“The Horses” Installed in Central Park

The Horses Installation

French sculptor Jean-Marie Appriou’s “The Horses” were installed on September 11th at the Doris C. Freedman Plaza on Fifth Avenue and East 60th Street and will remain on display through Aug. 30, 2020. The installation was commissioned by the Public Art Fund.

The installation comprises three different statues, each of which highlight different features of the horse. One statue, “Les Amants au Bois,” depicts an abstract interpretation of two horses meeting. The second statue, “Le Joueur,” shows a horse in a relaxed position draped with a cape. Finally, “Le Guerrier” shows of the horse’s muscular physique and acts as an arched entrance to Central Park. The sculptures are quite large, 16 feet tall and 15 feet long. Pedestrians can walk around, and even under the horses, with one serving as a gateway to the Zoo in Central Park.

Appriou carved clay and foam models to cast in aluminium, emphasizing the tool marks and fingerprints of his tactile process. The works’ jagged textures and silvery surfaces create a dynamic play of light and shadow.

The horses
Sculptor Jean-Marie Appriou likes to work in aluminum, a material he likes for its modernity.

After being commissioned for a sculpture in such a public space, Appriou wanted to “indirectly” approach the human as a sculptural subject.

Le Guerrier
Le Guerrier is meant to represent an equine archway.

By working with an equestrian theme, I was able to integrate people through another lens. Everyone has a rapport with horses in some way, whether it’s the cowboy, the western, or even pony camp as a child. And, of course, Central Park’s horse-drawn carriages

Horses hold a significant place in the history of sculpture. There is a rapport with the idea of the plinth—if you think of the sculpture of a general, for example, he is always mounted on a horse as a representation of power. The horse is his plinth, and then the horse itself is also mounted on a plinth. (Unbridled: the Wild Equestrian Statues of Jean-Marie Appriou.)

The sculptures are more than just horses: he’s used the various representations of the horses’ limbs as a doorway, a seat, and a shelter from the elements, respectively. They have become participatory sculpture, which people can engage with.

I definitely need to put this on my list of things to see next time I’m in New York.

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