Beach Pods, 1997. Galvanized steel, steel, and zip ties, 144 x 120 in. diameter. Temporary installation at Virginia Beach.

John Ruppert: Staging Energy

Back in 1992, John Ruppert was cleaning out his studio and rolling up some chain-link fencing when it got away from him. When he caught it, the loose end fanned out into space. All of a sudden, he realized that this loosely woven material had a structure, and he became interested in its mobilization of space: “I put the roll of fencing away, for a while; then, one evening, I decided to figure out what this chain-link stuff was about. While fooling around with it in my studio, I discovered that I could create a seamless cylinder by removing a link at the end of the roll, bringing the two ends of the material back on itself, and then sewing it back together by screwing the link back in again. Then I wondered, how I was going to stand this thing up? Gathering together one end, with cable, hoisting it up vertically, and then letting it down slowly to allow the bottom portion to fan out under its own weight, created a transition from one end to the other through the effect of gravity …see the entire article in the print version of September’s Sculpture magazine.