Contrary to the word it displays, an art installation that was erected a few weeks ago on Dudley Island off Lubec is not going to last much longer.
In fact, the word “FOREVER” — depicted in plywood letters eight feet tall mounted several feet off the ground on scaffolding — is being taken down on Wednesday, July 20.
The installation is a project by artist Alicia Eggert, who taught at Bowdoin College in Brunswick from 2010 through 2014 and was an artist-in-residence at the Tides Institute & Museum of Art in Eastport in May 2015. Eggert installed the piece on the island at the end of June, after preparing the letters at the institute’s historic North Church building, knowing they would be be taken down sometime this month.
According to Eggert, the concept started out as a desire to make the word “forever” disappear and reappear in the fog.
“It was inspired by my time in Eastport and my fascination with how dense the fog can be there, like a white wall on the water sometimes,” Eggert wrote Tuesday in an email.
Finding a suitable place to erect the letters, getting approval and then transporting the materials out to the island was a lot of work, added Eggert, who is now coordinating its deconstruction remotely from Texas.
“One of my volunteers, on one of his many, many trips up the hill with a 60-pound bag of sand on his shoulder, said it reminded him of the Werner Herzog movie, ‘Fitzcarraldo.’ So much effort, and for what?” Eggert wrote. “Very few people will actually see the sculpture in person, and even if they do, they only see a small word on the distant horizon. But there is some beauty in that I think… that Forever took so much energy to bring into existence, but in the end it is so temporary. It’s already just a memory. What drives us to do these kinds of things, do you think? It’s hard to make sense of it.”
Forever is temporary. pic.twitter.com/PnApoYUtlC
— Alicia Eggert (@AliciaEggert) July 4, 2016
Eggert’s art often delves into our understanding of time and language, at times focusing on the words we use to describe that understanding. She frequently incorporates kinetic elements such as rotating clock hands to underscore the notion of time in the concepts her art conveys.
“I consider time and language my primary sculptural materials,” Eggert says in her artist statement. “These immaterial concepts are given tangible forms that can be manipulated both physically and conceptually.”
Eggert posted this time-lapse video of fog blowing in around the installation on Vimeo:
If you missed seeing the installation in person, you will have another chance. Eggert said she intends to show “FOREVER” in an upcoming solo exhibition at T+H Gallery in Boston, titled Partial Visibility. Plus, she added, the owner of Dudley Island, TJ Goetting, is entertaining the idea of re-installing the work on the property again next summer
These YouTube videos show of few examples of her other work:
She also posts images of her work (and other things) on her Instagram account.
You can learn more about the artist and her work in her own words by watching this 14-minute TEDx talk she gave in Brunswick in November 2013: