In the spirit of Chinese New Year celebration, this week’s Work of Light presents the Fire_work of Chinese artist, Cai Guo-Qiang 蔡國強.
Cai Guo-Qiang was born in 1957 in Quanzhou City, Fujian, China. He was trained in stage design at the Shanghai Theater Academy from 1981 to 1985. Cai’s work is scholarly and often politically charged. Cai initially began working with gunpowder to foster spontaneity and confront the suppressive, controlled artistic tradition and social climate in China. While living in Japan from 1986 to 1995, Cai explored the properties of gunpowder in his drawings, an inquiry that eventually led to his experimentation with explosives on a massive scale and the development of his signature “explosion events,” artistically choreographed shows incorporating fireworks and other pyrotechnics.
This is Cai Guo-Qiang’s recent dance collaboration with Taiwanese dance group, Cloud Gate dance company. The piece is called Wind Shadow.
Shadow sculptures by Tim Noble and Sue Webster plays with light’s function of revealing. However, they serve it with a twist. Spot light seems to shine on a seemly randomly piled heap of trash, as if saying “look at these trash!” The hidden art is actually revealed in the play of light and shadow.
Is what we see really what we think?
Tim Noble and Sue Webster began collaborating during their studies at Nottingham Polytechnic and studied together at the Royal College of Art. Appropriating the guerrilla tactics adopted by media-hungry celebrities’ attempting to gain fame, Noble and Webster’s unorthodox creations comment on a consumerist society gripped by narcissism. The artist duo is renowned for their series of drawings and their neon and light sculptures which embody the simultaneously glamorous and seedy aspects of contemporary culture. Noble and Webster’s work is held in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Saatchi Collection, London.
French designer, Aissa Logerot, developed ‘halo’ an LED light spray. Instead of spraying paint, it has an LED that sprays light. The LED’s brightness can be altered, and the colors are interchangeable. Users simply have to shake it to recharge its power.
Light paintings, also known as light drawing or light graffiti, is a photography technique in which exposures are usually made at night or in a darkened room. The images here are from Jan Wöllert and Jörg Miedza, the guys behind LAPP-PRO. The light art performance photography (LAPP) is a one-shot, long exposure photography, performed additionally with movement of light. LAPP originates on a real-time basis directly in front of the camera, created between opening and closing the shutter.
Hiroshi Sugimoto has always used his camera to explore unseen phenomena — artifacts of time, light, the elements, and human perception. For his latest project, Lightning Field , he traded optics for electricity. He wields a Van de Graaff generator to send up to 400,000 volts through film to a metal table.
“I see the spark of life itself, the lightning that struck the primordial ooze,” Sugimoto says. Although some of the effects happen by chance, the artist does try to exercise control. “I have a kitchen’s worth of utensils that produce sparks with different characteristics,” he says. “But there are many variables — weather, humidity, perhaps even what I had for breakfast — I’m never sure what influences the results.”