RANSOM ROOM

RANSOM ROOM is a continually evolving installation exploring the ramifications of cultural destruction. In this project for SculptureCenter, Glynn focuses on a moment of total loss – the melting down of a large cache of precious metal artifacts during the Spanish conquest of the Incan empire.

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RANSOM ROOM is a continually evolving installation exploring the ramifications of cultural destruction. In this project for SculptureCenter, Glynn focuses on a moment of total loss – the melting down of a large cache of precious metal artifacts during the Spanish conquest of the Incan empire.

For RANSOM ROOM, Glynn worked from the scant and conflicting historical narratives of the Spanish conquest. In 1532, Inca emperor Atahualpa was seized and held as a prisoner by the Spanish conquistadors, led by Francisco Pizarro. In an attempt to buy his freedom, the emperor offered to fill a 17 x 22 foot room, up to the height of his outstretched arm, with gold, and then twice over with silver. The Inca valued precious metals for their ritual and ceremonial usage; for the Spanish, these objects represented the potential to pay off their debt to the Crown. Thousands of individual objects were carried long distances and gathered in the room. In spite of the delivery of the ransom, Atahualpa was executed on the pretext of seditious intentions, and the Inca Empire rapidly unraveled. The artifacts were subsequently melted down into ingots to maximize space on the ships returning to Spain.

For RANSOM ROOM, Glynn translates this mass of precious metal into red sculpture wax, traditionally used in lost-wax casting of bronze, by creating wax surrogates for the lost gold objects. When the show opens on June 1, visitors will find SculptureCenter’s ground floor rear gallery re-sized to a 17 x 22 foot stucco room staged as a storied palace in Cuzco with a replica of a fountain, cement corn stalks punctuated with golden maize, and the walls lined with wax panels. Over several weeks, wax objects- vessels, cups, plates-will accumulate, having been cast and hand carried from various studio locations in New York until the room is filled. During the final week of the exhibition, the collected objects will then be melted down into ingots and eventually displayed on pallets. A written record will document the objects that have been removed from the room.

  • RANSOM ROOM: (Stage I: Golden Maize and Golden Panels, after the image of a mythic palace in Cuzco), 2014
    SculptureCenter, Installation view
    17 x 22 x 10 feet
    Photo: Jason Mandella
  • (Stage I: Golden Maize), 2014
    Detail view
    Red sculpture wax, gold mica powder, plaster, steel, stucco, burlap and wood
    Photo: Jason Mandella
  • (Stage I: Golden Maize), 2014
    Detail view
    Red sculpture wax, gold mica powder, plaster, steel, stucco, burlap and wood
    Photo: Jason Mandella
  • (Stage I: Golden Panels), 2014
    Detail view
    Red sculpture wax, gold mica powder, plaster, steel, stucco, burlap and wood
    Photo: Jason Mandella
  • (Stage I: Golden Panels), 2014
    Detail view
    Red sculpture wax, gold mica powder, plaster, steel, stucco, burlap and wood
    Photo: Jason Mandella
  • (Stage I: Golden Panels), 2014
    Detail view
    Red sculpture wax, gold mica powder, plaster, steel, stucco, burlap and wood
    Photo: Jason Mandella
  • RANSOM ROOM:(Stage II: Accumulation), 2014
    SculptureCenter, Installation view
    17 x 22 x 10 feet
    Photo: Jason Mandella
  • RANSOM ROOM:(Stage II: Accumulation), 2014
    SculptureCenter, Installation view
    17 x 22 x 10 feet
    Photo: Jason Mandella
  • (Stage II: Accumulation), 2014
    Detail view
    Red sculpture wax, gold mica powder, plaster, steel, stucco, burlap and wood
    Photo: Jason Mandella
  • RANSOM ROOM:(Stage III: Meltdown), 2014
    SculptureCenter, Installation view
    17 x 22 x 10 feet
    Photo: Jason Mandella
  • (Stage III: Meltdown) To Hernando de Soto, 2014
    14 ingots cast from the RANSOM ROOM
    Gold mica powder and red sculpture wax
    28 x 812 x 412 inches installed
    Photo: Brica Wilcox
  • (Stage III: Meltdown) To Hernando Pizarro, 2014
    25 ingots cast from the RANSOM ROOM
    Gold mica powder and red sculpture wax
    40 x 812 x 412 inches installed
    Photo: Brica Wilcox
  • (Stage III: Meltdown) Juan de Porras, 2014
    285 ingots cast from the RANSOM ROOM
    Gold mica powder and red sculpture wax
    60 x 4212 x 9 inches installed
    Photo: Jason Mandella
  • (Stage III: Meltdown) Juan de Porras, 2014
    285 ingots cast from the RANSOM ROOM
    Gold mica powder and red sculpture wax
    60 x 4212 x 9 inches installed
    Photo: Jason Mandella
  • (Stage III: Meltdown) To the Conquistadors, 2014
    295 ingots cast from the RANSOM ROOM
    Gold mica powder and red sculpture wax
    60 x 34 x 712 inches installed
    Photo: Jason Mandella
  • (Stage III: Meltdown) To the Church, 2014
    3 ingots cast from the RANSOM ROOM
    Gold mica powder and red sculpture wax
    8 x 812 x 3 inches installed
    Photo: Brica Wilcox
  • (Stage III: Meltdown) To the Conquistadors, 2014
    295 ingots cast from the RANSOM ROOM
    Gold mica powder and red sculpture wax
    60 x 34 x 712 inches installed
    Photo: Jason Mandella
  • (Stage III: Meltdown) To the Thirteen Conquistadors who Crossed the Line with Pizarro, 2014
    92 ingots cast from the RANSOM ROOM
    Gold mica powder and red sculpture wax
    36 x 812 x 712 inches installed
    Photo: Brica Wilcox
  • (Stage III: Meltdown) To the Thirteen Conquistadors who Crossed the Line with Pizarro, 2014
    92 ingots cast from the RANSOM ROOM
    Gold mica powder and red sculpture wax
    36 x 812 x 712 inches installed
    Photo: Brica Wilcox
  • (Stage III: Meltdown) To Francisco de Jerez, and More to the said Jerez and Pedro Sancho for Writing, 2014
    8 ingots cast from the RANSOM ROOM
    Gold mica powder and red sculpture wax
    16 x 812 x 412 inches installed
    Photo: Brica Wilcox