The vernissage for the courtyard’s newest statue took place Thursday evening, commemorating its official renaming for its temporary residence here at AAU. 

The event began in the early evening with live music by the Gentle Grooves, creating a mellow atmosphere. The courtyard was fairly empty, allowing the few in attendance to have personal conversations with the artist and discover more about him and the new sculpture. 

“This project showed me another way of making things. Before, I was very strict and symmetrical, but this released something new… It’s open form, so it loves to go into open space,” commented artist Jan Kovarik on the innovation of his sculpture, Of-02. 

This open-form statue was created in 2017 and is the second cast of an ongoing project titled ‘OF’ – open-form.

Photo by: Rose Mayer

AAU combined the vernissage with a renaming ceremony. For the duration of its temporary stay in the courtyard, Of-02 has been renamed “Our Friend.” The renaming of the sculpture was debated; “Odd Future,” “Open Flame,” and “Lynchian Worm” were among the many options. 

Many in attendance agreed that the abstract statue was a refreshing addition to the courtyard, as it opens up discussion and stimulates the imagination of the observers. 

Kovarik conceded that he doesn’t typically name his statues because it “kills all the other meanings of the thing. If you give it a special name, your imagination stops.” Leaving the name of the open-form statue open allows for more discussion, more imagination, and less interpretive restriction. 

Though few students and faculty were in attendance, the children from the nearby kindergarten were the most prominent fans. While the Gentle Grooves played, the children danced around the sculpture. 

Kovarik likes the idea of children interacting with his work. Because the sculpture had spent so much time in his own hands, he appreciates the admiration of his art in the hands of the children. With this in mind, Tony Ozuna removed the ‘Do Not Touch’ sign, and the children were eager to comply. “Children and seniors are my fans with this sculpture,” Kovarik commented.

Photo by: Rose Mayer

AAU professor Tony Ozuna organized the vernissage and initiated the placement of the sculpture. Kovarik and Ozuna met two years ago at an exhibition, and Ozuna reached out within the last year with the idea of bringing Kovarik’s work into “art SPACE.” 

More of Kovarik’s art can be found on his website, but in the meantime, the sculpture can be seen—and touched—up close and personal in the AAU courtyard. 

This leaves the AAU community with one question: what will you name this sculpture?