ART INSTILLATION | 2019-2020
Lost Casts was an art instillation designed and constructed as part of the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and AIA Austin's Design Shine competition, 2019. Alexandra Krippner and Toni Toscano were one of the three teams selected to build their sculpture within the garden.
Lost Casts draws upon the history of the land on which the Umlauf Sculpture Garden rests. Decades prior to the presence of Charles Umlauf and his family, the site was utilized by soldiers during WWII to practice their fly casting in the small ponds. While the activity of fly casting may not initially seem to have much in common with the sculpture and artworks that followed on this land, Lost Casts highlights the underlying commonality through time.
Anglers - fisherman who utilize a rod and a line - must, like an artist or sculptor, be close observers of nature in order to successfully practice their art. Through tracing the fly-casting lines with luminous arcs, the piece delicately highlights the first type of casting performed on this site, prior to Charles Umlauf’s lost wax casting of his sculptures. These almost ghostly reflections of the past are not stagnant, but rather gently sway with the movement of the wind and tree branches above them. The sinuous lines also play to the curvature of the sculpted human figures who tilt their faces upward as if to see these softly shimmering lines that then duplicate themselves and waver in the mirror of the water below.
To end with an excerpt that was integral in the creation of this piece:
“This is what the angler does: He observes and tries to imitate the world around him. He chooses the fly of a similar size, pattern, and color as those bugs he sees rising; he flicks his line back and forth over his head to lay his nearly weightless bait down without too much of a splash along the riffles where the fish are feeding. He notices the direction of the wind; he matches the length of her line with the depth of the water; he waits for the afternoon to cool off and rises early to beat the morning sun. He fishes little midges in the spring and thick hairy buggers in the summer and slim nymphs in the fall. He sees the natural world as a puzzle he tries to solve, and his success is measured absolutely: when the surface breaks, the fly disappears, and he feels that unmistakable tug . . .
It has become increasingly difficult to say what qualifies as art today, but it certainly isn’t the perfect imitation of nature. Yet fishing does somehow feel artful.”
-John Knight, The Philosophy of Fly Fishing, The Paris Review