A couple of weeks ago, Geoffrey and I made the upper Mnahattan pilgrimage to The Cloisters to see the second half of The Met’s Heavenly Bodies costume exhibit, and we were not disappointed. A bonus of the trip is that, as we rode the bus from the subway up to the top of the hill – because who wants to walk in this heat? – I noticed what looked like life-size Knights in Armor scattered about the lawn, and decided that we must check that shit out on our way back to the train. And check it out we did.
It turns out that the Armored Knights, and their alien-looking, silvery Nude companions, part of an installation, Armors, which was created by Icelandic sculptor Steinunn Thorarinsdottir. Back home, the artist is known for the androgynous figures she’s placed at iconic landmarks across the globe, including in Reykjavík outside Hallgrímskirkja church and, back in 2011 at NYC’s Hammarskjöld Plaza near Second Avenue.
Armors is made up of three pairs of figures, each featuring a Knight — whose armor replicates a piece of 16th century armor found in gallery 317 at The Met – who is facing or interacting with one of Thorarinsdottir’s nude figures. The Knights were 3D scanned and then manufactured out of aluminum. Thorarinsdottir modeled each nude figure as a direct response to each distinct suit of armor, and all six were then brought to the Cloisters Lawn.
In a statement about the work, Thorarinsdottir offers that, “Ancient armors are in themselves sculptural forms. They were developed for war but they give a sharp insight into the psyche of man. I wanted to merge medieval armors and ageless, androgynous figures in a way that would speak to the human condition today and in the past.”
Armors was created in collaboration with NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks program, and can be found in Fort Tryon Park, on the great lawn just downhill from the Cloisters. Get your medieval selfies through September 13th, 2018.