Sarah Oppenheimer, C-010106

Sarah Oppenheimer, C-010106, 2022. Aluminum, steel, glass, and architecture. Two forms: 191 x 124 x 34 and 156 x 124 x 34 inches. Commission, Landmarks, The University of Texas at Austin, 2022. Photo by Richard Barnes.

Sarah Oppenheimer's C-010106 will open to the public as soon as the Gary L. Thomas Energy Engineering Building is substantially complete. Although the exact timing is uncertain, a range of programs are planned for September including an online Q&A with Oppenheimer and curatorial contributor Lumi Tan. Please subscribe to our newsletter.

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AUDIO TRANSCRIPT

My name is Lumi Tan. I am Senior Curator at The Kitchen, a non-profit for visual art and performance in New York City. I’d like to provide background on Sarah Oppenheimer’s C-010106, commissioned by Landmarks, the public art program at the University of Texas at Austin.


Based in New York City, the artist Sarah Oppenheimer considers how we behave in architectural spaces and adapt to them. Traditionally, we look at art as objects that hold our gaze, but Oppenheimer’s work gives agency to the viewer instead. The artist’s past exhibitions encouraged visitors to explore social and perceptual dynamics set in motion by surrounding architecture. Visitors to Oppenheimer’s recent exhibitions are often invited to change the position of walls, or guide the path of overhead lighting. They have the ability to control what is seen and unseen.


Oppenheimer’s relationship to mechanical, structural, and behavioral engineering makes C-010106 ideally situated between two buildings at the Cockrell School of Engineering. It is located on the footbridge between the Engineering Education and Research Center and the Energy Engineering Building. Both use floor-to-ceiling glass as a way to showcase students at work and to promote multidisciplinary collaboration.


C-010106 also uses glass as a primary material, but in a different way. At opposite ends of the footbridge, a pair of diagonal reflective glass plates are sandwiched between a pair of clear glass sheets. At the intersection of the four panes, the glass passes through an incision in the bridge surface, making the apparatus visible both to those above the bridge as well as to those below it. The reflective surfaces within the incision create unexpected views—permitting pedestrians on top of the bridge to see the reflections of those underneath, and vice versa.


Typically, the bridge serves as a connector between spaces and people by making travel from one building to another more efficient and direct. Into this transitional space, Oppenheimer invites us to embrace new behaviors such as observation, contemplation, and social exchange. By placing one form on a north/south axis and another on an east/west axis, Oppenheimer creates a “switch” that interrupts the normal flow of traffic and habitual ways of movement. C-010106 encourages these new relationships between people as well as a heightened awareness of the shifting light, sound, and seasons that surround us.

Activity Guides

Sarah Oppenheimer, 

C-010106, 2022.

American, born 1972


New York–based artist Sarah Oppenheimer creates precise forms that alter the built environment and shift our frame of spatial reference. Pushing the boundaries between sculpture and architecture, Oppenheimer questions the limits of both mediums, upending our experience of inside and out, and inverting our sense of what is near and far. By reorienting the spaces we inhabit, the artist sets out to reconfigure the way we see and are seen.


Oppenheimer received an MFA in painting from Yale University, but the artist’s work just as frequently pulls from mechanical, structural, and behavioral engineering. Oppenheimer’s relationship to these fields makes C-010106 ideally situated between two buildings at the Cockrell School of Engineering. Both use floor-to-ceiling glass as a way to showcase students at work and to promote multidisciplinary collaboration. C-010106 also uses glass as a primary material, but in a different way.

 

At opposite ends of the footbridge, a pair of diagonal reflective glass plates are sandwiched between a pair of clear glass sheets. At the intersection of the four panes, the glass passes through an incision in the bridge surface. The reflective surfaces within the incision create a periscope effect with unexpected views—pedestrians on top of the bridge can see the reflections of those underneath, and vice versa.

 

A bridge serves as a connector between spaces and people by making travel from one building to another more efficient and direct. By placing glass forms on the north/south and east/west axes of this bridge, Oppenheimer creates a “switch” that interrupts the normal flow of traffic and habitual ways of movement. This alteration invites us to embrace observation and encourages unexpected social interactions. As a result, C-010106 introduces new relationships between people and heightens awareness of the shifting light, sound, and seasons that surround us.

Sarah Oppenheimer, C-010106, 2022. Aluminum, steel, glass, and architecture. Photo by Richard Barnes.

Location: Peyton Yates Family Bridge at the Gary L. Thomas Energy Engineering Building (GLT)

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