FLOW.14: Dean Monogenis

The Project: City Pillars

Monogenis’s City Pillars will comprise seven striped rectilinear forms in varying dimensions, hovering just above the ground along the southern shoreline of Randall’s Island Prk. Five vertical structures will represent the boroughs of New York City and two horizontal forms will represent the East and Hudson Rivers. The work begins with the concept of the genius loci: originating in classical Rome, the term describes the protective spirit or divine guardian of a place. In Southeast Asia, similar shrines or “city pillars” are vertical, totemic monuments, dedicated to the specific deity of a location. Absent the idea of a spiritual guardian, today genius loci can be interpreted as how we experience and define our sense of place. By adapting the form of the totem or “city pillar” on Randall’s Island – as a central nexus for New York City, with three bridges connecting it to the boroughs beyond – Monogenis aims to create a calming space that encourages thoughtful interaction and reflection along these lines. From the Island’s southern edge, the viewer can see the city from a distance while technically still being in it, experiencing a broadcast point from which one can contemplate the city, its “sense of place,” and one’s own relationship to it.

The Artist: Dean Monogenis

Dean Monogenis explores situational relationships of otherwise incongruous elements, painting settings as utopias or fantasy environments. The concept of transformation, in theory and in practice, has a firm place in his painting. Scouring the internet or documenting his travels for source material, he finds that scenarios similar to the ones he has imagined already exist. In such cases, his work becomes a commentary on globalization or expansion, which is inevitable. Rather than make an indictment, he is more interested in exploring the awkward beauty inherent in development and decay. He studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (BFA, 1996).

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