looming over columbus, 500,000 knots weave janet echelman's lucid fiber tapestry 'current'

looming over columbus, 500,000 knots weave janet echelman's lucid fiber tapestry 'current'

wispy sculpture with multi-colored strands of hemp

 

Starting June 2023, the skyline of downtown Columbus in Ohio becomes an artistic touchstone for Janet Echelman’s famed wispy, floating sculpture, guarding the metropolis with its lucid, multi-colored fiber tapestry. Forming web-like twine filaments as the sculptural skeleton, 78 miles of twine and more than 500,000 knots of blue and red cloudlike abstraction make up the longest piece of public art in Columbus and the first of Echelman’s permanent sculptures to be suspended over a street.

 

The 229-foot-long soft fiber sculpture is suspended above the intersection of Gay and High Streets, stretching 126 feet in the air at its highest point. The wind blows, and the sculpture sways, luring the onlookers to halt in their steps and look up as the entangled wispy nets flutter like weightless marine fauna. Even passengers from aircraft passing by Columbus can see the hovering sculpture from their seats. Historical nearby buildings stand as anchors to the luminous tapestry, harmoniously knitting ‘Current’ within the threads of the city’s rich cultural background.  

current janet echelman columbus
images © Janet Echelman Inc. | photos by Infinite Impact

 

 

‘Current’ by janet echelman reflects columbus’ history

 

Janet Echelman was inspired by the development of Columbus’ downtown and by how it has served as a hub for invention and illumination throughout history. Although electricity has always been a key sector in Columbus, the city was one of the first to embrace gas lighting for its street arches. The installation’s name ‘current’ has two connotations: it can refer to the movement of a river and the electric current that flows through the arches.

 

Visitors then are guided from the city’s historic red-brick buildings to its colorful riverfront park by following Echelman’s hanging sculpture which subtly transitions its color from red to blue. After dark, a stunning nighttime illumination is cast upon the floating tapestry, saturating the red and blue lighting of the nets while retaining its graceful, wondrous, and atmospheric presence.

current janet echelman columbus
‘Current’ by Janet Echelman is made up of 500,000 knots and 78 miles of twine

 

 

‘it’s a place that everyone feels entitled to be present’

 

Echelman dives into the history of the city for her sculpture. ‘I became absorbed in Columbus’ historical narrative and quickly fell in love with the city. The challenge to build such an ambitious permanent interconnected art commission over a municipal street attached to multiple private buildings might have been impossible elsewhere,’ she says.

 

‘I witnessed exceptional cooperation to achieve this public goal and understood firsthand what is nationally referred to as the Columbus Way. I hope that Current captures that idea of interconnectedness and creates a space where people feel a sense of community and sanctuary. And I love that this artwork literally laces into the fabric of the city over the public street, because it’s a place that everyone feels entitled to be present,’ she adds.

 

Current is part of a long-term effort to revitalize the downtown corridor by employing art in the neighborhood, creating an inspiring experience for visitors and residents. Led by development firm Edwards Companies, the goal is to cultivate an artistic hub around Gay and High Streets to complement the growing residential population of the burgeoning cultural district. 

current janet echelman columbus
as of publishing the story, the hanging sculpture is the longest piece of public art in columbus

janet-echelman-current-columbus-designboom-ban

‘Current’ by Janet Echelman in Columbus, Ohio

current janet echelman columbus
twines are more visible in plain sight up close

current janet echelman columbus
the 229-foot-long soft fiber sculpture is suspended above the intersection of Gay and High Streets

current janet echelman columbus
after dark, a stunning nighttime illumination is cast upon the floating tapestry

current janet echelman columbus
the saturated red and blue lighting retains the sculpture’s graceful, wondrous, and atmospheric presence

janet-echelman-current-columbus-designboom-ban2

‘Current’ by Janet Echelman in Columbus, Ohio

 

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project info:

 

name: Current

artist: Janet Echelman

location: Gay and High Streets, Columbus, Ohio

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