Janet Echelman

Janet Echelman reshapes urban airspace with monumental, fluidly moving sculpture that responds to environmental forces including wind, water, and sunlight. Echelman first set out to be an artist after graduating college. She moved to Hong Kong in 1987 to study Chinese calligraphy and brush-painting. Later she moved to Bali, Indonesia, where she collaborated with artisans to combine traditional textile methods with contemporary painting. When she lost her bamboo house in Bali to a fire, Echelman returned to the United States and began teaching at Harvard. After seven years as an Artist-in-Residence, she returned to Asia, embarking on a Fulbright lectureship in India. While watching local fishermen bundling their nets one evening, Echelman began wondering if nets could be a new approach to sculpture: a way to create volumetric form without heavy, solid materials, and this led to a new direction for her artistic endeavors.
Janet Echelman’s talk was prerecorded at TED 2011 (March 2011)