Fata Morgana, a major public art installation created by renowned artist Teresita Fernandez, will be on display in New York’s Madison Square Park from April 30, 2015 to January 10, 2016. The installation is a 500-foot long sculpture in six pieces made from gold, mirror-polished discs that are installed horizontally above the heads of park visitors to create a canopy. The exhibit will run long enough for visitors to experience it in all four seasons.
The display was organized by Mad. Sq. Art, a free contemporary art program run by the Madison Square Park Conservancy. Mad. Sq. Art offers an opportunity for artists to explore new ways of expressing themselves outside the confines of a traditional gallery space.
Fata Morgana will be the largest outdoor sculpture ever displayed at the park. It is the first project sponsored by Mad. Sq. Art that uses the space above park visitors.
A Fata Morgana is a natural phenomenon in which a horizontal mirage forms across the horizon line. The canopy includes pieces cut with intricate patterns that resemble foliage. As sunlight filters through the canopy, it will create abstract flickering effects for passersby who are walking on the paths beneath it. The display is meant to engage park visitors in a dynamic experience by creating a luminous experiential passage.
Fernandez is well known for her prominent public sculptures. The New York-based artist uses materials in unconventional ways and is interested in perception and the psychology of looking. Her large-scale works are inspired by landscapes, natural phenomena, and historical and cultural references.
With Fata Morgana, Fernandez wanted to counter the traditional idea of outdoor sculpture. Instead of placing a sculpture in the center of the park, she decided to create a horizontal display that would hang over the heads of park-goers.
The 6.2-acre Madison Square Park draws over 50,000 visitors per day.