Wednesday, November 4, 2015

London Lights: art and architecture

DSC06502Another busy day, with planning sessions over lunch and an evening reception for the new Cambridge class.  Between the two, I had a few hours to burn so I wandered over to the White Cube, ‘a project room for contemporary art’ near the Shard in London.  This month, they are showcasing light sculptures by American artist Robert Irwin and Welsh conceptualist Cerith Wyn Evans.

Both men are exhibiting illuminated works exploring light and colour, installations which the gallery embeds in large, open spaces.  I think that the result is a better complement to Wyn Evans’ works than Irwin’s, but it’s a good chance to compare the two.

The dim empty rooms, the somber opposed vertical lines, made Irwin’s 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 look dull and geometric to me. As a leading artist of the Light and Space movement, he’s created lots of bright engaging works, I wonder whether his sculpture is better suited to Irwin 2x2x2x2viewing outdoors against urban and natural landscapes. 

Inside, it was difficult to evoke connection and feeling from the works.  Standing between red and green markers in the twilight, I was only reminded of sailing the last leg home up a channel in chill late evening.

Wyn Evans used his room to better effect, displaying large tangled sculptures suspended above a polished floor.  A muted industrial soundtrack and potted palms gave the works some context to play off of.  It was fun just walking around the area, looking at light and shadow, the superposition of flowing lines and rigid geometry.

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Outside, dusk had fallen as I headed across London Bridge to the reception atop Riverside House.  The evening light was perfect in Hay's Galleria, along the Thames Path, and from the 9th floor balcony. 

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Tonight, the light felt better embedded in large, open outdoor spaces, reflecting off water and sky, than in any enclosed gallery.

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