Published: June 19, 2017
Sanctuary, by Mathew Vivirito, was constructed using wooden dowels that interact at thousands of points.
Sanctuary, by Mathew Vivirito, was constructed using wooden dowels that interact at thousands of points.

The University Libraries are proud to announce a new art installation in the Norlin Library. The sculpture, entitled Sanctuary, was donated to CU Boulder’s Department of Religious Studies by the artist, Matthew Vivirito. He spoke with the libraries about the piece, his inspiration, and his process.

“The piece incorporates elements of design from religions spanning millennia from all over the world,” said Vivirito. “The subtleness of these intertwined elements creates a non-denominational sanctuary, one that can be connected to religions from all over the world. In this sense, the work is challenging the exclusivity of groups often seen in modern society. The work offers a mental reflection of a simple question: ‘Where are all people, of all beliefs and backgrounds, of all faiths and ethnicities, of all genders and preferences not only welcome, but safe from judgement?’”

Vivirito said he was inspired by “the physicality of working with material,” saying, “[it] develops technique and conscious awareness. This is a personal development, but one that I utilize to demonstrate the inherently unaware mental space we can find ourselves in. Present, conscious, awareness of motion is a fundamental aspect of learning. Yet, it is often brought into the unconscious, as we routinely enact the same motions with an inactive awareness.”

Vivirito is a originally from the Midwest, is currently working on a a bachelor’s in Art History and another in Fine Arts in Sculpture and Post Studio Practice at CU. When asked about his process for creation in general and in regards to Sanctuary, Vivirito said, “My work is generated through repetitive and, often, laborious motions. This draws on the fundamental interactions between myself and the material, resulting in a contemplative and assiduous practice generating reflection of the physical and mental self. This demonstrates a conscious attempt in moving backwards, to a physical relationship between humans and practice, ourselves and our thoughts. Sanctuary, itself, uses a meticulous and repetitive construction method in which wooden dowels interact at thousands of points.”

The sculpture will be showing in the University Libraries throughout the fall semester and potentially longer. As the heart of CU Boulder’s campus, Norlin Library was identified as the ideal location for the installation. Beside providing essential scholarly resources and user-centered services, the libraries aim to provide inclusive spaces to the university, local, and global communities. Vivirito’s Sanctuary illustrates that third vision of the libraries. You can see Sanctuary in person on the Second Floor East Stairwell Landing, in Norlin Library.