The Trustees of Reservations recently launched an Art and the Landscape initiative that brings contemporary art into some of its preserved properties, giving visitors a new perspective on the local landscape. One site chosen to house a public art installation was World’s End in Hingham. When the time came to select an artist to feature at the 251-acre seaside property, exhibit curator Pedro Alonzo immediately thought of Jeppe Hein, a Berlin-based artist who finds inspiration in the way nature and humans interact.
“The remote nature of [World’s End] is meditative, and when you walk through you start to commune with nature and calm down,” says Alonzo. “So much of Jeppe’s work is about that. I thought it would be a perfect site for his art.”
From the air, World’s End looks like a peninsula and island of green held together by a thin stretch of land. It is on this stretch of land, surrounded by water and with views to Boston, that Hein and Alonzo decided to fasten “A New End” to the earth. Hein’s sculpture consists of a labyrinth of reflecting panels of varying sizes that are arranged to mimic the drumlins of the park and reflect the greens, browns and blues of the landscape.
“We decided that a piece with reflecting surfaces would be really good because many people know the landscape but the mirrors might open up something new,” says Hein, who has been working with high-polished stainless steel for over 15 years and has art installations all over the world. As the afternoon dims to evening, visitors seem to be pulled toward the latest addition to World’s End to see the way it catches the light and the colors of the evening sky. At its opening, kids ran through the sculpture and kayakers approached to get a closer look. “This piece is an exercise in mindfulness and in being present,” says Alonzo.
“I see my work as a tool for communication and dialogue. To me, it’s not so important that it is an art piece, it’s just important what it creates and what it creates is dialogue. People start to smile at each other and laugh and maybe hide behind the mirrors and play,” says Hein. “I want people to be able to open up to someone else, open up to empathy and understanding. I think this is what we need in our world at the moment—to understand each other.”
At the center of “A New End,” we are all reflected an infinite amount of times inside the landscape of World’s End. I see the ocean, dirt paths, green trees, the boats in Hingham Bay, houses in nearby Hull, and I also see Alonzo, Hein and myself. Some hikers stand on the periphery before entering, but are still in the reflection. I can even see the Boston skyline miles away, where people must be finishing up work, heading home for the day. Hein confirms my thought even as I try to dodge my own reflection. “Even when you are outside, you are reflected inside the sculpture, so you are already part of it just as you are close to it.” “A New End” will be up in World’s End for a full year.—Kelly Chase