Behind Fat Boy by Leonard Ursachi
Central Library, Lobby Gallery
A companion exhibition of Leonard Ursachi’s Fat Boy sculpture in Prospect Park, featuring original sketches and maquettes of Fat Boy, along with other materials that illuminate Ursachi’s bunker series.
I’m interested in the impact of structures—material, theoretical, social, political—on individuals and communities. My sculptures and installations use architectural references as tropes for systems that enclose and exclude, protect and reject. They address the boundaries systems create, and how those boundaries are transgressed.
Fat Boy, part of my “bunker” series currently on display in Prospect Park, is based on a classical Western putto, or male child often depicted in Renaissance and Baroque artworks. Since antiquity, putti have been malleable signifiers, representing, among other things, Eros, panic, abandon and joy. Fat Boy’s title derives not only from his plump, cherubic face, but also from the WWII atomic bombs, Little Boy and Fat Man, giving the sculpture twin references to Eros and war. However, my bunkers reference not only war, but also nests, shelter and refuge. They are as much about longing for home as they are about conflict.
Leonard Ursachi is a Romanian-born artist who defected in 1980. He was granted political asylum in France, where he also received a scholarship to study art history and archeology at the Sorbonne. Ursachi has exhibited internationally, including a solo exhibition in 2008 at MNAC, Romania’s National Museum of Contemporary Art in Bucharest. Fat Boy is Ursachi’s fifth temporary public artwork with NYC Parks. His installations include Open House in Tribeca Park, Manhattan in 2002; Refuge in Duarte Square, Manhattan in 2004; Hiding Place in Prospect Park, Brooklyn in 2007; and Well in Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn in 2011.
Photo © Jonathan Levine