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What's That Giant Thing Flying In The Wilson CTA Station? Art

By Josh McGhee | October 25, 2017 6:31am
 The multifaceted sculpture
The multifaceted sculpture "Arpeggio" was created by Cecil Balmond.
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DNAinfo/Josh McGhee

UPTOWN — The CTA opened a new station on Wilson Avenue on Monday and revealed new artwork from internationally renowned artist, designer and engineer Cecil Balmond.

"Arpeggio," a multifaceted sculpture in the main stationhouse, is enhanced by a "reflective wall and LED lighting," according to a news release from the CTA.

The work "lends dramatic contrast to the Wilson Station lobby, celebrating the shapes, textures and rhythms of Uptown's rich cultural history," according to the plaque accompanying the work.

The geometric forms and wood-grain finishes are a reflection of 1920s art deco design, which can be found prevalently in the neighborhood and at the under-construction Gerber Building, according to the CTA.

And its name reflects Uptown's jazz legacy, the CTA said.

"The musical term 'Arpeggio' describes a type of broken chord, played in succession, either ascending or descending. Such a rhythmic sequence may be interpreted visually, in the undulating forms, ever-shifting colors and reflections this artwork provides," the plaque says.

The work is part of the CTA's "Arts in Transit" program. It was funded by the Federal Transit Administration and the price was not to exceed $204,000, according to the CTA.

Balmond, of London, is known for his large-scale public art installations. He was chosen from a pool of 200 artists in 2014.

“Mayor Emanuel and I believe in the long-term value of public art at CTA’s rail stations, which enhances the quality of our customers’ transit experience and enriches and reflects the rich character of the surrounding neighborhoods. We’re pleased to select an artist of Mr. Balmond’s caliber to create artwork for what is one of the largest ‘L’ station construction projects in the agency’s history,” then-CTA President Forrest Claypool said at the time.

Balmond's projects include designing Weave Bridge for the University of Pennsylvania, Ito-Balmond Serpentine Pavilion in London and the Star of Caledonia, a landmark sculpture on the border of Scotland and England.