Icelandic artist Steinunn Þórarinsdóttir has created a new public art installation, Borders, currently on display at the Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza, in New York. The installation features twenty-six androgynous, life-size sculptures, thirteen aluminum and thirteen cast iron, which extend throughout the park from First to Second Avenue on East 47th Street. Borders is the park’s largest exhibition to date and the first exhibition to incorporate the entire park.
Steinunn was commissioned to create the exhibition specifically for the Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza. The exhibition directly responds to the park’s design and infrastructure, as well as the United Nations headquarters locatedat the eastern end of the park. “Dag Hammarskjold Plaza is the gateway to the United Nations and a hub of international activity that serves thousands of people and hosts hundreds of political events each year,” says Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “Borders, will connect many diverse constituencies to new artistic experiences. It will foster conversation and provide a significant backdrop for daily events at this public space.”
Þórarinsdóttir’s figures, standing along the main park corridor and seated on park benches, mirror each other in silent conversation and form unseen borders that visitors are welcome to cross—serving as ambassadors between sculptures. The exhibition addresses humanity and cultural diversity, an exceptionally appropriate theme for one of the most culturally and politically active sites in all of New York City.
Steinunn Þórarinsdóttir (b.1955) studied at the University of Portsmouth Fine Art Department in England and the Accademia di Belle Arte in Bologna, Italy. She has been working professionally for over 30 years and has exhibited widely in Europe, Japan, the United States, and Australia. Her works are in private, public, and corporate collections around the world. She has completed commissions at Leifur Eiríksson International Airport, Iceland, and the two-part memorial Voyage in Hull, England, and Vik, Iceland among others.