A Beacon of Art

From lighthouse towers to stadium walls – take a journey through Terry Haggerty’s site-specific installations

From lighthouse towers to stadium walls – take a journey through Terry Haggerty’s site-specific installations

We asked our colleague Silvan Koller to share his thoughts on Terry Haggerty’s new colorful intervention in our Copenhagen gallery as part of the exhibition “Shapes from the Edge”. This was the starting point for an investigation into Haggerty’s many years of working site-specifically across the globe.  

Heading to the Shapes from the Edge exhibition by Terry Haggerty at our Copenhagen space, a vibrant art installation by the artist welcomes you even from a distance. A diverse array of colors lights up the Carlsberg district, drawing people into Haggerty’s first solo show in the lighthouse building. Haggerty’s most recent site-specific work brings the tower to new life. The first thing someone familiar with his Oeuvre will notice is the broader-than-usual color palette and the layering of different vinyl foils.
But before we go into that let’s take a brief look at the history of some of the many site-specific artworks Terry Haggerty has created to date.

Terry Haggerty's installation in the tower of von Bartha, Copenhagen up close.
Drone video by Astrid Maria Rasmussen

Terry Haggerty’s site-specific works are scattered across the globe on various surfaces and walls. He began by working on pieces imitating air vents and air-conditioning units and continued to create artworks on “architectural canvases”, including large-scale pieces like one of the most prominent ones for the AT&T Stadium, Arlington for the Dallas Cowboys, Texas, titled Two Minds from 2009. Looking at the red lines, one instantly follows their trajectory, gliding over the architecture with their eyes. The rhythmization of lines, a hallmark of Haggerty’s ductus, leads the beholder to believe that the architectural structure is more than just a flat wall. The work absorbs the environment’s energy — loud, lively, and full of passion, much like the atmosphere during plays in a stadium.

Haggerty's "Two Minds", 2009 at the Dallas Cowboys stadium in Texas

Continuing on our timeline, we encounter a temporary piece from 2014, Untitled, in the Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach, which was displayed till June 2015. It served a similar purpose to our lighthouse work, welcoming visitors. No more waiting in line in boredom. The room-filling red artwork elevated the experience of waiting, treating it with new levels of significance. Observing the illusions, one must have thought twice about whether the corners were real or another trompe l’oeil by the artist. 

"Untitled", 2014, acrylic on wall at the Lobby of the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach in Florida from September 23, 2014 – June 23, 2015

It is hard to define Terry Haggerty’s site-specific works as they transcend traditional definitions, falling neither into the category of paintings nor installations. Crafted using the same techniques as paintings, these works, in terms of function and perception within architectural spaces, behave more like installations. The artworks seem to engage in a dialogue with the architecture, creating a symbiotic relationship.

Also in 2014 – the same year as he executed the wall drawing at the Norton Museum – Haggerty completed another temporary large-scale work for Sammlung Philara, Dusseldorf, demonstrating a completely different approach to the subject. The composition of the forms and lines almost felt like a portal, beaming the visitor into a new dimension. It is reminiscent of a modern, abstract version of Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam. The two forms nearly touch each other, with just a glimpse of white in between, separate and distinguish the two from each other. Terry Haggerty demonstrates the endless possibilities of working with simple lines and forms, establishing himself as a master of these two fundamental elements.

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"UNTITLED", 2014, acrylic on wall at Philara, Dusseldorf in Germany, February 22 – March 23, 2014
Photo: Maria M. Litwa

Haggerty’s recent works, on view at von Bartha Copenhagen, mark a noticeable shift in his artistic approach. Focusing on the layering of lines, his paintings feature an interplay of overlapping colors that result in captivating compositions.

With this shift in focus, one can perceive the site-specific piece in the lighthouse as a new starting point. The lighthouse not only symbolizes novelty but also serves as a point of orientation, seamlessly bringing together elements of both the new and the old. Instead of helping ships to navigate through uncharted waters, this lighthouse tower now serves as an art beacon to the Carlsberg district. In this manner, Haggerty once again succeeds in infusing the atmosphere and history of architecture into his site-specific work.

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