MSU students team up to create installation art at The Grand

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt Megan Racine (left) and Madeline Ebnet (right) fold and tape circle pieces as part of the new installation exhibit at The Grand.

NEW ULM — Mankato State University Mankato (MSU) is back with a new installation exhibit at The Grand Center for Arts & Culture.

Each year in the spring, The Grand’s 4 Pillars Gallery plays host to the MSU Installation class. The students create installation pieces for the gallery.

Installation art is a work created in three-dimensional space and is usually large-scale in nature. The work is usually created for a specific place and is temporary.

This year’s installation exhibit is unique because instead of featuring multiple installation projects from different students, the entire class of 12 students is creating a single collaborative piece called “Seasonal Cycle”.

All 12 students had a hand in designing and assembling the piece, which features dozens of large cardboard and paper circles placed strategically around the gallery space.

MSU art professor Liz Miller said the group decided together on the type of project and how to use the 4 Pillars Gallery space. The construction and assembly of the piece took place over multiple days with students working in teams to complete it. This created a further challenge because the different teams had to build off what the previous group did and keep the cycle going.

On Monday, student artists Mason Neuman and Diane Dang represented the second shift to work on the project. Ahmed and Dang chose to fold some of the circles to create unique shadows.

“When we came in here it was very flat,” Neuman said. This led them to add dimension by folding the materials and even creating flower-like pedals.

The installation required a quick turnaround. The students had a week to plan it and only got to visit the gallery once before executing their plan.

Dang said early in the design process they wanted to use the circle cutouts that were already available. 1AThey considered creating an installation related to topography and maps, but after visiting the space the drooping paper theme felt correct.

Dang said there was a disconnect between the other artists on the project, but the was part of the artistic work.

“It makes the build process a call and response,” she said. One group builds this, forcing the other group to create that.

On Wednesday, Marquise Myles, Megan Racine, Madeline Ebnet and Naqib Ahmed responded and worked to complete the project. None of these members expected to see folded circles but were willing to adapt with the time remaining.

“It is definitely a space in which collaborative effort is absolute,” Marquise Myles said. He said the work being done in cycles reflected the cyclical nature of the artwork.

The title of the work “Seasonal Cycle” is a reference to the geometrical circles, but also to the limited cycle of time. Much of this project depended on limited time.

Ahmed said “That’s the beauty of it. It’s showing what we can do with a limited time.”

The installation piece will be completed on Friday in time for an opening reception. The grand opening of “Seasonal Cycle” is 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 31 in The Grand. The installation piece will remain on display through April 28.


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