• NEW YORK, New York
  • /
  • October 22, 2015

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Enlightened Universe, Cristobal Gabarrón, 2015 awlgrip paint on stainless steel, stainless steel with faceted mirror finish, 20 feet 10 inches by 13 feet 16 inches

Renowned Spanish artist Cristobal Gabarrón has created Enlightened Universe, an art installation to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. The installation will be unveiled by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at Central Park’s Rumsey Playing Field (Entrance on East 72nd street and Fifth Avenue) in New York City on Saturday, October 24 at 4.30 PM EST. Enlightened Universe will be on view until Nov. 15, 2015. The Secretary-General will make opening remarks and will be joined by UN officials, staff, diplomats, city officials, and global citizens.  

“I am grateful our Member States are showing such strong enthusiasm in marking 70 years of UN support for peace, development and human rights,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.  

Enlightened Universe is an interactive installation with a sphere that is surrounded by a spiral of 70 figures, one for each year that the UN has been in existence. The sphere symbolizes perfection and is a tribute to Mother Earth. It is a repository of life, representing eternal motion and a connected world. The figures around the sphere join hands to represent solidarity, honoring the values that the UN’s stands for—freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature, education, culture—values that are necessary for all living things to coexist on Earth.   The sphere and spiral are made from stainless steel and together weigh 24 tons.

The sphere, which features a faceted mirror finish, measures 6371 millimeters in diameter, a scaled down model of the Earth, which measures 6371 kilometers in radius. The figures are life-size, measuring up 6 feet in height, and represent all ages, genders, cultures and ethnicities. The spiral passageway formed by the figures leads to the “sphere of light.” The installation is interactive; visitors may walk through this passageway, posing with the figures and holding hands with the chain, until they get to the sphere in the center where they can see images that highlight the achievements and values of the UN.  

About Cristobal Gabarrón (b. 1945)  
Born in Mula (Murcia), Spain, Cristobal Gabarrón received his early artistic training in Valladolid before pursuing his career in France and Italy. Currently residing in Spain and the United States, Gabarrón centers his work on the idea of individual human life, and the coexistence and development of human values. Throughout his 50-year career, cities around the world have commissioned noteworthy projects like The Olympic Mural for the Barcelona Olympic Games (1992), the Encounter Mural for the Universal Exhibition of Seville (1992), the sculptural project Atlanta Start (1996), and the Official Poster for the Millennium Summit and the Millennium Chapel (2000-2001). Prominent cultural institutions like the Chelsea Art Museum, the IVAM (Valencia Institute of Modern Art), the Museum of Modern Art in Gdansk, Poland, and the Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Center in Spain have held retrospective exhibitions of Gabarrón’s work. Recently, the China Art Museum of Shanghai held the artist’s first solo exhibition in the country. He is currently exhibiting his work at the Today Art Museum of Beijing and the Guangdong Museum of Art. 

Dan Schwartz
Susan Grant Lewin Associates

Volta NY
Pier 90
New York, New York

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