Tayo Heuser's sculptural installation is created in response to Mark Rothko's paintings in the Rothko Room (2nd floor) and with the architecture of the stairwell in mind. It engages the properties of the site in a way that resonates with the light and quietude of the paintings. Heuser aims to capture the luminosity and inner force of Rothko's surfaces- a mixture of joy and tragedy, delight and sorrow, silence and vigor- and translate them into three-dimensions.
Suggesting breathing, as an elemental biological function and a sign of life,
also suggests a frame of mind, or a state of being in perpetual becoming. The title recalls Rothko's own notion of "breathingness," a term he coined to describe the plasticity, expansion, and depth behind his color-field planes. To render the implied depth of Rothko's painting in three-dimensions, Heuser has produced paper forms of slightly different shapes and sizes that follow the spiral flow of the stairway. Seemingly buoyant, they evoke inhaling and exhaling, or, as Rothko would say, breathingness.
Work created at Dieu Donne papermill in NYC for "Pulse" installation at the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C.