Client: The China Academy of Art with the West Lake International Invitational Sculpture Exhibition
Location: Hangzhou, United States
Completion date: 2012
Artwork budget: $15,000
Harries Heder Collaborative
The project features seven umbrellas floating on the water at two sites in the Xixi Wetland Park. The panels of the umbrellas are made of prismatic film, which depending on the light and the viewer’s perspective, shifts between a mirrored and a transparent surface. They capture the sunlight and cast rainbow light onto the surface of the water. Six umbrellas are located at one site, with only a single umbrella at the second site. Umbrellas have suffused Chinese culture and imagery since ancient times. The Umbrellas are metaphors for rain, sun and the wind.
The Xixi Wetland Park in Hangzhou, China is an important environmental resource and is helping to increase awareness about environmental sustainability in China. Public artworks were commissioned to explore the relationship between people and the natural environment. To have a light impact on the environment, the artists used weights to anchor the sculptures in place rather than installing permanent foundations. The commissioned artworks were also used as an important teaching tool at the nearby China Academy of art.
The artists formed Harries/Héder Collaborative in Cambridge, MA in 1990. Since then we have worked together on over 30 major public commissions with budgets up to $6 million. We came to this collaboration from the different worlds of art and architecture. Mags brings her experience as a sculptor, teacher, and public artist. Lajos, besides being an artist, was trained as an architect and has worked on community projects, urban design, site planning, architecture, and construction. Our focus is the same: to activate public space through art. For each project we collaborate fully in the development of designs and ideas, drawing on our separate skills. For this project we collaborated with Chinese fabricators to make and install the Xixi Umbrellas.