Under the typical gallery bright lights these sculptures from artist Diet Wiegman may seem like innocuous piles of trash. However, these ‘piles’ are meticulously arranged and precisely lit. The resulting shadows resemble famous works of art, icons, and images. He creates coveted works of art through refuse in something as elusive as a shadow. Though various types of ‘light sculptures’ have made their way through art in the past few years, Wiegman is a veteran. He has been using shadows and light as a medium for nearly five decades. [via]
The sculptures of Mihoko Ogaki are deeply felt. Her sculptures often deal with the heavy ideas of life and death. This series titled Milky Ways follows suit. Plastic sculptures of people inhabit darkened rooms. Lit from within, the bodies illuminate the surrounding walls and ceiling with a starry-like pattern. Each body carries a universe within it, projecting it out onto the world around it – it isn’t difficult to draw out a metaphor from there. It is further interesting to contrast the dark unlit plastic bodies in the well lit gallery against the glowing beings alone in the middle of the dark room. [via]
Luminaria by Architects of Air is a touring inflatable structure. The ‘building’ has made stops internationally since 1992. Visitors to the Luminaria remove their shoes and enter an air lock. Once through the airlock visitors are free to roam the structure. The Luminaria is built of inflated PVC. Sunlight from outside shines through the various colors of PVC creating an otherworldly glow. The highly saturated colors coupled with the gently curving walls and floor give the Luminaria a subtle biological nature. Interestingly one visitor describes the structure as ” Somewhere between a womb and a cathedral.”
The work of Stéphane Vigny is often humorous in its subversiveness. Vigny often undermines the purpose of objects to create amusing but thought provoking new ‘purposes’ (like a BMW turned into playground equipment). Other times Vigny alters objects in a way that make them profoundly useless (such as a chair on wheels the size of the room it sits in). Commodities and inanimate objects are typically entirely defined by their purpose, what they do. Vigny’s installations, though, force viewers to set aside their expectations and approach the familiar in a new way.
It is difficult to define the Lightwork series of Conrad Shawcross – sculpture, installation, perhaps even performance. His pieces are typically large machines that move and spin bright lights in a manner that is somehow at once mechanistic and human. The sculptures are built of elaborate machinery similar in appearance to factory robots. However, in a way Shawcross juxtaposes the utilitarian appearance of his machines with their art-making purpose.
He says, “I really like them as unfinished objects. The minute they turn, you are left in a much easier position of ‘ok, that’s about a spinning light bulb’. But before they operate, you have to be more aggressively thoughtful to try and work out what they are for.” (via)
Carlos Cruz Diez‘ choice medium in his installation Chromosaturation is simply color. While we’re accustomed to seeing many different colors constantly and simultaneously, Diez uses only three colors presented one at a time as a departure point: red, green, and blue. Diez saturates a room with one of these single primary colors of light. The color floods from room to room, interacting with other colors, creating entirely new hues. The light immerses the gallery space so thoroughly that the color almost takes on a physical aspect. In his statement, Diez says:
“The Chromosaturation can act as a trigger, activating in the viewer the notion of color as a material or physical situation, going into space without the aid of any form or even without any support, regardless of cultural beliefs.”
Spanish artist Javier Riera produces what he calls “light and geometry interventions” on landscapes. Using powerful light Riera projects geometric patterns on to natural vistas. The projections can appear to transform a treeline into a two dimensional plane. At other times the light seems to add strict geometric shapes to the wilderness. The light and patterns disrupt the perception of the view they cover. Riera’s transposing geometric patterns onto natural scenery partly alludes to language, matter, and the way the two interact.
Almost a year ago, David Abir installed a sculpture in the LA Mart’s basement that forever rattled my experience on Earth. And now, after some time has passed, he has constructed several more structures that have only gone on to further enhance the feeling I grasped onto when I initially saw them. Sadly, it’s pretty much impossible to photograph the pieces correctly, since part of their mystique is the low ambient light surrounding the room. And when the flash goes off on your camera, you’re basically voiding yourself the enjoyment of seeing the greatest magic trick performed correctly.