New Commission by Artist Jennifer Steinkamp

23 July 2020

On September 10, Landmarks will unveil its newest commission, a 30 x 9 foot digital installation by Los Angeles-based artist Jennifer Steinkamp. Titled Eon, the work will be sited in the newly renovated Welch Hall, UT’s largest academic facility and part of the College of Natural Sciences. The project will be celebrated on September 10 with a live-streamed Q & A with Steinkamp and curatorial contributor Rudolf Frieling of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The work may be viewed through Welch Hall’s façade on Speedway until the building re-opens.

Along with Bill Viola, Martha Rosler and Nam June Paik, Steinkamp is widely credited as a pioneering digital artist. She creates computer-generated environments that explore architecture, nature, and the passage of time. Her immersive installations transform the spaces in which they are sited into hyperreal, simulated natural worlds that blur the line between biological and virtual.

Extending the artist’s interest in biology, Eon takes its inspiration from the concept of symbiosis. Recognized by scientists as a key component of evolution, symbiosis explains the mutual cooperation of unlike organisms—i.e. flowers and the insects and animals that pollinate them, or friendly bacteria inside the human microbiome—as critical to the survival of diverse species. In Steinkamp’s installation, biomorphic shapes undulate across the screen, punctuating an aqueous backdrop with bursts of pink, yellow, and multicolored fragments. The work builds on other of the artists’ projects inspired by the natural world, including Eye Catching, an installation of digital trees for the 2003 Istanbul Biennale and Madame Curie, the focus of her 2011 exhibition for the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.

A fitting work of art for the College of Natural Sciences, Eon nods to the research that takes place within Welch Hall, encompassing different areas of biology, chemistry, biophysics and statistics and data sciences. Visible through the building’s glass façade on Speedway, the installation is sure to become an iconic destination on campus and in the community.

Steinkamp’s project marks the 45th work to enter Landmarks’ collection and is the fourth digital installation, joining those by James Turrell, Casey Reas, and Ben Rubin. The project furthers Landmarks’ commitment to showcasing wide-ranging media by a diverse mix of artists.

In light of COVID 19, Landmarks will host a virtual opening for the project on September 10 at 4:30 PM CST, with a livestreamed Q & A with Steinkamp, Landmarks director Andrée Bober, College of Natural Sciences Dean Paul M. Goldbart, and Rudolf Frieling. Other online resources will include an audio guide, essay by Frieling, a virtual tour of the installation, as well as activity guides for children and adults.

The project is sponsored in part by National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). To find out more about how NEA grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.

Photo courtesy of Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, and Greengrassi, London.

 

Photo courtesy of Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, and Greengrassi, London.