The Chrysalis Installed in Main Foyer

University library is happy to host "The Chrysalis" in the main foyer for the next year. The piece was installed in September 2023 and was created by Walter Egan The artist’s statement is below.

This is another in the art installation series sponsored by TSW Utilities and housed in the University Library.

Photos of this installation and all past installations can be viewed in the IUPUI University Library Art Installation Digital Collection.

From the artist:

Chrysalis is a hanging sculptural installation that is formed from eight equidistant segments. The exterior would be eggshell white, while the interior would be a reflective surface that is covered in a series of automatic drawings. These segments would hang in the air to form an obloid shape that resembles a chrysalis, egg, or brain. In total, the piece would be 12 feet long and 6.5 feet wide and 6.5 feet tall. The segments would be hung with spaces between them and at different levels to allow the viewer to observe the interior from different angles. All of this would be illuminated with a blue form of light that resides within the center of the piece.

The ideas of creative potential, ideation, and stream of consciousness that are presented with The Chrysalis are also strongly present in the library and among students. A library is often a place of thought, ideation, and creativity. Any individual may look inconspicuous, but within their minds are complex worlds with their own individual thoughts and ideas. Through their work, we catch glimpses of these worlds and their creativity. These themes are present in the library as well. The exterior is no different than any other campus building, but the interior is filled with a vast amount of knowledge and creativity, through the books, computers, and students that reside within. The Chrysalis shares these ideas, the exterior is unassuming and plain, but the interior is a complex tangle of raw, subconscious creativity represented through the automatic drawings. Creativity can only be viewed in pieces through the gaps in the segments. The form itself is relevant to these ideas as a chrysalis or an egg is something that is not much on the outside, but what’s inside holds great potential to become something new, strange, and wonderful.

A part I really enjoyed about this piece is the use of automatic drawings in this piece. Automatic drawing (or Automatism) is a way of drawing where the artist will draw without thinking, with no defined goal, like a very intense form of doodling. It is a way of opening the subconscious, expressing what is suppressed, and tapping the imagination and creativity that lies within. Automatism has long been used by illustrators, painters, and artists with its origins being credited to the surrealist movement. I have begun to implement it more and more in my artistic practice as an ideation and meditation process, both with my sculptures and illustrations. The practice of automatic drawing and its importance to the creative and ideation processes is why I have chosen them to represent the themes that are present in the library.