Potential Architecture - Gazing Ball
Materials: Steel, marble, bronze
Dimensions: 503 (h) x 250 cm
Exhibition history: 2018 Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK; Folly!, Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal, North Yorkshire, UK
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta. Photos: Chris Lacey and Jonty Wilde
"Gazing Ball" was commissioned for Folly! 2018 Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, a World Heritage Site and one of the National Trust’s most prestigious and well visited locations.
For Folly! 2018, Lucy + Jorge Orta have re-imagined one of the former architectural follies, located by the Banqueting House where the Rotunda, a classical Ionic temple once stood. Their contemporary interpretation of the eighteenth-century folly draws from their body of work Totipotent Architecture, to bring new potential and function to lost architecture.
The artists have purposely broken with the traditional neo-classical hexagonal form to create a sculpture in ‘oppositional tension’, a feature of the Studley landscape design. They have imagined a pentagonal structure with a trompe l’oeil colonnade; the classic dome roof has been replaced by a rotating-axis tower onto which a gazing ball delicately balances.
This huge mirror sphere is designed to reflect and distort the surrounding water gardens, whilst the geometrical shaped windows act as framing devices from which visitors are offered multiple perspectives over the Moon pond, to a surprise view of the gothic Octagon Tower. "Gazing Ball" is meant to remind us of the playful and multi-functional purpose of follies and propose new interpretations of the landscape.