News / 07.16.19

"Rejuvenate and Repeat"

A 20-foot sculpture by Broad artist-in-residence Lucy Kim is on view in the lobby of 415 Main until the spring of 2020.

Rejuvenate and Repeat

"Rejuvenate and Repeat," a 20-foot sculpture by Broad artist-in-residence Lucy Kim, is on loan to the Broad Institute. Broadies and members of the public may view it in the lobby of 415 Main until the spring of 2020. 

The sculpture features a twenty-foot painted sculpture of bird and corn motifs in low relief. The entire piece is made by replicating the flattened casts of three small objects into a repeating pattern: a dead pheasant, a wooden parrot figurine, and an ear of corn. Distortions to the forms, such as stretching, enlarging, and flattening, are performed during the casting process. What results is a monumental “image-form” that appears to have vertical momentum, further amplified by the spray pattern that is painted onto the surface.

"Rejuvenate and Repeat," 2016-17
Lucy Kim (b. 1978 in Seoul, South Korea)
Oil paint, acrylic paint, urethane resin, fiberglass, epoxy, foam, steel hardware

Lucy Kim on "Rejuvenate and Repeat"

The piece came out of questions I had as to how advances in science and technology might affect the way we understand and represent nature. I was particularly interested in the issue of scale, not just in the vastness of things outside the human body, like the universe, but the vastness within our bodies as we understand our biology, and its complexity, at a smaller and smaller scale. I was thinking about how, with advances in genomics and digital technology, the pattern of replication has become the dominant structure in our understanding of the world. The concept that our bodies are made up of copies of cells, and that the images and information we use and store are also copies, is a major cultural shift that is now quite normalized. In thinking along these lines, I wanted to create something that was very large in relation to the human body, but constructed by aggressively repeating a few small, familiar objects. 

The front of the piece is formed by cast clusters of pheasants and parrots. The mold of the clusters was stretched during the casting process to elongate the birds, and arranged so that the contours of the birds form a repeating pattern. The entire back of the piece is covered with casts of corn kernels that have been enlarged five times their original size using an expanding resin, and seamlessly arranged within the contours of the birds. Corn is one of the most genetically engineered crops today using modern technology, but it has been selectively bred by humans for over 10,000 years. 

What amazes me about any advances in art or science is the level of abstraction necessary to get there. Scale shift, fragmentation, repetition — these are processes of abstraction that help us see familiar things anew.