My fascination with light and it’s effects on our psychology and spatial perception began when I was a student. This interest and awareness only heightened since becoming a new mum a few months ago – through observing our newborn and also other babies, it became quite evident that light has a powerful effect on all of us from the very moment we are born. Humans are naturally drawn to light like bees are to honey. The light has an innate ability to speak to viewers without words, impacting the eye, body, and mind with an almighty spiritual force.

Although I am a huge fan of beautiful fittings which capture, cradle and bounce light within interiors, today I wanted to explore a more conceptual side of this medium – the idea of projected light as the means of manipulating space. For this purpose I turned to a handful of artists who celebrate this very idea. Given the transient nature of their work, I find it quite difficult to describe exactly what these people do. In essence, they create immersive installations where light generates mesmerising scenes and adds an illusionary dimension to space. In other words, by making light palpable through their work, these artist become the creators of virtual reality. The etherial quality of these imaginary installations is powerful, fascinating and at times, confusing. Just like a newborn, I am simply unable to look away, even though most of the time I probably don’t quite understand the “how” nor the “why”.

 

Probably the best-known artist in his field, James Turrell uses light as s primary medium in his work. Since the 1960s, Turrell has been devoted to exploring the diverse manifestations of this immaterial medium and working towards a new, space-defining form of light art.

By manipulating light rather than paint or sculptural material, James Turrell pioneered an art that was not an object but an experience in perception. His work examined the very nature of seeing.


 

New York based artist Anthony McCall creates striking sculptural installations that explore the concept of solid light which overtakes the greater darkened space. These images are from McCall’s most recent exhibition titled Five Minutes of Pure Sculpture on show at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum Für Genenwart in Berlin, Germany. Blinding small streams of light pour down from the ceiling revealing a thin haze, while the floor displays luminescent kinetic shapes drawn by the light projected from above.


 

Madrid born and based artist Pablo Valbuena follows the illusory principles of trompe l’oeil to “extended” architecture and manipulate space by the means of projected light. See my previous post on this exciting artist over here.


 

Milan-based artist Carlo Bernardini creates fiber optics installations that transform dark spaces into abstract light environments. His site-specific installations are based on triangular forms, where lines pass through walls, floors, façades and even between buildings. Each installation has its own precise viewpoint, from which it can be seen as a two-dimensional form, following principles similar to anamorphic illusions.


 

These images are from Canon Neoreal installation (previously) at Milan Design Week 2012. This immersive installation was composed of two parts – ‘Spring’, developed by japanese architect Ryuji Nakamura (previously) and video artists Nobuhiro Shimura, and ‘Fall in Pop’, a collaboration between mintdesigns fashion studio and Nobuhiro Shimura.

‘Spring’ (above) consisted of an 8m wide x 5m long x 2m tall structure, composed of latticed piano wire onto which images depicting ‘the life-force that inhabits the forest’ were projected. ‘Fall in pop’ (below) was a screen structure formed from folded, overlapping fabric, on which a cascade of coloured lights were projected.

 


[Images courtesy of Carlo BernardiniPablo ValbuenaJames Turrell, Interview Magazinedesignboom, Neoreal 2012.]


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