Aaron Stephan recreates iconic twentieth-century sculptures in the everyday materials of deCordova’s architecture and facilities. Stephan uses the Sculpture Park’s railings and trash barrels to recontextualize modern sculptural masterpieces into the reality of a working sculpture park. In doing so, the installation explores how these abstract forms, embodying utopian ideals that have informed the history of contemporary sculpture, can live within their environment rather than outside of it.
The three-part installation begins on the Rappaport Rooftop Terrace with Monument on a Museum, a tongue-in-cheek recreation of Russian artist and architect Vladimir Tatlin’s Constructivist model, Tatlin’s Tower, for the Monument to the Third International (1919-20). Never built, the structure embodied the ideals of Soviet Socialism—the power of the common man within a new, modern world—through an avant-garde design of a twin helix tower made of glass, steel, and iron. Here, Stephan translates this humanistic optimism into handrails and wood, as if it sprouted from the Museum rooftop.