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South Ferry

Doug & Mike Starn

See it split, see it change, 2008

Glass, stone mosaic, and stainless steel on mezzanine walls

The new monumental work at the South Ferry Terminal by Mike and Doug Starn investigates the nature of objects and transformation using light and documentary sources. A fused glass wall reveals images of tree limbs and leaves in silhouette adapted from photographic imagery. These formations relate to the place above, Battery Park, the historic fortress and Manhattan's southern boundary. The glass brings light and poetry to the station, the City's first new subway station in decades.

Companion pieces show a decayed over-scaled leaf that refers to the passage of time and links the park to its historical role. A map, that shows contemporary Manhattan and old New York as an overlay, is a beautiful mosaic and eloquent expression of the city's evolution, conveying to the throngs who use the station, a sense of its significant location. The artists designed a laser-cut stainless steel fence to separate the entry from the paid section of the station; its leaf motif connects the art in the station with the surrounding environment.

The Starns' work combines various forms, such as sculpture, painting, video, and installation. Their work has been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide for more than two decades. In South Ferry, their explorations of light and dark, nature and technology, come together in an evocative artwork. Its title refers, among other associations, to the South Ferry subway line, which becomes a network of splitting lines that travels through the changing landscape as seen in the map. As the artwork reveals, the City and its lifelines evolve in an organic form, as dropping leaves lead to new growth, the City keeps growing - and changing.

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