Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Kelpies-Chicago

The 1:10 scale moquettes of The Kelpies, one of which sees its breath on a
crisp October's afternoon  (JWB, 2012)
Every year tens of thousands of parents pack their kids up and transport them to the Field Museum or the Shedd Aquarium   School field trips make sure that thousands and thousands more kids investigate the wonders inside the two huge institutions on the lakefront.

I’m surprised no one has made a fuss about this . . . but let this serve as a warning.  For on the north lawn of the Field Museum, beneath the bluff on which the Shedd Aquarium sits, there are two creatures that have for hundreds and hundreds of years lured little children to take a ride on their backs, only to carry the poor little darlings to a death by drowning.

Scottish sculptor Andy Scott's Kelpies will be here through August 13, 2013 (JWB, 2012)
The Kelpies have come to Chicago.  Keep your distance. 

For over a thousand years, these equestrian monsters have roamed the lochs and waterways of Scotland.  Legend has it that if a person touches the silvery skin of a Kepie, he or she will stick to it and be carried into the nearest river or lake.

Not hard to see why the Kepies have come to Chicago.  There is plenty of water around here.

Notice the human figure at the base of the horse's head--an
approximation of the height of normal human in relation to the
height of the eventual ten-story Kelpies outside of Glasgow (JWB, 2012)
The Kepies on the grassy sward of the Field Museum are actually maquettes, 1:10 scale models that Scottish sculptor Andy Scott designed.  The sculptures on which the models are based will, when finished, reach the height of a ten-story building and sit on a 740-acre park, known as the Helix project, being created around a canal link in Scotland that will connect the Firth of Forth with the Clyde in Glasgow.  You can read about the amazing Helix project here

The Kelpies image up just one  part of a monumental undertaking on the part of Chicago Sculpture International.  Its “Activate Chicago with Sculpture 2012” is made up of four interrelated shows, the longest of which will run through the summer of 2013.

They look innocent enough, but don't get too close . . . (JWB, 2012)
“The Installation Experiment” opened on September 9 and consists of seven installation works in the Chicago Arts District in Pilsen.  The second show, “Form in Flora II,” will conclude on November 3.  It is made up of sculpture that can be found within the Lincoln Park Conservatory Building.  “Six to the Third” is a show that only has a week left.  Located at the Lillstreet Gallery on North Ravenswood, the show is made up of small-scale sculptures no higher than six inches.

The Kelpies are part of the Chicago Parks District-Chicago Sculpture International Outdoor Exhibition that will run through August of 2013.  This show presents 54 large scale public outdoor works that run along the lakefront from Belmont Harbor to the Field Museum and along Stockton Drive from Fullerton Avenue to North Avenue.

The Kelpies, when installed at the Helix Project, will be stainless steel plated and will stand 30 meters tall.  SH Structure has been selected to fabricate the giant heads, which are to be completed by the end of 2013.  Inside one of the horse’s heads will be a “visitor attraction,” designed by Nicoll Russell Studios.  According to the architects, “The visitor experience centers on the ‘mystical legends of the Kelpie’ and a vertical journey of exploration within one of the horse’s heads which culminates at a high level platform where Art and Engineering combine to create a highlight to the visitor experience.’”

The Kelpies, when finished, must necessarily be huge because they will be vying for attention with the world’s largest boat lift, the Falkirk Wheel, itself a sculptural piece of engineering that is a visual stunner. 

Look upon my works, Ye Mighty, and despair . . . (JWB, 2012)
Although Chicago’s Kelpies are less intimidating than the ten-story mythical monsters that will eventually roam the fen outside Glasgow, they are still darned eye-catching.  Just don’t get too close.  The lake is only 200 yards away, and they can have you at the bottom of it before you can get your ChaCha application to tell you what’s going on.


Kristen said...

welcome back!! Cool pics! I love the sculptures and I'm not normally a sculpture fan (especially the torsos a few blocks from the kelpies).

Roy said...

The Kelpies are currently in construction at SH Structures in Yorkshire. The Kelpies will begin installation on the Helix site in January 2013, growing out of the ground in sections.

Here is a link to a movie about the fabrication.!

SANTIAGO said...

Nice images of the Kelpies. Thanks for sharing these.

Unknown said...

Amazing! pics i really like it very much.

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