On a formal level, “Ghost Writer” can be seen as a three-dimensional Pointillist structure. Conceptually, the artwork is a “portrait” of imagination and learning, a metaphor for the creative process.
Over 3,000 varied cast metal forms are precisely located on 900 descending cables. Each element is a sculpture in itself; en masse they articulate a large head within an abstract spiral form.
The library’s spiral stairway surrounds the sculpture, and offers varied and dynamic viewpoints which Ghost Writerexploits. An unusual degree of visual intimacy is available throughout.
A cornucopia near the top empties fruit and vegetable forms 36 feet into a companion cornucopia near the base. A Muybridgean sequence of leaping cats stretches across the composition. Different zones depict the history of sculpture, a catalog of tools used in the creation of the artwork, and diverse references to world cultures. Near the base a plane of concentric ovals maps the solar system and acts as an anti-tangle grid.
Anchoring the composition is a portrait head based on a computer synthesis of world racial types. Comprised of 1,500 silver letters, some of them align to spell out words apparent only to the obsessive viewer or preternaturally gifted puzzler.
Ghost Writer is a collaboration with Stu Schechter.
architect: Joseph Powell & Associates, Philadelphia, PA
project team: Chris Taylor, Denise Ting, Chris Nardone, Peter Andruchow, Phil Chapnick
commissioned by the Evanston Arts Council