A bust of ill-fated Captain Charles Hunter (1813-1873) in the Library’s Van Alen Gallery.

And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time…
Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot

To Arrive Where We Started, a new exhibition at the Redwood Library and Athenaeum in Newport, RI, explores this theme composed by Eliot. Designed and installed by artist Peter Eudenbach, the exhibition uses the Library’s historic architecture and collections of art, artifacts, and books to create a dialogue between the past and the present. The project embodies themes of travel, exploration, access, and thresholds—concepts relevant to a library such as the Redwood, which is located in one of the nation’s oldest seaports. The exhibition is on view from July 15, 2012, through June 30, 2013.

A book of phrenology from the library’s collection.

Installed throughout the entire building, the project is a series of interventions that use objects such as the original key to the 1750 building, sculpture, 18th-century globes, a ship model, books, and other artifacts selected from the Redwood’s diverse collections. Speaking about the installation, Peter commented,

As we move further into the digital age with its characteristic dematerialization of knowledge, it is easy to forget that books and even words are objects.

Founded in 1747, the Redwood Library and Athenaeum is America’s oldest lending library and the oldest library still operating in its original building. The many additions from the 19th and 20th centuries have left a cumulative structure that is itself a collection.

Conceptual artist Peter Eudenbach arranges the original key to the library above a skylight.

To Arrive Where We Started continues the Library’s mission to perpetuate the dissemination of knowledge and the exploration of ideas.

Beginning at the Library’s original entrance, the installation progresses along an axis from the oldest part of the building through the more recent additions, activating the architecture and creating a dialogue with the present.

Visit Art & Education for a full announcement of the exhibition.

Learn more about Rhode Island’s Redwood Library.

Peter Eudenbach’s approach to sculpture, installation, and video operates between material and metaphor to explore the history of ideas while playing with our expectations of the commonplace. His work has been shown both nationally and internationally at venues such as Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria; Exit Art in New York; and le Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain de Strasbourg, France. A recipient of a Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship, Eudenbach has had solo exhibitions at the Kunstverein Grafschaft Bentheim in Neuenhaus, Germany, and at the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia, in 2009. He lives in Norfolk, Virginia, where he is an Associate Professor of Art at Old Dominion University.

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