"Leu-enkephalin Flow / Fountain of Tears"

Thom Cicchelli 's avatar Thom Cicchelli

Four aspects of my piece are particularly noteworthy: First, I believe the surprising juxtaposition of beauty and elegance with the harsher reality leaves what I hope will be a lasting and profound impression on observers. As they approach, visitors to the Ford Museum reflecting pool see what appears to be a graceful, but unusual, tiered fountain that begs a closer look. Only when they draw near do they see that most of the fountain is constructed of vintage glass and crystal ashtrays -- objects that helped define (and for some, continue to define) a culture of cool sophistication, while perpetuating addiction, disease and death. This plays into my view that art should be unexpected, thought provoking, and at times, even startling and discomforting. Second, the message of my piece is universal and personal. Everyone knows about the allure and dangers of smoking, and everyone in one way or another has suffered its consequences. Sadly, everyone attending ArtPrize will know at least one person -- a family member or friend -- who has succumbed to nicotine addiction. The fountain of water, like flowing tears, is meant to be soothing and comforting, while offering a way to remember the people we have lost. Third, I hope my project tells at least two tales, one cautionary and one inspirational. I hope my fountain will serve as a deterrent to anyone contemplating starting or continuing to smoke, while celebrating and congratulating those who have managed the extraordinarily difficult process of quitting. Last, my piece is, to the best of my knowledge, one of a kind. (Research on the topic of human tears explained a difference in tears we cry. Tears brought on by emotion have an additional hormone Leu-enkephalin "a natural pain killer." This explains why people feel better after a good cry.)

Entry Details
  • Art form: Installation
  • Depth: 6'
  • Medium: Glass / Acrylic
  • Width: 12'
  • Year created: 2016
  • Height: 7'