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Indianapolis Museum Commissions Ball-Nogues for Pavilion Installation
Orly Genger is one of the artists who have previously exhibited in the space. Photo: Courtesy the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN.- The Indianapolis Museum of Art today announced that Los Angeles-based Ball-Nogues Studio will create a site-specific, architectural installation as part of the IMA’s Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion series. Ball-Nogues Studio’s installation will be on view in the IMA’s main entrance from September 3, 2010 to March 6, 2011.

Bridging the disciplines of art, architecture and design, Ball-Nogues Studio is an integrated design and fabrication practice lead by Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues. The studio will create an immersive installation titled Ball-Nogues Studio: Gravity’s Loom that explores the space and structure of the Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion. Gravity’s Loom, part of the artists’ Suspensions series, will be composed of an array of vibrantly colored hanging strings that span the entire pavilion and generate the appearance of a softly spiraling gossamer surface. This surface will twist, contort, and spiral downward through the atrium, transforming the architectural space and re-choreographing the flow of visitors to encourage new interactions with the museum. Each string in the installation will hang from two points on the oval perimeter of the Pavilion, forming curves that respond to the distinctive features of the IMA building.

In developing Gravity’s Loom, Ball-Nogues has allowed the properties and limitations of a given material—in this case, string—guide their work. When the array of strings is hung in the Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion, it will take the shape of an inverted dome through which a patterned color composition will be revealed that represents the artists and designers’ take on Baroque embellishment. Ball and Nogues understand the oval shape of the IMA’s Pavilion to be analogous to the dome of classical Baroque architecture, which historically incorporated surface decoration to blur the distinction between what is architectural, sculptural, and pictorial. The strings of Gravity’s Loom will be painted to represent the imagined plan for a traditional Baroque ceiling pattern—a three dimensional volume that will blur into billows of color and then snap into a focused geometry, depending on the viewer’s vantage point.

“Ball-Nogues’ installation will dramatically re-imagine the Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion,” said Sarah Urist Green, associate curator of contemporary art. “Their singular approach— integrating concept, design, and fabrication—will yield an unforgettable and all-encompassing environment that intricately relates to the space as a thoroughfare and site for assembly and interaction.”

Ball-Nogues likens their method of fabrication to a 21st century application of Ikat, an Indonesian term for the ancient textile process of resist dye. A labor intensive method, Ikat involves the application of vibrant colors to precise locations on individual yarns that, when woven, form a blurry edged pattern. Similarly, Ball-Nogues will color the strings individually in precise locations by using four computer-controlled airbrushes that are part of a programmable machine of their own design. Called the Instal-lator 1 with the Variable Information Atomizing Module, the machine will paint over 30 miles of string and cut it to prescribed lengths determined by an integrated software system. The shape of the thousands of hanging strings will be computed with a mathematical formula; however, the piece will be installed at the museum by human hands. Ball- Nogues’ installation will be a remarkable convergence of digital computation, machine fabrication, and hand craft.

“The series title Suspensions refers to the act of disengaging from preconceived notions and intellectual interpretations, if only for a few moments, to apprehend the work with untethered expectation,” said Ball-Nogues. “In the installation at the IMA, there is an intentional duality at play—at one moment the implied surface frames views of the building and then at another obscures it, creating a clouded perspective of the building beyond.”

Ball-Nogues Studio’s sculpture is part of the Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion installation series launched in February 2007 and made possible by a $2.5 million grant from the Indianapolis-based Efroymson Fund. The works are installed on a rotating basis with a new commission from a different artist approximately every six months. Artists who have previously exhibited in the space include Tony Feher, Orly Genger and Julianne Swartz, among others.

Indianapolis Museum | Ball-Nogues Studio | Sarah Urist Green | The Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion |

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