Wired Up

Wired Up

This summer, shortly following Reunion weekend, we received a note from an anonymous Middlebury alum with a brief account of personal musings they had shared with friends detailing their impressions of Fred Eerdekens’ illuminated copper wire installation some need some feed… which is mounted above the museum’s reception desk.

As Middlebury prepares for Homecoming, another weekend that often finds many generations of alums returning to campus in search of new Middlebury experiences, it seems a good time to share this anonymous note in hopes that it resonates with others who visit the museum and encounter Eerdekens’ work.

As always, we look forward to hearing thoughts and reflections from all corners of our audience.

A Note from an Anonymous Middlebury Alum

During my recent Reunion at Middlebury College, I visited the Middlebury College Museum of Art, part of the Mahaney Arts Center. In the museum’s lobby was a display of words written in copper wire that cast shadows on the wall. I stopped to read and to take a photo, then put these words to paper so I would remember them.

The label for the work reads:

“Fred Eerdekens is best known for creating site-specific installations in wood, wire, and light. He has been praised for calling attention to the insubstantiality of language: in his work, words’ meanings depend upon the conditions under which they are read. [In this installation], the artist shaped metal strips into graceful swirls. When lit from a particular angle, these fanciful squiggles cast readable shadows on the wall. The combination of abstract forms and recognizable text creates a playful ambiguity.”

According to the museum’s Chief Curator, Jason Vrooman ’03, the work is an audience favorite.

Pictures can’t capture the full impact of seeing this artwork in person, but these images from other sculptures by Eerdekens help demonstrate the magic that happens when light hits his copper wire squiggles, and the resulting shadows form words on a blank surface.

The following are the words that had such an impact on me. Look closely to see the difference between the words cast in shadow on the wall and the wire twists above them.

Some need

Some feed

Some kneel

Some deal

Some teach

Some preach

Some hate

Some create

Fred Eerdekens (Belgian, born 1951), Some need some feed some kneel some deal some teach some preach some hate some create, 2014, copper wire and light, approximately 78 x 52 inches. Collection of Middlebury College Museum of Art. Purchase with funds provided by the Reva B. Seybolt ’72 Art Acquisition Fund, the G. Crossan Seybolt ’77 Art Acquisition Fund, the Foster Family Art Acquisition Fund, and the Calvert H. Seybolt ’80 Art Acquisition Fund, 2015.009.

So few words, but words that generate thoughts upon thoughts, choices to make, even for those of us celebrating a return to college decades after graduation.

How does this work of art speak to you? We welcome your comments.

Related Context

Eerdekens’ some need some feed… was also featured as part of our 2022 summer exhibition Text ⇆ Image which highlighted works of art that explore the relationships between words, text, meaning, and imagery.

AuthorDouglas Perkins

Douglas Perkins '94 is Associate Director for Operations and Finance at the Middlebury College Museum of Art and steward of the museum's digital presence.

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