Photo Courtesy David Biro
“Ascent,” the most recent and largest free-standing installation artwork by Cleveland artist David Biro located at 4307 Detroit Ave. next to Cleveland Bagel Co., is a public piece on display and for the community to interact with 24/7 through the end of November.
One might have noticed some rather engaging installations taking place on the spot over the years, but “Ascent” has been a real eye-catcher with its elegant, overlapping, ornate floral patterns resembling some sort of temple of worship dropped here from some distant time and place.
The public art piece, which took four days to erect and construct, was built from more 60 sheets of CNC-cut sanded birch plywood, 10 pounds of GRK hardware, and Simpson Strong tie plates across the 2 x 6 and 2 x 4 lumber frame, giving it the fortitude to withstand the harsh Cleveland winds that can come ripping off of Lake Erie this time of year. The sculpture sits on Biro’s family's business property (Biro Sales Inc.) which has has operated since 1950.
Biro, along with other innovators, aim to meld technology, art and science to further build on traditional forms of fine art. Biro collaborated with associates from his work as an aerospace engineering consultant to start CLEDZN Studios, a design and custom fabrication business for large scale public artworks.
I interviewed Biro to get some insight into this elaborate setup and what had hatched such a scrupulous undertaking.
As for the title, “I wanted people to go on a visual, inclusive journey through space and time that started with nature and ascended to higher form of self-knowledge represented in geometric patterns ultimately leading to the pondering of creation and destruction,” Biro stated.
With a Bachelors of Geological Science from Cleveland State University, and a Post Baccalaureate from Gemological Institute of America, Biro is no stranger to understanding form, tools and materials.
Aside from his formal training, he has a passion for art and architecture. “I’ve traveled all over the world and I’ve been a student of architecture my entire life, said Biro. “I have an extremely vivid imagination which produces these visions of these structures. I input into my imagination what I want to blend in philosophy, culture, design, style, aesthetics, etc. and my mind starts outputting structures.”
Biro has been using what he calls ‘micros-climates’ to encourage Clevelanders to convalesce and to find a sense of respite from the frenzy of daily life and to come together to meditate in a space which offers a sense of serenity, but also in order to interact with the community.
“A space to virtually have any sort of pop-up event that can be thought of that would need space,” said Biro. “From networking, to product a launch or pitch, small craft fair, aerial performances, and (as has been seen) a music venue.”
He has been using public free pieces such “Ascent” to host events, including partnering with local musician Megan Stepka for a three-day event where five musicians live-streamed from “Ascent” using it as an informal performance space. He's also hosted pop-up craft and market events on the site.
I have been noticing people pulling over to snap pictures, sitting down to take commune or just observe how the light filters and casts shadows across the parking lot like some exotic creature silhouetted by the autumnal sun. I went to visit the space and one gets a feeling of being in some sort of ancient Buddhist temple.
The structure comes to a peak reminiscent of a pagoda. “It was an easy choice to want to create an art installation that would resemble a non-denominational Temple,” Biro said. “A place that would spark joy, but also a place to reflect and give hope for the future during this dark time. A piece of art that would be conducive of inclusion and participation.”