Concept: Reigelman was drawn to unique origins of Louisville as a portage site and the importance the Ohio River played in the development of the area. During this time, most goods that moved up and down the river were secured in hand-crafted wooden barrels. They were an ideal vessel because they offered a water-tight seal, an individual was able transport barrels around the falls without assistance, and they stacked neatly in massive pyramidal forms. As the flow of river traffic elevated Louisville's riverfront became a landscape of barrels with each barrel-head clearly marked and colored based on the contents within. For Reigelman, the barrel became the obvious symbol of this riverfront city. Barrels housed the personal belongings of entire communities traveling enormous distances for new opportunities as well as an array of goods by local craftspeople seeking new and distant markets. And while barrels are familiar in Louisville because of the local distilleries that dot the urban landscape Reigelman hoped that his approach to this iconic object would help pedestrians view this common vessel through a refreshingly different lens. By combining salvaged wooden barrels with sleek saturated mirrored surfaces, Upriver/Downriver highlights the unique history of this post-industrial river community while reflecting its forward-thinking culture.
Upriver/Downriver is located on an enormous grassy parcel wedged between the Ohio River and an industrial area in downtown Louisville. As the location for the original Louisville settlement, this area was an ideal location for an installation meant to be a testament to early river travelers. The location also offered many unique vantage points for travelers; pedestrians walking, biking or driving are able to see the project. Most importantly the remoteness of the area forces viewers to take a journey to the site. The project is situated on the parcel on a perfect North/South axis which is intended to exaggerate the East/West (Upriver/Downriver) experience. As pedestrians approach the secluded installation from the East they will see a saturated reflected blue surface complimented and contrasted by aged wood barrels. As they walk around the installation they will view the multi-colored Western facing barrel-heads. The shift in color from one side to the other is also intended to exaggerate the experience of East/West (Upriver/Downriver) experience. The blue facade was chosen to represent water, which is heightened when the sun shines on the blue panels and reflected blue light shrouds the area around the installation. The multi-colored side was chosen the represent the many items that were contained within barrels as they traveled along the Ohio River and through Louisville. This side also offers wonderful reflected light that drenches passersby in vivid colors as they investigate the sculpture.
Process: Upriver/Downriver was fabricated entirely on location utilizing local suppliers and manufacturers. 21 American Oak barrels were coopered by a local (and largest in the United State) Cooperage, Speyside. Each barrel weights approximately 200lbs. and is secured with 6 steel hoops which are pressed into position with over 1,500 psi and secured into the barrel with Stainless Steel screws. Then the barrels are slowly stacked and welded together. The welded web structure consists of over 200 pieces of 4"x1/4" Steel rod that are MIG welded in over 400 locations. The entire structure, extending over 12' in the air and weighing over 4,200 lbs. rests atop two 16'x6"x6" wooden rails which are connected to six 12"x36" concrete footers. Then 42 colored acrylic panels were attached to the wooden barrel heads using Stainless Steel nails and Heavy Duty Exterior Grade Construction Adhesive. It took a fabrication team of 4, 10 days to complete the installation. The final work stands approximately 12' tall, 14' wide and 3' deep.