Restoring Ex-Static: A Complex System in Flux

A lot has happened lately in the bustling city of Atlanta as residents enjoy the last gifts of summer produce and the first of autumn’s crunchy leaves, and alongside the recent ELEVATE programming, our city had the privilege of seeing nationally renowned artist Maria Artemis unveil her artwork, Ex-Static, in its newly restored state.  The Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, in collaboration with Building Four Fabrications, has restored Maria’s 1996 sculptural array to its original radiance.

The 1996 Centennial Olympic Games were a pivotal point in Atlanta’s history, not only because our city hosted people from all over the world to participate in such a momentous tradition, but also because, during the six years of preparation for such an influx of visitors, Atlanta became further culturally fortified with new structures and works of public art, citywide.  The City of Atlanta accessed upwards of forty new sculptural and architectural public artworks in 1996, Ex-Static being one of those.  Commissioned by the Corporation for Olympic Development in Atlanta (CODA), Ex-Static showcases marvelous feats of engineering, housed within aesthetic fluidity.  Examining Ex-Static is like walking into a complex idea in motion.

Crafted, in part, out of repurposed airplane components donated by Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems, the artwork is dedicated to Artemis’s father, a former engineer at Lockheed who worked on the two aircrafts (the C-5 and the C-141) that were the source of materials for this installation.  From the artist’s website: “These technically sophisticated elements, engineered for another purpose, are reworked. The surfaces have been polished, sandblasted or left with minimal cleaning, and sealed. The beauty of the interior structure has been revealed and emphasized by contrasting paint.  The title of the work comes from a stencil found on one of the engine pylons, which read: Ex-Static Test Program.”

After experiencing decades of urban activity, this landmark was due for some serious maintenance.  Maria Artemis generously consulted on the restoration project with Frank Yoculan of Building Four Fabrications, and Frank spearheaded the hands-on restoration efforts.  Over the course of months, he and his team performed refinishing and intensive repair on various segments of the artwork, in order to realign the artwork with Maria Artemis’s original vision.  Funding for this restoration project was provided by the RENEW TSPLOST Infrastructure Bond.  Located within the median triangle at the intersection of Pine Street NE and West Peachtree Street NW, this revitalized artwork is now open and available for public viewing and exploration, just one block north of Civic Center MARTA Station.