Small in stature, but not in substance
First associations of public art tend to include massive, monolithic blocks, or monumental memorials to forgotten notables. Lilliput, the first group exhibition installed on the High Line, seeks to offer a counter-argument to this stereotype. Featuring miniature sculptures installed in unexpected places throughout the park—amongst the vegetation and along the pathway—Lilliput creates an artistic treasure hunt for visitors. The title and theme of the exhibition derive from Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, setting the stage for mystical, mysterious, and otherworldly works of art.
The works of six individual artists have taken root along the High Line.Carson, the first outdoor sculpture by artist Tomoaki Suzuki, is a young man wearing a leather jacket and tight leather pants, shrunken to one-third of human scale. Fun fact: Carson is actually based on an actual friend of the artist!
The Seduction, by Francis Upritchard, features two diminutive bronze monkeys frozen solid, mid-embrace, characteristic of his world populated miniature idols, eerie creatures, and fantastical animals.
For Construction (Rampart), Allyson Vieira created a bronze cast of a paper cup pyramid. Over the course of the 12-month exhibition, the sculpture will collect plant debris and water, transforming into an urban relic and evoking the past trajectory of the High Line itself.
Oliver Laric created Sun Tzu Janus, a reinterpretation of Sun Tzu, legendary author of The Art of War, presented as the two-headed bust of Janus, the Roman two-faced god looks both back to the past and forward into the future.
Inspired by the production of traditional Italian ceramics, Alessandro Pessoli created Old Singer with Blossoms, a 9-foot-tall sculpture of bronze and steel. Half human and half stylized, the mysterious figure resembles a lonely scarecrow, embedded in the planting beds amongst the birch trees and old freight train tracks.
Finally, Erika Verzutti presents Dino Acate, Dino Tropical, Dino Pot, and Dino, a family of dinosaurs made of abstract modern shapes juxtaposed with natural forms such as vegetables and animals, evoking a prehistoric site populated by primordial creatures.
Each of the sculptures in the group installation—High Line Art’s first!—provides a counterpoint to traditional definitions of public art, and raises questions about the function and impermanence of the genre.
Lilliput will be installed along the High Line through April 1.