The Chronos Trilogy (1999), curated by James Cavello of Westwood Gallery NYC, is one of the largest glass sculpture commissions in the world. The project is an artistically rendered twenty-five-ton homage to the history of Hong Kong; the sculptures now animate the foyer of Lincoln House, a sixty-five story office tower. The goal was to commission a grand scale work in keeping with the architectural environment and visible through the glass-enclosed lobby, for the purpose of landmark artistic design and to block the view of a structure undergoing a ten year redevelopment project. The trilogy was commissioned by Swire Properties and it includes a trio of glass sculptures, each of them representing a facet of time, the past, the present and the future.
Westwood Gallery provided a talented and visionary artist who combines creative and technical expertise in a medium previously considered with apprehension by corporate collectors. The artist, Warren Carther, from Winnipeg, Canada, has worked with glass throughout his career, creating grand scale glassworks for international corporations, embassies and private collections. His work is unlike that of any other artist; his styles and technique combined with his understanding of the structural qualities of glass enable him to create glassworks of unique form and immense scale. Warren has gone beyond the current understanding of glass and its properties, stretching the boundaries of art and architecture.
The artist Warren Carther states, "Without the past there is no future, they are inseparably linked. With this in mind I created two metallic silver rectangles within which lay images which suggest a plan view and a section view of a ship. This is a reference to the fact that Taikoo Place was once the site of shipbuilding and that shipping created Hong Kong. The dichroic glass X's within the ship forms refer back to the X's in Vestige, linking the future and the past." Carther, together with his studio assistants, devoted eighteen months and hundreds of long days to the projects. Shipped to Hong Kong from the artist's studio, the glass was installed over 4 months.
SEA OF TIME
On a scale never before seen with glass, the largest sculpture measures 100 feet long and 23 feet high. This freestanding work has enormous undulating curves as it waves in and out through space. As Hong Kong is surrounded by sea, an analogy of water is created through the enormous curves of the sculpture.
"Sea of Time" represents the present, but it is also about transition, the passage of time from the past to the future. Movement is personified by shapes carved within the glass, uniquely achieved by the artist through skillful sand blasting. Deeply carved waves and repetitive patterns of texture and color draw an analogy to the sea and its ceaseless rhythms. Along the sculpture's over 100 feet horizontal span, patterns of disks similar to those in "Vestige" evolve into richly colored squares and finally into sleek, cool contemporary-looking grids.
The second sculpture is over 23 feet in height and curves in an arc attached to the south core wall. The carved glass has several dichroic glass disk shapes laminated to its surface. The dichroic glass transmits a yellow hue and reflects blue that is intensified utilizing computer-controlled lighting to switch between interior and exterior illuminations. The lights are programmed to operate in a barely perceptible movement, akin to the speed of a minute hand on a clock, but not corresponding to any particular measure of time.
"Vestige" deals with the past: its inspiration is drawn from ancient Chinese ceramics and bronzes. The pattern of the yellow/blue diachronic disks is reminiscent of the patterns found on Chinese bronzes. Other historical references come from the X's found within a bronze rectangle. They are a symbolic link between Chinese and British history and introduce a sub theme of architecture. Early Chinese sculptural ceramics that depict traditional Chinese dwellings are often shown with doors reinforced with boards in an X shape, strikingly similar to English Tudor style houses.
THE APPROACH OF TIME
The third work, spanning 40 feet high, is the tallest free standing glass sculpture in the world. It rises above the ground floor through an opening and continues upward stopping just below the se cond floor.
"Approach of Time" anticipates the future, as it rises up in an optimistic gesture. A grid pattern represents office tower architecture and the evolution towards the digital world and whatever follows. By day, "Approach of Time" is a transparent wash of pink, yellow, russet and gray. At night it changes to glowing tones of bronze and silver, highlighted by brilliant blue figures suggesting plan and section views of a ship's hull, an allusion to Hong Kong's maritime heritage and the fact that the land underneath Lincoln House was once a shipyard. All this is built upon an underlying grid which echoes the final panels of "Sea of Time" and which refers to modern office towers, the digital world and the future.