Title: Circuit Braker
Creator: John von Bergen
Technique: welding, metalworking
Dimensions: 36 inches (height) x 84 inches (width) x 24 inches (depth)
The curves of John von Bergen's Circuit Braker are so inviting that students used to climb in and lay down, enfolded within the warmth of the curved metal around them. The many curves embrace each other, unfolding from the center like the petals of a flower. Their shape was inspired by the new tools available to von Bergen as a founding member of Sculpture Space. Using a roller at the Boiler Works across the street, he was able to explore shaping the industrial steel into more organic forms.
When first installed at Hamilton College, the sculpture was at the top of a hill, and not anchored to the ground. Unfortunately, those curves also lent themselves perfectly to allow students to turn the piece on its side and roll it down the hill. Two changes took place as a result. First, the sculpture stayed at the bottom of the hill. Second, von Bergen added four small legs to the piece to allow it to be anchored to the ground.
Subject: Public art, Outdoor sculpture, Metal sculpture
Rights: This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1977 and without a copyright notice.
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Location: Hamilton College, Clinton, Green Apple Way by the List Art Center