New York City is full of hidden treasures, but even its most commonplace features never cease to surprise and delight their visitors.
Italian artist Tatiana Trouvé, for example, was struck by the vast network of paths in Central Park — and how they could be explored in practically infinite ways. Her fascination with the park’s many trails sparked a novel idea for an art installation, which she created as her first public commission in the US.
Her piece is called “Desire Lines” and displays colorful spooled rope to represent both the popular and less-travelled paths of the park. She compared the paths to human arteries, noting that there are endless possible outcomes for us depending on what we desire.
In addition to this message, the project conveys something about the act of walking from political, personal and cultural standpoints. Each spool of rope comes with a three-part label: a path number, a geographical title and a cultural title to associate it with an iconic march or walk from history, which imbues it with a deeper sense of meaning about the simple mode of travel.
She identified 212 paths through the park and measured their distances before she cut a colored rope of the same length. In Doris C. Freedman Plaza, visitors can see how these ropes have been wound onto 212 wooden spools and mounted on three large racks. The combined lengths of the ropes featured in the work are approximately equal to the total length of the paths in the park.
Trouvé began working with Public Art Fund four years ago to develop Desire Lines. The life-size work will be located at the southeast entrance to Central Park until August.