This series of sculptures is made in response to the history of Humboldt Park, but also makes reference deep into the earth itself. Much of the State of Illinois is drawn over a bedrock of limestone. It is the choice material for these pieces due to its qualities of being naturally-occurring, locally-available as well as a significant feature in the work of Jens Jensen.
The artists are specifically interested in the use of geological materials that tether place to history. In the case of Illinois and specifically Chicago, limestone is a ubiquitous material used in architecture largely because of its local availability and durability. Limestone functions as the distillation over time of a world unto itself, living, dying, stacking, decomposing, forming and solidifying into bedrock. Limestone is formed through the compression of layers of minerals and organic material (largely oysters, mollusks and coral) over time.
The pieces also use copper, which, when exposed to natural elements changes color and actively stains material that it is in contact with—so, the limestone’s porous nature makes visible the passing of time and the changing of material.
The Humboldt Park Formal Garden was designed by landscape architect Jens Jensen (1860-1951) in 1908. Jensen was one of America’s most influential landscape architects, best known for his role in developing the Prairie Style of Landscape design. The garden was conceived of as a space for members of the Humboldt Park community to gather and enjoy the outdoors.
In 2015, the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Parks Foundation, and a group of neighbors that have become the Jens Jensen Formal Garden Working group came together to revitalize and restore the garden. As part of these revitalization efforts, the Chicago Park District, in partnership with Fieldwork and the Jensen Formal Garden Working Group, has selected four Chicago artists to create site-specific, temporary public art installations for the garden. The final installations are visually and conceptually linked to the history and design of the garden and to the work of Jens Jensen.