Monument to The Horizon
Felippe Moraes’ most recent work entitled “Monument to the Horizon” is a large scale public sculpture permanently installed in a pier inside Oscar Niemeyer’s complex known as Caminho Niemeyer in the city of Niterói in Rio de Janeiro.
The 5m high piece is defined by the artist as “an observatory of horizons” in which the public can climb its internal staircase to peek into a 180° strip in the steel wall that reveals just a thread of the beautiful landscape of Rio de Janeiro.
The work is installed in perfect alignment with the cardinal points, and points precisely to the west, providing a powerful view of Rio’s sunset and working as a Neolithic calendar, marking the solstices and the equinoxes. Beyond the visual involvement, the piece also promotes a sound experience, isolating almost all the external noises and having the wind produce introspective sounds inside. Therefore, the sculpture is an invitation to enjoy the silence and the contemplative power of this landscape that is one of the most beautiful in the world.
Surrounded by the Guanabara Bay, the work is placed in a privileged viewing spot in an abandoned concrete pier that was never used. In this sense the piece becomes a place of gathering of the local families in a once degraded surrounding, revitalizing it and encouraging the public to enjoy the view. The work that weights 1,1 ton is made out of weatherable steel to endure to effects of the exposure to the sea and is always slightly changing with the oxidation process.
As a development of the artist’s research on the poetic aspects proposed by the horizon, the sculpture derives from one of Moraes’ previous experiments to develop a mathematical formula to calculate one’s distance to the horizon. This previous work entitled “From the Distance to the Horizon” (2009-2010) can be seen on the artist’s website and can be downloaded in the format of what he describes as a “poetic manual”.
The work was granted the 1st place in a national competition held in Brazil by the country’s Federal Government entitled ArteMonumento2016, which made its construction possible. Executed by the company artemontagem based in Rio and having the technical drawings developed in collaboration with the architect Fernanda Carvalho, the sculpture is an enduring statement of the possibilities of looking beyond and seeing new horizons and better futures.