On May 7, 2010, a new artwork by Richard Galpin, entitled Viewing Station, will debut on the High Line, New York City’s elevated park built on a former freight rail trestle on Manhattan’s west side. Using a specially designed and constructed viewing apparatus, this commissioned artwork will offer park visitors an altered perspective of a particular view from the High Line. One of the wonderful experiences the High Line has provided to visitors is a new vista of Manhattan. Similarly, Galpin’s artwork will offer a novel reconsideration of our familiar surroundings.
Galpin is best known for creating altered photographs of cityscapes. His chosen method of manipulation is to cut and remove the top layer of the coloured emulsion from his photographic prints, exposing the paper substrate. By eradicating part of the photograph, the imagery becomes greatly abstracted. Using clean lines and sharp angles, Galpin’s technique produces works with an emphasis on geometric shapes, recalling early twentieth century movements such as Constructivism, Cubism, and Futurism.
Galpin’s Viewing Station will function in a manner similar to his cut photographs, but will use the view from one point on the High Line as its raw material. Park visitors will look through a viewing apparatus, lined up with a metal screen from which geometric shapes have been cut. Precise alignment of these two devices with the buildings behind them will transform what is seen. By blocking some details of the nearby buildings and revealing others, the artwork will make them appear as optically flattened elements in an abstract composition.