Light and Space // Part 2 – On LED`s and neon light.

 

Based on my previous article on similarities of lighting techniques in photographs and painting (Read here: http://icpbardmfa.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/light-and-space-part-1-a-short-history-of-different-lights/) this second part of my Light and Space series presents some interesting artists whose main subject is light itself.

Some of the first artists that started to use light as the main subject of their art was Group Zero from Düsseldorf. Heinz Mack Otto Piene and Günther Uecker, the members of Zero were tired of the Nachkriegskunst (post-war-art) and started to look for a new beginning. They named it the Hour Zero. Their kinetic and puristic light sculptures and pictures are based on the ideology of pure light and emancipation from the classical genres of art. (http://www.zerofoundation.de/works.html)

Mario Merz(1925-2003, Milan/Italy) started to make art during the second world war. Many of his installations were made of neon lights and fluorescent lamps combined with every day objects like water bottles and raincoats.

The American Artist Dan Flavin (1933-1996) created many of his installations with commercially available fluorecent light fixtures. He can be seen as one of the founders of minimalism. The way he used color and light influenced many artist as well as architects and designers. Before he went to art school he worked as an air weather meteorological technician.

Waltraut Cooper (1937, Austria), has studied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics before she became an artist. Her light sculptures are based on color, fluorescent lights, neon and glass. Her light and sound installations interact with architecture in private and public space and concentrate on the perception of room and space.

Bruce Naumann (1941, Indiana) who works in several disciplines worked as an engineer for an Electric company before he became more important with his art. He started to make sculptures with neon light during the sixties and created provocative neon light installations on the artists body.

keith Sonnier

Keith Sonnier, (1941, Louisiana) belongs to the first artists that used light with sculptures during the sixties. He is well known for his post-minimalistic neon tube installations and he often uses the possibilities of reflections and different color temperatures in his light sculptures.

jenny holzer

Jenny Holzer (1950, Ohio) is mostly known for her LED works and text projections in public space. She startet in the seventies with projecting humorous and ironic text lines on public buildings to criticize common practices of advertising.

 

…to be continued on 30.04. with Light and Space // Part 3 -Light and Space in interaction.

 

 

 

Imago, an interview with Emilie Lundstrom

BEAU TORRES & EMILIE LUNDSTRØM.

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BEAU TORRES: For those who don’t know, would you define Imago?

EMILIE LUNDSTROM: Yes, for sure. My thesis title, Imago, is the last stage an insect attains during its metamorphosis. . Imago is the only stage during which the insect is sexually mature and, if it is a winged species, has functional wings.
Imago is often referred to as the adult stage. My exhibition is built up as an echo of stages we traverse in life. How we change home: the knots and turbans, small planets of growth, our clothes as our skin. We go through life like cocoons.
Imago in Latin means image.

BT: Do you feel a correlation between the imago state and your upcoming graduation?

EL: Yes, definitely! My thesis exhibition also shows the growth I have taken at ICP, International Center of Photography. I feel I have become more ready for the art world. The MFA 2 year program at ICP takes you through so many stages of getting to know who you are as an artist and helps you to trust your own voice; most important of all to trust my photography. The program gives you knowledge about yourself, but also creates harmony. I feel my graduation is the last layer of threads I will wear before entering the real life as an artist. I’m excited for tonight too. In a way each beginning and end of your life is a new chapter and is Imago.

BT: Would you tell me about your relationship with the silkworms?

EL: At ICP I became interested in how time and life cycles are marked by nature. Dendroclimatology for example, which is the analysis of rings within a tree trunk. I looked for other ways patterns of nature are transcribed onto physical objects. From there I began working with alternative processes and became fascinated by the life cycle of silkworms; their journey from worm to moth, which in the process of growth, creates a cocoon, the somewhat magical object from which people creates silk fabric. Humans have subjugated silkworms for millennia to the extent that now they are unable to live in the wild. They cannot fly and without human interference they would not be able to find a mate. In a way, they are a purely aesthetic species. But as I am more interested in the cocoon as a place of change and transformation, visually and metaphorically, I began my own photographic and sculptural explorations. The final stage of a silk worm’s metamorphosis, in which it emerges from its cocoon = Imago– an apt name for my final project at ICP.

BT: Can you talk about the choice of different materials in the show?

EL: The Silk Road history made me want to work with man made silk too after I had had the silkworms creating small silk sheets for me. I went to India during our Christmas holiday to do research in Karnataka, where I met silk farmers and went to the silk research centres. I purchased silk and cocoons for my show: the small turban knots are made of this silk on which I created Cyanoptypes of traces from the cocoons, silkworm patterns and the thread. In each little knot in the exhibition room, you can’t see the inside of the silk sheet knotted up, but I have made a book, where you can see these, but you won’t know which silk sheet it belongs too. This reflects on fabric we leave behind. The word textile comes from the word text, which means we all walk around with text from our body, culture and history. The big silk fabric, hanging when you enter the show, has marks made by myself creating small cocoon planets. Inside some of them are traces from the cocoons. I imagine these as small islands or different homes. Instead of floating in water, they wave in the wind entering my thesis show. Materials have always been very important to me. I like to touch and feel things. That’s how you get the closest to a sensation. The small sketches at the entrance are silk, dipped in beeswax, it smells so very organic like from the earth within. The next pictures are a watercolour drawing and a collage. I think it’s important for an artist today to be able to walk your ideas around all materials to learn and observe that whatever you touch, it’s you.

BT: I notice the shape of the circle repeated throughout the work, can you tell me about this?

EL: First of all I would say,

it’s not a circle repeated, it’s the oval form from Latin Ovum: egg

I was born at Gentofte Hospital in Hellerup, Denmark, just north of Copenhagen, close to the narrow sea between Denmark and Sweden, known as Øresund, which in Old Norse roughly translates to gravel beach sea.
When I was 2 years old, my parents, who are both artists, decided to move to a small island in the archipelago of the Southern of Funen, called Strynø.
The highest point on the island is 32 foot above sea level and there are roughly 200 inhabitants. To grow up on such a remote island was to be and to feel connected with the earth, the ocean, and the rhythm of seasons.

In a way I feel I grew up on water in a constant movement. The oval ship shape has always been important to me, as well as circles we symbolically take in our own lives; the organic growing shape. That’s why I see the oval gesture and movement as home, as a sense of place.
Even when we moved back to Copenhagen when I was 17 and graduated from Gammel Hellerup Gymnasium in the same neighborhood where I was born, I had made an oval shape coming back after 15 years to where I was born.

I entered the Danish School of Art Photography Fatamorgana, where I had one intense and unbelievable year of artistic development, that made it clear to me that I wanted to pursue the photographic studies even further, and I did that at the Glasgow School of Art , Fine Art Photography (BA, hons, 2011).
To me the camera is one island in one whole object. To find my specific form is a gesture that I can break and be a part of at the same time; it’s not about Isolation in the cocoon. It’s about the shape shifts we all share as human beings and how this shape shift is related to small creatures. To compare human patterns is something I will keep on doing and my interest in Cyanotypes is just the beginning. I feel lucky to have a rich material with which I can move on until my next show.

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Pink Films

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Pink film or ピンク映画 Pinku eiga or Pink Eiga is a broad cinematic term used to categorize a wide variety of Japanese films with adult content. This encompasses everything from dramas to action thrillers and exploitation films (a.k.a. pinky violence), and softcore pornographic (romance pornography or roman porno) features. The term is often mistakenly used to apply only to sex films. However, the so-called pink movie is part of an ongoing (and evolving) cycle of films rather than a specific genre.
Pinku eiga, along with the bloody and violent yakuza-eiga, or contemporary gangster film, both became wildly popular in the mid-1960s and dominated the Japanese domestic cinema through the mid-1980s. In the 1960s, the pink films were largely the product of small, independent studios. In the 1970s, some of Japan’s major studios, facing the loss of their theatrical audience, took over the pink film. With their access to higher production-values and talent, some of these films became critical and popular successes. Though the appearance of the AV (adult video) took away most of the pink film audience in the 1980s, films in this genre are still being produced.

Yellow and the internal landscape

The favorite color of Nina Mendez Marti is yellow. To her the color represents neutrality but at the same time excitement.  Since she was a kid her parents directed her to that color, as a less biased option to other ones. Nina grew up in Puerto Rico, a melting pot for different cultures where dance and rhythm binds them together. Dance was the first way Nina learned to express. The second was photography.

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On the 20th of march Nina Mendez Marti has her graduate show in the studio space of ICPs master students. The show is put together after a development throughout the program where Nina has focused on understanding herself and her surroundings. The way to go turned out to be the use of the camera as a tool and dance as a vessel.  From experimenting both in a social environment and by herself she’s been making work about the equality between pleasure and pain and the limitations of the body.

 

For Nina dance became a way to let chaos happen within restrains, and by depicting it restraining the chaos even further to try to make meaning out of it. Ninas way of working is at the same time an attempt to understand and investigate the basic human will to express but also the fear of doing so. The longing to be free but the physical and mental barriers that stop us in the process.

 

Entering “Entrecortada” (as the show is named, with intermittent as the closest english translation) feels like stepping into someones mind, the gallery rooms are filled with looping videos, live dancers and photographs of bodys in movement. The videos erases the feeling of time repeating the same movement again and again. The sound from the different projections overlapping, echoing. The limbs of the dancers makes traces on the walls, their bodes bouncing up against them, feet smeared with charcoal, evidence of movement, a statement, I was here. The photographs, quietly hanging, the bodies on the paper moving separately but together.

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The favorite color of Nina Mendez Marti is yellow. To her the color represents neutrality but at the same time excitement. As does her solo show display individuality but sameness, internal landscape and exterior expression, a deep breath turned into energy and movement.

Relief Starts Here

Interview with Laura A. González

Laura’s thesis show, We Are Pleased to Announce, references placeholders for displays and announcements, flattens the space with fluorescent lights -akin to the ones in which we find ourselves when at office spaces and subway stations alike- and recreates an empty waiting room, filled with flyers for psychic readings. She combines these extreme situations to create a somber and beautiful space that simultaneously instills peace, moments of pause and desolation.

I had the opportunity to talk with Laura about her solo show at ICP studios in Long Island City.

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Joseph Desler Costa: First off, where are you from?

 Laura A González: Excellent question! I’ve lived in New York for the past 7 years now. I came here after spending time in Paris studying photography and eating bread, and I got there because I left a program in Communications in Caracas, Venezuela, which is where I’m from. I lived in Seattle as a kid, and I still think of the green and blue crystal buildings downtown a lot, and the Space Needle, and a mall called “The Bon” which was just one big block of glass. At 17 I left Caracas again and studied in the UK for two years. I was left unsupervised. It was great! I still feel dumbstruck when I smell someone in New York that smells like one of my friends from school there. Now everyone is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I personally can be found in Greenpoint, Brooklyn now. (156 Freeman. Are you listening Capital One?)

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 JDC: How has living in NYC affected you, your process, and your work?

 LAG: Well, as mentioned above, I seem to be sniffing people a lot. Most of the times everyone’s cool about it.

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 JDC: Your show is coinciding with the arrival of spring. I personally am feeling positive after a long, long winter. Is your process at all affected or complimented by the weather?

LAG: Funny that you ask this, on the day of my final critique I jumped on the subway and –not unlike any other day– I scouted my iPod for the right tune(s). I have a lot of music and I work off songs, lyrics, and repetition a great deal. When I find the song I want (I prefer it when it comes from The Shuffle Fate) I listen to it on repeat, sometimes replaying a part many times before the song ends and starts again. Anyway, the day of my final critique –funny that you ask – the shuffle spouted a song that goes warm in the winter, sunny on the inside warm in the winter, sunny on the inside. I kept repeating it until I got to the studio, and it worked. I did feel warm in the winter and sunny on the inside.

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 JDC: What is your favorite color and why?

 LAG: Purple. I actually included the approximate wavelength of purple (380-420 nanometers) as a “phone number” in a flyer I made for my show; a flyer from the certified authenticated psychic Moira Harrison. Purple and I go way back. It was the color that most complimented my grandmother when she wore it, and somehow growing up, I was complimented every time I wore purple too. It relates to psychic practices and mysticism too, so it fits Moira Harrison well. I think of purple and I think of opals –my birthstone– and the number 5. I was born on October 5th, 1985 (10/05/85): all the numbers there are multiples of five. For some unreasonable reason, I have actually caught myself doing things, marking things, and choosing dates based on the number 5 or multiples of 5.

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 JDC: Are you afraid of anything?

 LAG: Well. When I was young, I had this “trick” or “game” I would play. I’d sit on the edge of my bed, and put my hand on my lap, look at it, and repeat over and over again “you know that hand is not there, it’s not real. It’s not there. Laura that’s not a hand. It’s not made of anything. This is not real and beyond real there’s blank.” I am unsure about how to explain it, but both my hands and the world around them seemed –still do– really unbelievable, and kind of made out of nothing to me. Back then, I knew where my breaking point was: I knew how it felt to actually start losing control of the situation, and wonder “shit I’m gonna lose it, I’m gonna to go crazy, and crazy is blank and once I’m blank I won’t even know it’s blank so I will never come back.” Anyways, when I felt that –that specific fear– I would jump off my bed, straight to the bathroom to wash my hands, because the activity of washing my hands made me think of –precisely– an activity or an action, and not just BLANK. I don’t do that anymore, but I still wash my hands often (maybe too much, they’re always dry). And I carry moist hand towelettes everywhere I go. Actually scratch that, that’s not true. But my boyfriend does because he knows I’m gonna need them. It’s like keeping crackers in your pocket for the friend you know who gets hangry (hungry, and angry).

Please visit www.lagonzalez.com to see more of Laura A. González