30 January 2013
Last updated at 12:56
Shape-shifting shadows, pulsating columns and rooms of glowing colour, all mesmerise the eye in a new exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in London.
Light Show brings together sculptures and installations by artists who manipulate, explore and experiment with the nature of artificial light. The exhibition features 25 works by major international artists from the 1960s to the present, including Dan Flavin, Nancy Holt, Doug Wheeler, Olaf Eliasson and Ann Veronica Janssen.
“All the artists have many different types of approaches, use different technology, reference different kinds of things in their work - but all of them use light in its very special capacity as a medium that can fill, dwell and inhabit space and profoundly reconfigure our experience of that space,” says curator Cliff Lauson.
Many of the works showcase cutting-edge lighting technologies. American artist Jim Campbell has used 1,000 LED bulbs controlled by customised electronic circuit boards all suspended on a grid of wires attached to the ceiling, for his work Exploded View (Commuters).
Chilean artist Ivan Navarro uses neon and mirrors to alter perspective and perception, creating an illusion of infinite space, in works such as Burden (Lotte World Tower).
Anthony McCall’s work entitled You and I, Horizontal, is one of the immersive environmental installations on show. Using a video projector, haze machine and computer scripting as its medium, the work is effectively a large sculpture made of light that visitors can move round and interact with.
“No artist was more pioneering or influential for his use of light than Dan Flavin,” says the Hayward Gallery. In the minimal florescent sculptures Untitled (to the innovator of Wheeling Peachblow), Flavin combined daylight, yellow and pink fluorescent tubes to create what he described as “the colour mix of a lovely illusion”.
The installation by Cerith Wyn Evans entitled "S=U=P=E=R=S=T=R=U=C=T=U=R=E" emits a dominating presence. The columns of obsolete incandescent strips light up and dim generating an intermittent heat. Wyn Evans explains that “because of the way they are made to behave, they are relatively invisible". "They are in suspension, between heaven and earth,” she says.
Sensory disorientation is highlighted most acutely by Conrad Shawcross’s Slow Arc inside a Cube IV. Constantly moving shadows are projected from a central rotating arm and bulb, housed within a mechanised steel and aluminium cube. They swell and recede, playing with the viewer’s perception of space.
Katie Paterson’s Light bulb to Simulate Moonlight attempts to recreate moonlight through artificial means. The Scottish artist collaborates with scientists in the production of her work. The light spectrum of the full moon was measured and the temperature and amperage were translated and used in a specially adapted halogen bulb.
Eight blue neon tubes connected by electric cable drape from the ceiling to the ground in a work entitled Lamentable, by French artist Francois Morellet. As a result, he says, “the beautiful circle hangs down in a pitiful way".
“We have some amazing site-specific work here... the artists and their studios have been really generous in working with us in designing them specific to the Hayward space, and we have some amazing re-creations which haven’t been seen for decades,” says curator Cliff Lauson. Light Show is at the Hayward Gallery in London, 30 January - 28 April 2013.