No Limits is a series of 10 sculptures where Alexandre Arrechea takes the basic shape of a New York City building and reshapes it into a
new reality. During the 2014 Three Rivers Arts Festival, four of these sculptures were positioned around downtown Pittsburgh and stayed through September of that year.
The first one was titled: Metropolitan Life Insurance. The elongated version of the Met Life Building is coiled on a stand. It was outside of 4 Gateway Center on the corner of Liberty Ave and Stanwix St.
The NYC Dept of Parks and Recreation newsletter The Daily Plant, had this to say about the artwork when it was in NYC:
The art is meant to create a dialogue with the public that raises questions of control, power, surveillance and one’s role within these categories. Through iconic architectural buildings and urban spaces, Arrechea plays and entices the viewer to explore this concept.
Arrechea said,I believe the same way that a building is exposed to daily elements and changes – cold, heat, rain, fog – it is also exposed to constant changes in function – increases and decreases in market value, tenant use, and therefore purpose and social value. These persistent modifications are something I want to capture and embody in my work, creating a new model in constant negotiation with its surroundings. The Park Avenue project presents a form of marriage between New York City landmarks and architectural elements from different backgrounds. These elements, I believe, symbolically parallel facets of the human condition. With this installation, I have created a set of works that confront dynamism vs. static, the whole vs. the fragmented, control vs. chaos, utopia vs. reality. The series provides a new point of access from which to understand the dialog between art and architecture and how this relationship can evolve and open new doors.
Behind 4 Gateway Center along Liberty Ave is Gateway Center Park. This is where Courthouse was located.
It looks as though the building will rock on the pivot and has a weighted base to stabilize it again, but nothing indicates that these are meant to be interactive pieces so we didn’t try it. Perhaps it’s just meant to represent the ability to right oneself in times of turbulence. On the placards that accompanied these sculptures was the following information:
In each of the four sculptures located in Downtown Pittsburgh, Arrechea reshapes the concept of verticality and monumentality into a new reality: elastic architecture, or city. Sculptures maintain the facade and recognizable features of the iconic buildings, but also adopt new forms – an elasticity that is foreign to the structure. This concept serves as a metaphor to the challenges of adapting to new realities we face every day as individuals and society. The buildings are transformed into a tool, or snail–like shapes as if one could reel these rigid structures in like a hose – expanding and contracting with the rise and fall of the economy and the sociocultural and sociopolitical shifts that occur with economic changes.
The third sculpture of this series was over at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. It was positioned at 10th St at the top of the walkway that leads down to the river. Reminiscent of film on an old movie reel, this one is titled Seagram.
The fourth sculpture was reported to be at 2 Gateway Center
along Penn Ave Extension. We walked all around Gateway Center four times searching for it with no luck. We attempted to contact the folks at the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, but never had a response.
We did find a link to the missing sculpture on the artist’s website.
The Flatiron Building, a National Historic Landmark, was originally the Fuller Building, completed in 1902.