Landmarks Announces New Commission by Artist Jennifer Steinkamp
Large-scale video installation to explore concept of Symbiosis
AUSTIN, Texas Landmarks, the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin, announced today a new work by Los Angeles-based artist Jennifer Steinkamp. Titled Eon, the 30 x 9 foot video installation was commissioned by Landmarks for the newly renovated Welch Hall, an historic university building that is UT’s largest academic facility and part of the College of Natural Sciences. The project will open September 10 and will be celebrated with online programs that include a live-streamed Q & A with the artist and curatorial contributor Rudolf Frieling. The work may be viewed through Welch Hall’s glass façade on Speedway until the building reopens.
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’ largest building, Eon nods to the research that takes place within Welch Hall, encompassing different areas of biology, chemistry, biophysics and statistics and data sciences. The installation will be visible through the building’s glass façade on Speedway, the university’s main pedestrian thoroughfare, and is sure to become an iconic destination on campus and in the community.
“Jennifer Steinkamp is singular in her ability to harness technology,” said Andrée Bober, founder and director of Landmarks. “She’s a master of digital media and her installations make us think about our relationship to nature in entrancing ways.”
Steinkamp’s project marks the 45th work to enter Landmarks’ collection and is the fourth video 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 live-streamed Q & A with Steinkamp, Landmarks director Andrée Bober, College of Natural Sciences Dean Paul M. Goldbart, and curatorial contributor Rudolf Frieling, Curator of Media Arts at SF MOMA. 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. Visit www.landmarksut.org for complete details.
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.
ABOUT JENNIFER STEINKAMP
Jennifer Steinkamp (USA, b. 1958, in Denver, Colorado) is an artist known for her video and new media installations that explore architectural space, motion, and perception. Steinkamp has held solo exhibitions at Stanford University, Stanford (2020); Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong (2019); Talley Dunn, Dallas (2019); Espacio Fundación Telefónica, Madrid (2018); Fosun Foundation, Shanghai (2017); Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (2016), among others. She received the B-I-G Award from The Liberta Awards! In 2017, the William Penn Foundation fellowship in 2017, and Public Art Network’s Year in Review award in 2014. Her public art is included in the collections of the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach; McNay Art Museum, San Antonio; Brunnier Art Museum, Ames; Health Sciences at The University of Arizona, Tucson amongst others. Steinkamp currently resides and works in Los Angeles, California.
Landmarks is the award-winning public art program of The University of Texas at Austin. Its collection of modern and contemporary art celebrates diverse perspectives, featuring commissioned projects alongside sculptures on long-term loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. By making great art free and accessible to all, Landmarks inspires thought and growth. For more information visit: landmarksut.org.
ABOUT THE COLLEGE OF NATURAL SCIENCES
The College of Natural Sciences is one of the largest colleges of science in the United States, with a community of more than 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 700 tenure and non-tenure track faculty members, and 1,200 staff. The college is committed to providing its students a world-class, research-based science education, to discovering important new knowledge through research, and to creating an environment that fosters the economic and technological development of Texas and the U.S.