Newest piece of public art to be dedicated

April 14 2008

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - A unique piece of public art on the Indiana State University campus will be formally dedicated during ceremonies beginning at 1 p.m. Friday, April 18 in the atrium area of Stalker Hall.

"3 Elements," is comprised of three steel and neon light sculptures created by Dutch artists Frans and Marja de boer Lichtveld, graduates of Amsterdam’s Institute of Arts and Crafts (Rietveldacademie). The work was made possible by the Percent for Art program established by President Lloyd W. Benjamin III.

The sculptures feature a circle, square and triangle with a yellow neon stick lanced from the heart of the structures affixed to walls in the building’s spacious atrium. The forms are partly covered with plexiglass. Behind the steel cladding a smooth white light gives them a volume, contrasting with the openness of the atrium.

Designing the structure had its challenges, since the artists did not travel to campus to see the building.

“To get an impression, we asked for blueprints and color pictures of Stalker Hall and made a scale model of the atrium,” Marja said. “We’ve never done a public art project like this, not seeing the space in person, but using the scale model we were able to make sketches.”

In sketching the design, the artists wanted to find balance and to respect the architectural space.

“In this case we decided to use the walls and create a visual open center,” Marja said. The artists also took into consideration the different views from each floor of Stalker Hall and the appearance of the work in the evening when the sculpture was illuminated.

“By working with our perfect scale model and the photos of the building it was if we were physically there,” Marja added.

Installation for “3 Elements” is a new experience for the couple, who have worked together since 1970.

“In our projects in the Netherlands, we assist and see them grow during the fabrication. For this project we made the technical drawings and local artist Patrick Titzer will do the installation,” Marja said.

Prior to dedication ceremonies, the de boer Lichtvelds will talk about designing “3 Elements” during an artist’s lecture beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 17 in the Recital Hall of the Center for Performing and Fine Arts, located at the corner of Seventh and Chestnut streets. The lecture is being sponsored by the department of art and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Both the lecture and dedication ceremonies are free and open to the public.

“3 Elements” is de boer Lichtvelds’ second piece of public art in America. Their first American work was a sculpture made of stainless steel, mirrors and plexiglass for the University of Arkansas - Little Rock in 1987.

It was Benjamin who approached the couple in 2005 about designing a piece of art for Stalker Hall, which was undergoing renovation at the time.

“We were excited about the project and took the challenge,” Marja said.

Benjamin became familiar with their work while preparing his exhibition and book of environmental art in the Netherlands.

"I thought their use of geometrical forms, neon illumination, and ability to design a work appropriate to the space made them an exciting choice for this commission,” he said.

“I was also pleased that they could work collaboratively with a local artist to produce the piece. This presented a new level of international collaboration," Benjamin added.

The de boer Lichtvelds live and work in Amstelveen, Netherlands. Since 1964, they have created a body of outdoor and indoor public art sculptures. Their work can be found throughout the Netherlands, including in and around the cities Amsterdam, Haarlem, Rotterdam, Hoevelaken and at The Hague.

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Contact: Melissa Vandenberg, director of University Art Gallery, (812) 237-3787 or mvandenberg@isugw.indstate.edu

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, (812) 237-3783 or pmeyer4@isugw.indstate.edu

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A unique piece of public art on the Indiana State University campus will be formally dedicated during ceremonies beginning at 1 p.m. Friday, April 18 in the atrium area of Stalker Hall.

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