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Renowned artist discusses artwork, solo exhibition

Grimanesa Amorós’ solo exhibition is currently featured in the Women Artists Series Galleries in Mabel Smith Douglass Library as part of a larger multi-purpose year project, “Momentum: Women/Art/Technology.”
Photo by Avalon ZoppoGrimanesa Amorós’ solo exhibition is currently featured in the Women Artists Series Galleries in Mabel Smith Douglass Library as part of a larger multi-purpose year project, “Momentum: Women/Art/Technology.”

From Beijing to New York to Finland and France, Grimanesa Amorós has presented her artwork across the globe. 

New Brunswick was recently added to this list of locations when the Institute for Women and Art chose Amorós as the 2014-2015 Estelle Lebowitz Visiting Artist-in-Residence for the Mary H. Dana Women Artists Series. 

Yesterday, Amorós visited Mabel Smith Douglass Library to give a public lecture about her artwork.

“When I make a piece, I want the viewer and the piece to become one,” she said. 

Her solo exhibition is currently being featured as part of a larger multi-purpose year project, “Momentum: Women/Art/Technology.”

Her works on display at the library provide an overview of her artistic practice and relationship to technology through film, installation, documentation and sculpture, said Connie Tell, project manager of The Feminist Art Project.

Amorós is most known for her large-scale, light-based public art installations that incorporate lighting, cutting-edge technology and engineering. 

One site-specific installation she discussed in the lecture was Uros House, which was displayed in Times Square in New York City. 

When designing Uros House, Amorós said she wanted to capture the floating sensation she felt when visiting the Uros Islands in Peru. 

A behind-the-scenes video showed the construction of the piece and highlighted the unseen challenges that come with setting up outdoor art installations.

The installation had to withstand 150 mph winds and be set up between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., before New York traffic began.

“All of these challenges just make you better,” Amorós said. 

Amorós was born in Lima, Peru, and often draws upon Peruvian culture to inspire her artwork.

She was drawn to the visual element of landscapes at a young age, and this fascination has translated into her artwork.

In a backroom of the gallery, a four-minute concept video entitled “Miranda” was displayed. The video mixes imagery of ancient Incan monuments, Incan sun masks and animation of the artist’s face combined with video footage of sea foam washed up on the Peruvian coastline. 

“Miranda,” meaning “to be admired” in Latin, was filmed between sunset and moonrise for seven consecutive days.

“It was the first time I merged animation with real footage, and the last time,” Amorós said. “It was very difficult because a little change takes about 10 hours.”

The video demonstrates how striving for resources has led to the social and political climate in the Middle East. It also shows the innovation of new technological environmental solutions.

Adam Moore, School of Arts and Sciences first-year student, said the video made him feel nostalgic. 

“The video connected the human experience to the environment,” he said. “At one point in the video, a person was shown playing with a baby turtle. That part made me think about childhood.”

Amorós also discussed her other works, such as “Racimo” and “Allures of the Sea,” showcased in Finland, both of which involved working with hundreds of lights. 

“Allure of the Sea” was her first major, light-based sculpture and was originally built for Royal Caribbean International, the largest cruise ship in the world.

Her inspiration for the sculpture was the vineyards she remembers from her childhood in Peru. The shape and color of the grapes fascinated her, she said. 

Amorós has challenged gender-biased notions by showcasing women artists’ ability to break new ground in the technological artistic realm. 

“[Amorós] has a career in a typically very male-oriented part of the art world — the world of large-scale installations,” Tell said. “She does very large-scale, site specific work. It’s more difficult for women to be recognized for that kind of work.”