Penn Libraries

Dutch artist Claudy Jongstra installs major art piece ‘Fields of Transformation’ in the Moelis Family Grand Reading Room

On May 3rd, 2017, renowned Dutch artist Claudy Jongstra will be completing the installation of her largest mural so far ‘Fields of Transformation’ in the new Moelis Family Grand Reading Room in Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center. Jongstra was invited to create this large piece by Gensler architects in 2016 after unveiling several impressive murals in the Light Court and the restaurant of the Barnes Foundation. The Moelis Family Grand Reading Room is the Penn Libraries’ response to a desire for quieter space for reflective study in Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center following recent renovations more directed toward collaboration and communication among students.

Fields of Transformation comprises three huge pieces, varying in dimension, the largest being nearly 6 meters high by 15 meters wide, made of felted wool and pure silk. This soft, generous gesture opens and subtly defines the space where knowledge transforms into insight and eternal wisdom by visualizing the change as it moves from the head to the heart. The source of knowledge is blue, from the indigo plant on the wool from the ancient Drenthe Heath Sheep, combining eastern and western hemispheres of knowledge of the past that is stewarded by the library. One of the oldest fibers known to man, the shiny, pure white threads from the Chinese silkworm show the intellectual stage of active knowledge, derived in the mind from research with the help of new connections and profound understanding; completely reflective, white awakens openness and growth. Chamomile, an age-old dyer’s plant, renders its glow to the warm yellow heart, where the dynamic transformation of information into golden wisdom takes place, through engagement, curiosity, and irrational creativity, to shape the future.

Fields of Transformation is the largest art piece by Claudy Jongstra so far, adding to her extensive body of works in the United States (Lincoln Center, Bennington College, Rhode Island School of Design, Kapor Center for Social Impact SF, Cooper Hewitt, SF MoMA, Barnes Foundation, MoMA New York and in several private collections). In 2017 another American commission will be installed in the American Embassy in the Netherlands.

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