision of the artist.

Goals

The painted aluminum hanging mobile installation consists of 35 pieces that hang in the rotunda entry of UW Hospital and Clinics - West as well as in hallways and waiting areas throughout the building. The pieces range from two to four feet in size and are made from 3/8” aluminum painted in saturated colors with a UV resistant powder coat finish. They hang with airplane wire and swivels allowing for rotation. Each piece slowly rotates at a different rate according to size, shape and airflow.

Process

Andree Valley was asked to submit a proposal by Sarah Grimes, the UW Health Art Coordinator. Meeting with members of the UW Health administration, architects and contractor, the artist presented a scale model of the mobile installation with a detailed aesthetic, fabrication and installation proposal. The mobile sculpture was installed upon completion of the building, before move-in date. Valley supervised the installation done by Findorff Co., the building’s general contractor.

I wanted people coming into the clinic to see a piece that is fun and uplifting, using a theme of colorful, abstracted cells. The installation can be viewed from the ground atrium floor as well as from the second floor. From the second floor balcony, the viewer is on the same level as the installation giving the feeling of immersion.

Additional Information

Each unit is hung from a structural beam above the hung ceiling. This was an interesting problem because the beams were not in line with the hung ceiling structure. Valley located where each unit would hang from the beam for aesthetic placement and so each piece could move without touching. During installation, she had to pinpoint the exact place of location using a laser beam pointing to the ceiling 30’ up. The pieces were attached using stainless steel crimps. Solving a mechanical problem is as interesting as solving one of aesthetics.