The Leap, 2013

Grounds For Sculpture Museum Building
Trenton, NJ

Photographic Duraclears individually cut to the size of each window and adhered to the glass with tape and caulk.
20 Photographic Duraclear heat-fused to 20”x.25”x20” acrylic sheet supported by burnished aluminum stanchions 46” high
Site photography by Cathy Carver

The process of creating The Leap began when artist Jo Yarrington became fascinated by the history of the Grounds For Sculpture site, which for over one hundred years witnessed the lively action of the New Jersey State Fair. Yarrington was further intrigued by the story of the museum building and wove it into her concept. To create the images embedded in the windows, she combined photographs from the Trenton Library archives with photographs of the Museum’s renovation.

The image of the man who long ago dove into empty space for the entertainment of fair-goers can be seen as a ghostly presence in the upper left of the north wall windows. Overlaid on this image is a photograph taken during the renovation of the same wall. The floor-length eastern windows contain images of the fair’s trapeze artists confidently flying through space. Juxtaposed to these thrilling performers is the photograph of a workman clinging to a tall pole high above the ground, attaching to it the large yellow windsock that dances on the museum roof.

The renovated Museum building was opened to the public in May, 1993, exactly 20 years from the May, 2013 opening of The Leap. This occasion is signified by the 20 stanchions arranged throughout the center of the gallery on top of which are images Yarrington photographed from train windows as she traveled between New York and New Jersey. They act as signposts, drawing viewers through the space and interrupting or redirecting their flow, like the experience of train travel itself. These images refer to the physical and psychological pilgrimage made by the artist during the process of creating this major new work.

As the sun arcs across the sky, the ever moving inward spill of light ignites and projects the historic images onto the interior while simultaneously revealing the present state of reality outside. Caught in the hypnotic interplay of images and light, the viewer becomes a participant in this performance, as specifics of time and space fold into one another and boundaries seem to dissolve. The gallery is transformed into a place of wonder in which a new dimension is defined, hovering tenuously between interior and exterior, past and present, real and imagined. The experience evokes awareness that, like everything else, this place is perpetually transforming. Like the installation itself, every state of being is ephemeral.

-Virginia Oberlin-Steel (abridged)

Senior Curator
Grounds for Sculpture