Harlem Art Park unveiled its latest temporary public art installation, Plastic Fantastic! With a kaleidoscope of color, artist Capucine Bourcart encourages the viewer to evaluate their own environmental footprint. The large-scale installation measures over 66-feet wide and 7-feet high, demonstrating the abundance of single use plastics and its impact on our public spaces and our environment. Plastic Fantastic! interacts with Jorge Luis Rodriguez’s permanent sculpture, Growth, installed in 1985, along with the unique architectural elements that make this park a hidden gem in East Harlem.
Join artist Capucine Bourcart for Opening Reception and Preview, Thursday, July 8, 2021 from 5-7pm at Harlem Art Park ~ CANCELLED due to weather.
Viewers entering the park and facing the photographic assemblage will see the installation in its entirety, a colorful intervention in the space ~ but once viewers get closer, a recognizable ~ and very common subject matter presents itself.
Bourcart has been collecting plastic bags from community residents and neighbors over the past year. The plastic bags were photographed, and printed on 4′ x 8′ sheets of D-Bond, a light weight and durable plastic material. The D-Bond sheets were then cut into small squares 8″ x 8″ and into rectangles 8″ x 4″, 8″ x 2″, and 8″ x 1″ to create a color gradient that is woven into the grid of the ornamental metal fence in Harlem Art Park. The pattern reflects the glass block structure, once a water feature in the park.
Capucine Bourcart: Plastic Fantastic!, 2021, a temporary public art installation will be located in Harlem Art Park from July 9, 2021 to June 26, 2022. Harlem Art Park is located on East 120th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues. The Preview Event will take place on June 8, 2021 from 5:00pm ~ 7:00pm, weather permitting.
Stay Tuned for Dates on Upcoming Programming which will include:
Artist Performance, Capucine Bourcart: The Blanket ~ In the performance, Bourcart will illustrate an ongoing process of knitting on common and iconic white with red lettering “Thank You” plastic bags, which she has done every day since March of 2020.
There is an abundance of plastic bags still visible in our daily lives, hanging from trees, or handed over to us from a delivery person. Does the ban on plastic bags mean that we will actually stop using them? Will the artist stop knitting them and how long will the knitted object be when it is finally completed? It is currently about 20′ long!
The performance underlines how difficult it can be to change habits. By creating an object that resembles a blanket that traditionally offers comfort, the artist reveals her own hesitation and struggle to stop using plastic bags in her daily life. The comfortable relationship to the object obliterates the necessity to rid our society of an object that is more harmful than useful.
Video Presentation, Thank you! Capucine Bourcart in collaboration with videographer, photographer, Salem Krieger & Allicette Torres, post-production.
Workshop ~ Knitting with plastic bags to create reusable objects.
A coinciding exhibition will take place from September 12 to October 10, 2021 at an East Harlem gallery, tba.
Artists Bio ~ Capucine Bourcart was born in Colmar, France in 1975. She immigrated to the U.S. and has called New York, specifically Harlem, her home since 2006. Growing up in Alsace (the Germanic region of Eastern France), she identifies as French, with Vietnamese heritage.
Bourcart’s mixed media assemblages and photo collages employ a wide range of techniques, informed by her own multicultural background and the work of artisans explored through extensive travel. Her practice, although based in photography early on in her career, has expanded beyond the boundaries of the medium and includes the creation of the artist’s own alphabet and the formation of patterns, essentially creating a new language.
Trained in New York at the International Center of Photography, where she was also an Assistant Teacher, the artists interdisciplinary practice is self-taught. Her work has been exhibited in New York, Boston, Colorado, North Carolina, Missouri, France and Switzerland.
In her artist statement, she will say that she is inspired by subtle details that often go unnoticed in the urban landscape and the natural environment. She captures details, textures, colors, and patterns with original images to begin a contemplative process of creating assemblages that re-define the mundane as abstract and fragmented objects of beauty. The work deconstructs the familiar and puts it back together, by stitching, painting, layering or by any means necessary. The original subject is redesigned rather than restored so that the viewer might take notice of the less obvious and recognize the humor in her version of ordinary things.
Yes, you may have seen several of the artists’ outdoor art installations around town. To name a few, Linoug, 2017, photo printed metal tiles, 5’x5″ x 31′ 8″ installed in Thomas Jefferson Park, Uniqlo Park Expressions
Trompe L’oeil, 2016, photo printed metal tiles, 10’x” H x 8’2″ W, Marcus Garvey Park
Eat Me!, 2019, photo printed metal tiles, 3′ H x 13′ W, Installed at Eugene McCabe Field, East Harlem
Nid de Poule, 2018 photo assemblage, fine art paper, various sizes, the exhibition, Pattern Migration, at Living with Art Salon
Dream #4, Sand painted on fabric, 14′ 6″ x 5′ W. Installation view from the Sandman series, where the artist created an alphabet of symbols which are used to transcribe dreams.
Sea & Sand, Sand, fine art photo paper, 22″ H x 17″ W
After the Dust Settles, 2019, Earth, fine art photo paper, 30″ H x 22″ W
Plastic Fantastic! is sponsored by LMCC and the Puffin Foundation, with additional support from Connie Lee, Curator/Organizer, Public Art Initiative / Living with Art Salon / Director, Marcus Garvey Park Alliance and the Friends of Art Park Alliance.
About the curator: Connie Lee is the founder of Art Lives Here, a collaborative arts group that creates opportunities for under-recognized artists and provides access to art in communities that are often excluded by bringing quality art installations, exhibitions and performances to people where they live and work.
Harlem residents know her as an advocate for public space. Lee previously served as President of the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance for more that 6 years. During this time, she developed an initiative to bring quality public art installations to Marcus Garvey park. The initiative quickly spread beyond the borders of the park, encompassing parks and public spaces throughout the neighborhoods of Harlem.