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(Not So) Set in Stone: Zoran Mojsilov Repurposes Sculpture Garden Materials

In light of the renovation of the 19-acre Walker Art Center/Minneapolis Sculpture Garden campus, here’s a spotlight on a local artist who is giving new life to some of the Garden’s original materials. Since the mid-1990s Twin Cities–based artist Zoran Mojsilov has been fashioning large-scale sculptures out of discarded stones salvaged from construction and renovation sites, […]

Stones from the Garden set out in formation at Mojsilov’s studio near the Grain Belt Brewery in July 2016.

Stones from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden in formation at artist Zoran Mojsilov’s studio near the Grain Belt Brewery in July 2016

In light of the renovation of the 19-acre Walker Art Center/Minneapolis Sculpture Garden campus, here’s a spotlight on a local artist who is giving new life to some of the Garden’s original materials.

Since the mid-1990s Twin Cities–based artist Zoran Mojsilov has been fashioning large-scale sculptures out of discarded stones salvaged from construction and renovation sites, and one of his newest projects features material reclaimed from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

Mojsilov began working with stones in 1994 when he found surplus rock from new garden walls that were being built in St. Paul’s High Bridge Park, creating a sculpture commissioned by the surrounding neighborhood.[1] Two years later, he won a public art commission for the Camden Gateway, a sculpture park located on Lyndale Avenue in North Minneapolis. Mojsilov repurposed granite stones salvaged from a train yard in downtown Minneapolis, building enormous sculptures, bridges and benches for the park project.[2]

zoran-on-site1

Mojsilov (far right) with artist David Nash and late Walker director Martin Friedman (center) with Nash during installation of Standing Frame in 1987. Courtesy Walker Art Center Archives

Mojsilov cites American Abstract Expressionist sculptor Mark di Suvero as a significant influence on his practice.[3] Di Suvero’s hulking Arikidea (1977–82) will stand in the newly renovated Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, while his red-painted Molecule (1977-83)—a longtime fixture in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden—now stands in Gold Medal Park. Watching di Suvero operate a crane to create such massive sculptures inspired Mojsilov to incorporate the construction machine into his artistic process, and just as di Suvero integrated junkyard detritus into his early sculptural experiments, Mojsilov found cast-off stones to be a plentiful yet challenging material.

Today, incorporating stones from the Garden renovation into his work, Mojsilov has come full circle, having worked on the crew that installed the original sculptures when the Garden first opened in 1988. Below is a photo of Mojsilov with artist David Nash and Fuller Cowles as they install Standing Frame at the Walker in 1987.

Installing David Nash’s Standing Frame (from left to right: Mojsilov, Fuller Cowles, Nash). Courtesy Walker Art Center Archives

Installing David Nash’s Standing Frame (left to right: Mojsilov, Fuller Cowles, Nash). Courtesy Walker Art Center Archives

Nearly thirty years later, stones reclaimed from the garden arrived at Mojsilov’s northeastd Minneapolis studio, where they were set out in formation awaiting future use. The materials of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden live on, building on past histories here at the Walker and fueling local artists’ practices today.

Stones from the garden arrive at Mojsilov’s studio near the Grain Belt Brewery in July 2016.

Stones from the Garden arrive at Mojsilov’s studio near the Grain Belt Brewery in July 2016.

Stones from the Garden set out in formation at Mojsilov’s studio near the Grain Belt Brewery in July 2016.

Stones from the Garden in formation at Mojsilov’s studio near the Grain Belt Brewery in July 2016.

Footnotes:

[1] Laurel Reuter and Zoran Mojsilov, Zoran Mojsilov (Grand Forks, ND: North Dakota Museum of Art, 2009), 5.

[2] Ibid., 6.

[3] Ibid., 5.

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