In the center of New York, in a prestigious area, the exhibition complex Dia Art Foundation is located. In one of the vast halls, with an area of 335 square meters, since 1977, a unique sculpture has been demonstrated – the “Earth Room”. We talk about the non-trivial work of the minimalist sculptor Walter de Maria on feiky.net.
The Earth Room is one of the five most famous works of the land art pioneer. Just imagine what impression this monochrome space makes on the viewer – the walls are painted white, and inside the room the floor is half a meter covered with blackening earth.
It would seem that what could be more awkward for the layman than a whole floor of an expensive living space, covered with 127,300 kilograms of black soil? However, this art installation is very popular and to this day attracts crowds of visitors who want to join the conceptual art. Moreover, this sculpture is the third in a row.
For the first time the author presented it in 1968 in Munich, and the second, six years later, was installed in the exhibition hall of Darmstadt. Both German versions of the “Earth Room” have not survived.
As for the exhibition in New York, the concept of the work requires keeping the earth layer moist, which is how the earth exudes a characteristic smell. One of the most influential critics in the art world, a Pulitzer Prize winner and columnist for The New York Times, the oldest weekly magazine, called de Maria’s installation the most touching piece of art ever seen.
He wrote that he experienced an indescribable uplift of feelings, from how dead and at the same time alive sculpture can be. The smell of the earth and the expanse of the exhibition made him feel like a child, allowing him to feel the same emotions that filled him when he took a shortcut to school through quiet courtyards.
Walter de Maria did not like publicity and in every possible way avoided excessive communication with the press and colleagues. One of his most interesting installations was an old black telephone in the middle of an empty exhibition hall. From time to time, the apparatus would overflow with a trill, any of the visitors could pick up the phone to answer the sculptor and chat with him for several minutes.
De Maria was a representative of the Fluxus avant-garde movement, whose goal was to blur the boundaries between art and real life, to excite the viewer’s imagination and teach to see beauty in the most ordinary things, in the present moment.