International Artist Bosco Sodi Presents Public Sculpture Event in Washington Square Park: A Gift to NYC as COVID-19 Restrictions Lift

Enacted over a single day, “Tabula Rasa” consists of 439 handmade clay spheres containing seeds that will be offered to the public to take away with them in order to plant at home.

Studio Bosco Sodi and Kasmin are pleased to announce Tabula Rasa, a public artwork and performance by international artist Bosco Sodi (b. Mexico City, 1970). Enacted over a single day on May 23, 2021, Tabula Rasa will take place in Washington Square Park, New York, with the installation of 439 small-scale clay spheres, each symbolizing one day of the COVID-19 pandemic’s duration.

On view from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., the artwork will begin a second phase at 1 p.m., when New Yorkers passing through Washington Square Park will be invited to take home a single clay sphere from the installation, a gesture which allows each person to become a part of the performance. At sunset, once each of the works has been claimed by the participating public, the performance will come to a close.

The clay spheres comprising the artwork will be handmade by the artist. Bringing indigenous Mexican agricultural practices to the United States, the spheres are vessels for new life, containing three types of seed—corn, squash, and bean—which sustain and nourish one another, finding an equilibrium that provides balanced sustenance. A potent metaphor for the necessity of cooperation and mutual assistance in times of need, these symbiotic plants encourage reflection on our own interdependence and reliance on both one another and also, crucially, on the natural world we inhabit.

Those who take the spheres home will be able to plant them in soil, activating another phase of the work during which the seeds will germinate and continue on into the cycle of life and death. Loaded with symbolism concerning new beginnings, transformation, and creative possibility, Sodi’s Tabula Rasa is an offering, a gesture that acts to bring together the diverse individuals that make up the city’s community as New York embarks on a second year of uncertainty and disruption.

Continuing Sodi’s engagement in publicly-sited sculpture and representative of his abiding interest in organic processes beyond human control, Tabula Rasa translates from Latin to “clean slate”—an opportunity to start over without prejudice. Sodi’s belief that “Life will always prevail” is fundamental to Tabula Rasa, which is both a public artwork and a performance by the public, timed to coincide with the last frosts of winter as the city emerges into spring.

This is the artist’s second installation in Washington Square Park. Tabula Rasa is envisaged as a second chapter to Muro, a work by Sodi presented in the same location in New York in 2017. For the piece, Sodi invited the public to dismantle an 8-meter-long wall, constructed with 1,600 unique clay timbers that Sodi fired by hand at his studio in Oaxaca, México, with the help of local craftsman. The act of deconstructing this temporary wall, made and installed by Mexicans, rebuked the concurrent moves to limit border crossing into the United States and symbolized the breaking down of barriers between the two countries.

Clay’s ancient resonance and material simplicity appeal to Sodi, whose ongoing dialogue with nature and landscape has been shaped by his interests in Japanese aesthetics and Abstract Expressionism. 

For more information, please contact Molly Taylor at molly@kasmingallery.com or call (212) 563-4474.

www.kasmingallery.com

Source: Studio Bosco Sodi