Several months ago, the first installation by Robin VanLear and Ian Petroni was installed on the Waterloo Tower located at the corner of East 156th Street and Waterloo. Installations on the Waterloo Tower result from a collaboration between Arts Collinwood and Northeast Shores with committee input from neighborhood residents, artists, and merchants.
The following is the artist's statement about this initial installation.
The House at Waterloo is the latest installation in a series The Lighting of Hill House that began in 1991 with an installation/performance at the Montgomery Museum of Art for their annual Flimp Festival. Since then, Hill House installations have been displayed in the 1990’s in Rockefeller Park for the Art Through the Park event, in Wade Oval and in the new sculpture gallery at the Cleveland Museum of Art in conjunction with the annual Winter Lights Lantern Festival.
The iconography of Hill House references several concepts. First perhaps is the most obvious reference to owning one’s own home as the ultimate achievement of the American Dream. Ironically in Hill House, while the house is placed on the proverbial pedestal to reference it’s importance, it has also become reachable by a non-functional ladder. In the earlier Hill Houses, the house itself, which was wrapped in canvas, was quite similar in proportion to a monopoly house and, while it had an entryway, there in fact was no way to get in. Entre to this most recent Hill House (nearly a twin to the Hill House recently ensconced on Wade Oval for the 2010 Lantern Festival) is even more unattainable because the entrance sits 17 feet in the air and the doorway itself is designed for a child. Neither could the open mesh structure of the walls, floor and roof support an adult weight.
While the original Hill Houses were also lit from within, because of their opaque canvas surface they glowed functioning as an orb of light, almost like the moon come to earth. These two latest Hill Houses are more akin to lighthouse beacons. Because of the way the expanded steel walls fragment the light, at times it is only slightly visible and at other times it shines strongly. This time too, the interior light source is also an important part of the concept. Fabricated of copper tubing and mesh by Ian Petroni, it appears to be growing within the house interior suspended in mid air as some sort of urban bromeliad.
The materials of these two latest Hill Houses are specific too to a rust belt city such as Cleveland, where the weathering of metal surfaces is a frequent inspiration to artists. In this instance, the house exterior began as a sort of soft grey color and the lamp was a brilliant copper. As the installation engages with our weather, the house and its support structure will turn a deep orange and the lamp will began to take on a lovely blue green patina.
The Hill House series is conceived and designed by Robin VanLear. Mike Moritz fabricated the House. Ian Petroni created the lamp.
This initial installation is the first of what we hope is a series of interesting, conversation-starters for the neighborhood and our visitors. Future installations are not yet set and you too can participate in a future Waterloo Tower Installation. If you are interested in proposing an installation for the Waterloo Tower (or you just have an idea of how the Waterloo Tower might be used that could seed future artists' imaginations), please e-mail your proposal to Amy Callahan at Arts Collinwood (email@example.com).