San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
Be first to view Project Atrium: Caroline Lathan-Stiefel and enjoy hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, music, and mingling.
Since 2000, Caroline Lathan-Stiefel’s installation work has focused on rhizomatic structures. Previous room-sized pieces have been inspired by marine and plant biology, as well as architectural and urban models. For Project Atrium, she will create an installation based on the rhizomatic networks of the brain. Entitled Wider Than the Sky, this sculptural work will be made of an array of textile materials: pipe cleaners, wire, thread, yarn, string, fabric, straight pins, plastic, and fishing weights. The site-specific piece will transform the microscopic elements of the brain into a monumental floor-to-ceiling installation.
After her father suffered an episode of encephalitis in 2012, which caused mainly temporary damage to the speech and language area of his brain, she began to think about how the circuitry of the brain can be scarred and damaged and then “regrow” itself, like a plant. She was also inspired by Emily Dickinson’s poem “Wider Than the Sky,” which addresses the brain’s capability to contain immeasurable vastness and creativity.
For the museum visitor, Wider Than the Sky will provide a view through multiple layers of textile forms referring to dendrites and axons, like looking through monumental, intricately-woven curtains. Small, abstracted textural objects referring to the detritus of daily life (cups, potted plants, keys, cellphones, etc.) and textile “words,” will be woven into these layered panels as well. The floor-to-ceiling sculptural textile piece will take full advantage of the Atrium’s height allowing visitors to intimately experience the piece from each floor of the museum (where sets of opera glasses will be placed for viewers’ use.) Wider Than the Sky will be an exploration of both the science and the experience of the brain—a kind of mapping of the neurological landscape, with all its fissures, colors, sparks, germinations, stoppages, and flowing circuits.
Caroline Lathan-Stiefel: Hinterland (detail), 2010. Pipe cleaners, fabric, plastic, pins, yarn, thread, lead weights, electrical boxes, styrafoam balls, juice jugs, car speakers. Dimensions variable. Images courtesy of Caroline Lathan-Stiefel and Diana Lowenstein Fine Art Gallery, Miami.