Permanent Installation of Dennis Oppenheim’s “Pathways to Everywhere” in Calgary, Canada

City of Calgary Public Art Program

March 12, 2010

Permanent Installation of
Dennis Oppenheim’s
“Pathways to Everywhere”
in Calgary, Canada

Dennis Oppenheim

The City of Calgary Public Art Program

Jamieson Place (Calgary)

“Pathways to Everywhere,” commissioned by The City of Calgary Public Art Program for the Jamieson Place building, continues Dennis Oppenheim’s work in the Public Art- Architecture context that he has engaged during the past fifteen years.

The large scale indoor-outdoor sculpture penetrates the building’s glass facade then occupies a major portion of the airspace in the lobby of the new, thirty eight story building devoted primarily to oil exploration in Canada.

The central forms of the work are pathways or corridors, configured in figure eight’s, or as in a mobius strip. Punctuating these corridors are motorized revolving doors which angle inward like a blade or drill bit does. Walls are acrylic with a sandblasted brick pattern that increases in density as the work continues from above the escalator toward the front facade, resulting in a brick pattern which completely covers the translucent sheet material.

An unfinished structure slowly traveling toward completion parallels the artists conceptual focus on the development of a sculptural idea. Since his earliest conceptual work, Oppenheim has incorporated the thought processes which take place ahead of the making, into the work itself.

The torqued passageways of “Pathways to Everywhere” shift and loop within upper and lower levels like geological strata, paralleling the work of the mining industry which takes place in the Jamieson building. This site specific characteristic has been important for Oppenheim since his Land Art of the sixties, such as Annual Rings. This work, located on the boundary line between USA and Canada, depicts annual tree rings cut and plowed into the ice at the boundary line where the US is one hour ahead of Canada. Annual Rings defines site specificity as it could not occur anywhere other than the boundary line site.

Oppenheim continues this close relationship to the site, in his public art projects- often penetrating the mystique of a place and establishing in the work itself, deeply routed content from the site. In Light Chamber, scheduled for a June installation adjacent to the new Justice Center in Denver, a monumental complex of curved walls based on an unfolding series of flower petals, forms an enclosure Oppenheim likens to a judge’s chamber. In Light Chamber, however, rather than the dark somber environment normally associated with a room for the judge, the work opens up to the sky with sixty foot high vaulted translucent walls. This architectural complex is meant to address the courtroom’s judicial members and will bestow upon all viewers sensations of uplift and transcendence.

The Public Art Program is operated by City of Calgary Public Art Program staff with partners including the Public Art Board, City departments, juries and support services. It manages several collections, including the Civic Art Collection and projects such as Pathways to Everywhere, where eligible capital projects use 1% of the budget for a public art component. Public art projects are selected on merit by a jury which includes expertise from artists, arts professionals, business unit experts and community representatives.

The Public Art Program’s mission includes guiding the evolution of a distinct and vibrant artistic character for the city’s emerging public spaces and ensuring a visual legacy.

Image above:
Photo: Bruce Edwards Photography