An iconic Columbus work of art is temporarily out of commission as city employees work to repair one of its central pieces.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Department has temporarily shut down the “Chaos I” sculpture located in The Commons at 300 Washington St. Repairs are underway to the mirrored diamond piece of “Chaos I”, a large moving sculpture which sits in the middle of the lower lobby, Commons manager Shanda Sasse said.

The diamond, which is located near the top of the 30-foot sculpture, has been completely removed for the repairs, Sasse said. Allowing “Chaos I” to run without the diamond would jeopardize customer safety, which led to the city’s decision to completely shut the sculpture down, she said.

“We’re working to get that maintenance done, but it will be off until it is finished,” she said.

“Chaos I” was designed by Swiss artist Jean Tinguely in 1974. Cummins industrialist J. Irwin Miller commissioned the sculpture in 1971, along with his wife, Xenia Miller, and his sister, Clementine Tangeman.

The sculpture is composed of various pieces of scrap metal. It is the focal point of the monthly Chaotic Tuesday events, where representatives from Landmark Columbus are on hand to answer questions about its design and designer.

The mirrored diamond piece rotates in its spot on “Chaos I” at different speeds throughout the day, mimicking the various speeds people move during the day.

The repairs will not have any effect on customers entering or exiting The Commons, and the sculpture has not been roped off, Sasse said. However, none of its pieces will move or rotate during the repair process, which began last week.

The rest of The Commons lobby remains open during the maintenance. Sasse said she does not know yet how long the repairs will take.

About the sculpture

Chaos I

Artist: Jean Tinguely, Swiss

Commissioned: 1971

Completed: 1974

Height: 30 feet

Weight: 7 tons

Material: Scrap metal, assemblage

Function: 12 motors programmed to run at various sequences

Source: Columbus Area Arts Council

Author photo
Olivia Covington is a reporter for The Republic. She can be reached at ocovington@therepublic.com or 812-379-5712.