Artist Janet Echelman's Artist Statement for the Greenway Installation.
My sculpture for Boston above the Rose Kennedy Greenway spans the void where an elevated highway once split downtown from its waterfront. Knitting together the urban fabric, it soars 600 feet through the air above street traffic and Pedestrian Park.
The sculpture's form echoes the history of its location. The three voids recall the "Tri-Mountain" which was razed in the 18th-Century to create lands from the harbor. The colored banding is a nod to the six traffic lanes that once overwhelmed the neighborhood, before the Big Dig buried them and enable the space to be reclaimed for urban pedestrian life.
The sculpture is made by hand-splicing rope and knotting twine into an interconnected mesh of more than a half-million nodes. When any one of its elements moves, every other element is affected. Monumental in scale and strength yet delicate as lace, it fluidly responds to ever-changing wind and weather. Its fibers are 15 times stronger than steel yet incredibly lightweight, making the sculpture able to lace directly into three skyscrapers as a soft counterpoint to hard-edged architecture. Its is a physical manifestation of interconnectedness and strength through resiliency.
In daylight the porous form blends with sky when looking up, and casts shadow-drawings onto the ground below. At night it becomes an illuminated beacon. The artwork incorporates dynamic lighting that reflects the changing wind patterns.
The work invites you to linger, whether seen amidst the skyline from afar, or lying down on the grassy knoll beneath. It embraces Boston as a city on foot, where past and present area interwoven, and takes over gaze skyward to feel the vibrant pulse of now. It invites you to pause and observe the dance of a physical form with sky, of soft with hard, of human action and the force beyond our control.
- Janet Echelman