Light Sculpture

13Sep11

Our first lecture in Video Sculpture focused on the importance of light as a medium in 20th and 21st century art. We briefly looked at some examples of Renaissance and Luminism art, and the visual effects of light and color, and we discussed the physics of light, and the physiological and psychological effects of color theory. We also looked at the styles of Futurism, Cubism and Installation art, and discussed the effects of movement and contrast in 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional works that are oftentimes site-specific.

My two favorite artists we examined this week are Dan Flavin and Olafur Eliasson.

Flavin uses fluorescent light as a medium for creating light sculptures. His work mixes light and construction of geometric shapes and objects, sometimes blending colors together and other times filling a gallery’s interior or corridor with a single color. He built interiors that are white and reflective to give maximum attention to the lighting.

I like how Flavin’s light sculptures explore the characteristics of color, as if setting a “mood”, ranging from intensity to peacefulness. I’ve always loved stained-glass art because of the way the color patterns reflect on surfaces when light is shining brightly through, and Flavin’s work seems like a modern interpretation of this same effect.

Eliasson uses water, mist, mirrors, and lighting effects to transform public spaces and galleries into experiences. He really takes into account the physical space, and has built incredibly large works, for example filling the hall at the Tate Modern with his Weather Project, and building huge Waterfalls in New York City harbors.

My favorite installation of his was the indoor sun at the Tate Modern, in 2003, called ‘The Weather’. Even though the installation did not give off real physical heat, it made people feel like they were actually at the beach.

In particular, I really like Eliasson’s use of water to play with representations of natural and artificial light, as some of my work has also been using organic material, such as water, in physical computing and sensor networks.

See my Channels project from 2010.


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