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Three stations on the M subway line in Ridgewood, Queens now have permanent art installations that bring moments of home into the commute.
Commissioned by MTA Arts for Transit & Urban Design, “Dom (Variations)” by artist Laura F. Gibellini progresses from a glass mosaic and photo engraved tile bedroom scene in the Fresh Pond Road Station to laminated glass images of hanging laundry in the Forest Avenue and the Seneca Avenue stations.
“What interested me about the subway is that it’s a very strange place, both familiar and alien, a space of transition that takes one elsewhere,” she told Hyperallergic. “In this case, I was thinking how the subway takes people from their home to the working space, which are two very different settings, with different politics and coordinates. I was interested in the tension of public and private that it all entails.”
Much of Gibellini’s art concentrates on ideas of place and home, and how we represent it. This is the Madrid-born artist’s first public art project, and as an immigrant to New York creating art for a neighborhood of immigrants, she wanted to reflect some of that personal life in the public space.
“When I went to see the locations for the project, I saw that people still hang clothes outdoors there, which is something we do in Spain and Italy, so it reminded me of my own home immediately,” she explained.
Where the Fresh Pond mosaic bedroom is open and reflective, featuring a bed strewn with clothes against wallpaper where organic shapes creep in, the twelve windows let in the light outdoors, offering views to trees and buildings through the ethereal clothes printed and hand painted on glass. Gibellini stated it was important to her to represent the clothes, these small objects of private life which are left so openly in public, to bring a human element to the often anonymous feel of transit. Most importantly, the project aims to remind travelers of home as they depart and return to it each day, the domestic imagery shadowing them on their paths.
Laura F. Gibellini’s “Dom (Variations)” is on permanent view in the Fresh Pond Road, Forest Avenue, and Seneca Avenue stations on the M line in Ridgewood, Queens.