Adrián Villar Rojas Goes Wild on the High Line
The Argentine artist's sculptures are designed to disintegrate.
Attention New Yorkers: Take advantage of the autumn mildness to stroll along the High Line at the Rail Yards, the final stretch of the popular elevated park, which just opened to the public (see “Wild Final Section of the High Line Set to Open“). The mile-and-a-half stretch offers a sweeping panorama of the Hudson, views down into the adjacent rail yards (soon to be covered over by developers), and a series of sculptures by Argentine artist Adrián Villar Rojas (see “The High Line’s Untamed Final Stretch to Host Adrián Villar Rojas Sculptures“).
Titled “The Evolution of God,” Rojas’s exhibition is the latest in his series of sculptures designed to deteriorate, returning to nature over time. Over the next year, Rojas’s sculptures will mimic the process of decay that the High Line itself underwent before its recent rehabilitation.
Each piece is a large cube, primarily made of concrete, that at first glance appears to be a remnant of some abandoned construction project. But these post-industrial objects quickly reveal themselves to be laced with other, unexpected materials: oyster shells, old sneakers, bones, rope, dirt, cloth, and clay—even plant life growing out of the cracks in the stone, accelerating the objects’ eventual decay. More will sprout in the months to come, as each piece has been subtly planted with seeds.
The outdoor exhibition is Rojas’s first major solo exhibition in New York, after he created monumental installations for “Expo 1″ at MoMA PS1 last year and the 2012 New Museum triennial. He also inaugurated London’s Serpentine Sackler Gallery with a solo show in 2013, and received the Benesse Prize for a promising young artist at the 2011 Venice Biennale.
In addition to catching Rojas’s sculptures before they disintegrate, a trip to the High Line at the Rail Yards provides the opportunity to see a neighborhood in flux, on the verge of massive expansion and development. Just as the old train tracks will soon be lost from view, hidden beneath a swath of expensive condos and new development, and Rojas’s sculptures will turn to dust, so the park will not exist in its current state forever. The charming, un-manicured vegetation, natural though it seems, is a carefully tailored approximation of the park in its once-wild state, and the pathway along the original tracks will someday give way to a more permanent structure. The High Line in its current iteration will be nearly as fleeting as an Indian Summer.
For those interested in a more engaged stroll, High Line docents offer free one-hour guided tours starting at Gansevoort and Washington streets every Saturday from 10–11:15 a.m.
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