In 1972, when the Seattle Arts Commission was only one year old, Ted Jonsson answered our agency’s call for a work of art involving a great quantity of water—one that uses water as the primary sculptural element. In 1975, Jonsson created Chimera, a fountain artwork that continues to fascinate us today with the forceful and beautiful jets of water that blast from its two curved, stainless-steel pipes. The sculpture’s pipes begin at either end of a pool of water and meet at the pool’s center, curving upward in two “S” shapes. Mirroring one another, they create the symmetrical form of a figure eight. Water erupts out of the top of each curved pipe in the center of the pool and splashes away toward the sides of the pool. The artwork is located near the entrance of Seattle Public Utilities’ Operations Control Center, 2700 Airport Way South.
The artist writes, “The fountain’s concept is that of huge polished stainless steel pipes in a sculptural form extended by the shape of water projected out of two intricately designed orifices. These increase the illusion of tremendous volumes of water.”
The next time you’re in the SoDo district, stop at the Operations Control Center to check out this dramatic sculpture.
Ted Jonsson’s commissioned artworks can be found throughout the state of Washington and in other states including California, Maryland and Alaska.
Watch a video of Jonssson talking about the artwork here.
The artwork was funded by Seattle Water Department construction funds (now Seattle Public Utilities).
-Joan Peterson, Public Art
IMAGES: Ted Jonsson, Chimera, 1975, stainless-steel pipe, 10’H x 24’W x 5.5’D. Located at Seattle Public Utilities’ Operations Control Center, 2700 Airport Way South.
Weekly Art Hit is featuring artworks every week from the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and 2000s. to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the city’s public art program.
Leave a Reply