The I Flight is a major piece in the ensemble of my work as it attempts to make a broad statement as to the nature of human existence within a man or a woman’s lifespan. It was developed specifically with the lawns of the New Britain Museum in mind, and the memory of its magnificent trees to the left of the entrance. I have felt and tried to equal the challenge of a permanent piece of sculpture whose exterior exposure will give it a continual audience. And I have put into this sculpture things I feel an American audience can particularly appreciate. After 18 years in France and Europe, I have come to feel that these things are more meaningful in an American context where varying concepts of the I Flight are so deeply woven into the fabric of national life.
The I flight is the essential flight of each man or woman through time and space, a flight composed of an infinity of decisions whose sum is individual destiny. The image is seated in two underlying images: that of a celestial body – a comet, a meteorite, through the light path of its mysterious yet determined trajectory; and that of an organic world of human beings, of earthly life, of birds. The birds’ flight capacity is the main spring of the plastic image. A cormorant or a seagull, as he alights on an object, may land on its vertical side, gripping it and then, miraculously and in an instant, right himself on its horizontal surface. This is the essential physical gesture of this steel sculpture and its foundational image, the informing sense of physical skill and tension on which the broader implications or human skill, intellectual and intuitive, are discussed. The greater complexity of the human being, his and her immense perceptive capacities; his or her awesome task of sorting and integrating all those perceptions into form and action, obliged by fundamental biological and spiritual drives, is at the heart of this sculpture.
The presence of the realistic head, significantly extended out beyond the reference to internal thought processes, reflects the relation between two realities, inside and outside. This is an intentional reference to the tension involved in the process of integrating the two, which is a fundamental life process. In establishing the head as the principal point of departure for the observer, the distance between it and the main mass of the sculpture is vital. By its realistic, figurative nature, its expression of simultaneous astonishment and strength, I believe the head will provoke a fundamental, biological identification between the observer and the sculpture. It is an expression of a resolute determination to throw beyond personal preoccupations, observations which I consider to be larger in their import.