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Art

#fiber art#Janet Echelman#public art#textiles

78 Miles of Multicolored Twine Flows Through Downtown Columbus in Janet Echelman’s ‘Current’

June 5, 2023

Kate Mothes

A large-scale fiber sculpture above a Columbus intersection.

“Current.” All photos by Infinite Impact, © Janet Echelman, shared with permission

Extending nearly 230 feet from end to end, the billowing panels of Janet Echelman’s newest installation capture the sun as it wafts above an intersection in downtown Columbus, Ohio. The first of the sculptor’s works (previously) to be installed over a street, “Current” is composed of 78 miles of blue and red twine tied into more than half a million knots. Alluding to currents of electricity—central to the city’s industrial heritage along the Scioto River—and the currents of the river itself, the artwork visualizes the flow of energy and nods to the area’s iconic illuminated arches, which were among the first to adopt gas lighting in the early 19th century.

Using the surrounding buildings as both literal and figurative anchors, Echelman expresses her fascination with how Columbus has evolved over time. The red fiber references the bricks of early buildings, and the blue suggests the color of water. In a statement about the project, the artist shares that she hopes the work “captures that idea of interconnectedness and creates a space where people feel a sense of community and sanctuary.” The municipal setting for the work is also significant, tying together privately-owned spaces with public thoroughfares. “I love that this artwork literally laces into the fabric of the city over the public street because it’s a place that everyone feels entitled to be present,” she says.

If you’re in Columbus, join the community celebration of the artwork at the intersection of Gay and High streets on June 9. You can also explore an archive of the artist’s work on her website.

A large-scale fiber sculpture above a Columbus intersection.

A large-scale fiber sculpture above a Columbus intersection.

A large-scale fiber sculpture above a Columbus intersection.A large-scale fiber sculpture above a Columbus intersection.

A large-scale fiber sculpture above a Columbus intersection.

A large-scale fiber sculpture above a Columbus intersection.A large-scale fiber sculpture above a Columbus intersection.

A large-scale fiber sculpture above a Columbus intersection.

#fiber art#Janet Echelman#public art#textiles

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