In June, Meriem Bennani will reveal her first public sculpture, Windy (2022), co-commissioned by High Line Art and Audemars Piguet Contemporary. Installed on the High Line at 24th Street in New York City, the sculpture will be on view through May 2023. Windy marks the first time High Line Art and Audemars Piguet Contemporary are co-curating and commissioning a public sculpture.
Merging magical realism, farcical humor, and techniques from a wide range of moving image genres, Bennani creates videos—often housed in colorful geometric steel sculptures—that tell stories about human behavior and our experiences both on and offline. 2 Lizards (2020), the artist’s most recent video series created at the start of COVID-19 in collaboration with filmmaker Orian Barki, became an overnight viral sensation as the work poignantly captured the experiences of quarantine and extreme isolation caused by the pandemic.
Windy on the High Line will present a shift in Bennani’s practice—marking her first public sculpture and her first stand-alone sculpture that does not include a video element. Inspired directly by the experience of being in New York City and walking on the High Line, Windy will maintain the artist’s characteristic absurdist humor and interest in animation while she focuses on the mechanics and kinetic energy of the sculpture itself.
The curators from High Line Art and Audemars Piguet Contemporary are working closely together with Bennani to develop the artwork. The collaboration highlights each program’s parallel mission: to invite an artist to commission a new artwork which pushes them to think creatively and further develop their practice.
“In developing the concept for Windy, I knew it could not be a static sculpture but needed to echo the dynamic and constant movements of the High Line. I wanted to play with New York City’s energy after the past couple years which alternated between engaging with it and carefully hiding from it.”, says Meriem Bennani, “I also wanted to try something that presented me with new conceptual and technical challenges to expand my understanding of sculpture, moving image, and the creative possibilities of their shared interaction. I’m grateful for the support of High Line Art and Audemars Piguet Contemporary and for this opportunity to take my work in a new direction, on the occasion of my first public sculpture.”
“It’s such an exciting moment to see Meriem Bennani, an artist who engages with contemporary culture with incisive wit, expand her practice to new forms. This collaboration with Audemars Piguet Contemporary broadens the unique platform the High Line provides artists to present new creative works for a wide, public audience.”, says Cecilia Alemani, Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Director & Chief Curator, High Line Art.
“High Line Art brings broad public awareness to artists working today—which is completely in line with Audemars Piguet Contemporary’s commitment to supporting artists and nurturing their creative development. We are so pleased, alongside Cecilia and her team, to collaborate with Meriem in her hometown of New York City on a sculpture that brings her work from the digital sphere to the public domain and represents a new chapter in her artistic practice. We are excited for visitors to the High Line to experience this dynamic and unique work in person.”, these are the words of Audrey Teichmann, curator at Audemars Piguet Contemporary.