This extensive exhibition explores the versatility of light as a sculptural medium through 20 installations from international artists working throughout the second half of the twentieth century to the present day, as well as site-specific works re-created specially for the exhibition. In conjunction with Light Show is Luminous which will take over other spaces in the MCA with images from Australian artists: shooting star spirits and geometric patterns of light dancing upon gallery walls, infinity windows and atmospheric environments carved into the architecture.
The earliest works in Light Show derive from the 1960s, when new connections were coming together between the arts and technology, and artists all over the world began to study the power of light to transform architectural spaces and alter our understanding of these. Within this section are the minimalist flourescents of Dan Flavin, the neons of French artist François Morellet, and works in industrially-produced colour from David Batchelor. Environmental installations arrive from artists across the decades – from Modernist-influenced pieces by well known Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez to ambient zones of colour by James Turrell, and further works from Anthony McCall and Ann Veronica Janssens among others.
Each era of artwork displays a welcoming of new technologies, as works hum and flicker with state-of-the-art computer-controlled LEDs – including Leo Villareal’s enormous cylinder of light, comprising 19,600 LEDs – as well as an appreciation for the everyday in more experimental materials such as recycled lightboxes and street lights, down to a single theatre spotlight. In varying media, broadly investigating into a common theme, the ground-breaking works Light Show will bathe their visitors in a continuously changing atmosphere and hypnotise through a play upon perception.
Light Show, 16 April-5 July, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, 140 George Street, The Rocks, NSW 2000, Australia. For more information visit www.mca.com.au
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1. Dan Flavin, untitled (to the “innovator” of Wheeling Peachblow) 1966-1968 © 2015 Stephen Flavin/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London.