CREATURE CREATIONS: NCL ANNOUNCES PUBLIC ART PROGRAM
Like architecture, public art installations can become an iconic symbol of a city’s character, and in doing so they can incite pride among locals and interest from visitors. Public art is a communal activity that can stimulate thought and conversation. Public art, and outdoor sculpture in particular, has the power to transform our parks, our plazas, our neighbourhoods.
The search for an artist whose work would add to the dynamic New Central Library began in 2014. “More than 200 artists and artist teams from all over the world responded to the Request for Qualifications—an emphatic testament to the significance of the opportunity,” says Susan Veres, CMLC Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Development. Over the course of 18 months, the selection process narrowed the list down to 35 submissions. Then a volunteer art committee selected finalists with impressive national/international careers, artists who work in a variety of media and have experience with public art projects. To ensure a thorough understanding of the NCL vision, site and building design, the finalists went through a detailed orientation with members of the NCL project team, representatives from Calgary Public Library, a local historian, and the design team. Each artist then developed and presented concepts to the volunteer art committee. The winner was Christian Moeller for his proposal to create an iconic outdoor three-piece sculpture suite and an interior installation made of canvas covered books. “His colourful, captivating concepts bring a playfulness to the library experience—a delightful sense of arrival and wonder for all visitors to enjoy, especially children,” says Veres.
Christian Moeller’s works will reinforce the identity of the New Central Library by bringing a captivating and whimsical experience. His outdoor sculpture, called TRIO, is reminiscent of a cross between a hockey player and a drinking bird. It’s represented by three tall, mildly anthropomorphic figures or “sisters” engaged in an endless back and forth motion. Grouped as a couple, two of the sisters will be located on the west side of the library, while the third will stand on the east side. Rocking their tall upper bodies like upside-down pendulums swinging through the open sky, the sisters will perform an endless visual choreography.
The artist’s carefully framed portrait of a goldfish will transform an enormous bookshelf into an aquarium. Entitled FISH, Moeller’s piece is made of 11,000 books in 12 different colours. Step up close and it looks like an abstract composition of colourful barcode. But from a distance, the coloured spines of the books materialize into a beautiful image: a close-up of a fish’s face endlessly watching the library’s visitors—a silent and friendly companion during hours of contemplation.