Tatiana Trouvé and Public Art Fund Bring Homage to Selma and Other Historic Walks to Central Park

Tatiana Trouvé, Desire Lines (2015). Photo: Courtesy of Public Art Fund, New York.
Tatiana Trouvé, Desire Lines (2015). Photo: Courtesy of Public Art Fund, New York.

Temperatures in New York have finally begun climbing back above the freezing mark this week, and not a moment too soon: earlier today, a new public artwork from Paris-based artist Tatiana Trouvé was unveiled in Central Park, aka the backyard for all Manhattanites.

The latest project from the Public Art FundDesire Lines was designed in response to the park’s geography and over 150-year history. Trouvé has created 212 larger-than-life wooden spools of colored thread, displayed on three industrial shelving units. Each spool represents one of the park’s many pathways, the length of the thread matching the distance each path travels.

“Tatiana Trouvé’s work transforms industrial materials like rope, wooden spools, and steel storage units into muscular and evocative sculptural forms,” said Public Art Fund director and chief curator Nicholas Baume in a statement. “Rather than simply illustrate the park, Desire Lines creates a parallel experience of its extraordinary density, mass, and variety. Trouvé’s color choices for the rope and placement of each spool are intuitive, just as our own navigation through the park might follow any number of different routes, according to our personal ‘desire lines.’”

Two years in the making, the piece is among the artist’s largest works to date, and marks her first public exhibition in the US.

Each spool and pathway represents a specific march, whether it be historically, artistically, or musically significant. Among them, the 1965 Selma/Montgomery voting rights march (see Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Historic Selma-Montgomery March, in Pictures), Philippe Petit’s daring tightrope performance between the towers of the World Trade Center, and Fats Domino’s tune “I’m Walkin’.”

“This is just a tiny, tiny atlas of all the walks I have found, all the walks I could find,” Trouvé told the New York Times, “I could keep working on this for years.”

“Tatiana Trouvé: Desire Lines” will be on view at Central Park’s Doris C. Freedman Plaza through August 30.

For more artnet News coverage of springtime public art see Nicolas Holiber’s Head of Goliath Kicks Off New York’s Spring Public Art Season and Paula Hayes’ Luminous Globes of Predigital Castoffs Lure the Instagram Set.


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