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Remembering the Unseen

Remembering the Unseen

Remembering the Unseen (2022). Artist: Ingrid Lilligren, Iowa State University Professor of Arts and Visual Culture
Remembering the Unseen (2022)
Artist: Ingrid Lilligren, Iowa State University Professor of Art and Visual Culture, Debra Marquart Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Medium: Steel, ceramic, wood, yellow jade, Braille text
Dimensions: Pottery: 24 x 11 inches | Base: 72 x 30 x 24 inches

While we work to develop alternative sources for fuel and energy, Remembering the Unseen was created by Lilligren in response to Debra Marquart’s essay Postcards from Boomtown. This resulted from research into the impact of oil extraction on communities surrounding the Bakken formation in North Dakota. Lilligren’s research on geological formations underlying the Bakken formation was used to create the tiles incorporated in the base. The jar’s form derives from her research into Egyptian canopic containers used to hold vital organs necessary for the afterlife. Each was inscribed with hieroglyphs and had a stylized animal head as the lid. A replica of an oil molecule rests on the jar’s lid. Braille text on the jar contains excerpts from Marquart’s essay. The project celebrates this time in our history and the essay allows viewers to experience the deep connections we have to one another.

Containing beauty and awareness of our role in addressing challenges related to climate change, resource allocation, divestment, and development of renewable alternatives to oil, Remembering the Unseen is a work by two ISU colleagues who perform this mysterious cultural function known as artist.  On our campus, scientists work intellectually to make the invisible visible. Artists work intellectually and expressively to create visual works of art.  If you have ever been moved by any work of art, be it visual, music, dance, poetry or writing, you have experienced a connection to our collective humanity; that which makes us part of communities, groups, and for the time being, this campus. Art doesn’t broadcast, it receives.

Read Debra Marquart's essay THE NIGHT WE LANDED ON THE MOON.pdf

About the Artist: Ingrid LilligrenArtist Ingrid Lilligren facing the camera while smiling

Ingrid Lilligren is an artist whose work examines the relationship among climate change, planetary resources and cultural production. Braille is incorporated as a means to explore social, cultural and political blindness. She has designed and fabricated numerous public commissions including two projects on the Iowa State University campus. As a professor in the Arts and Visual Culture Department, Lilligren teaches courses in ceramics, entrepreneurship and public art. Recent exhibitions include the Des Moines Art Center; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Woodbury University Hollywood Gallery, Los Angeles; and The Museum of The Hand, Lausanne, Switzerland. Her work is held in public collections including Grinnell College, Iowa State University, the Sioux City Art Center and in private collections.