Inclusive Monuments

Native Tongue XR at Storm King

In fading light at Storm King in upstate New York, one of the largest collections of outdoor sculpture in the world, a virtual Native Tongue stands beside Ursula von Rydingsvard’s Luba. Two bookends mapping human progress and geological time – Luba’s rough sawn cedar and cast bronze figure faces the silk-grained alter ego of an ancient kauri text, in extended reality, an Other I. In the wooded parkland, they made bookends also in abstraction – one fluid yet solid and dripping, the other formal and ephemeral, rising up from the ground.

An-other purpose arose from the 2019 staging. On the Storm King map, of 82 artists in the permanent collection including long-term loans, only fifteen artists were women – 18 percent. The transient companion witnessed another type of presence and absence, became a number to be counted, and in the making, momentarily nudged the proportion of womxn artists closer to 20 percent.

Image: Gatfield, Storm Queen 2020
(Ursula von Rydingsvard, Luba and Native Tongue XR - Storm King NY) 
limited edition photograph

Data: Gatfield, 'Inclusive Monuments' NZ Feminist Art Journal Femisphere Vol 4 2021