From October 11, 2014 until February 8, 2015 Auckland Art Gallery hosts a luminous exhibition from Hayward Gallery. Here, the London gallery’s curator Dr Cliff Lauson tells HOME editor Jeremy Hansen about the ways artists have been using light as a medium since the exhibition’s starting point in the 1960s, and the experience visitors can expect from the show.
HOME How long has this exhibition been in the making?
Dr Cliff Lauson, Hayward Gallery Curator ‘Light Show’ took a couple of years of research, preparation and studio and exhibition visits around the world.
HOME The exhibition starts in the 1960s. Why then?
Dr Cliff Lauson It generally marks a point in the history of art when the field broadens rapidly to include performance, installation and conceptual strategies. Art that uses light as a sculptural medium establishes itself simultaneously in a number of different locations around the world through artists such as Flavin, Morellet, Cruz-Diez, Culbert, and the Light and Space movement in Los Angeles.
HOME What prompted artists to start featuring light as the artwork itself?
Dr Cliff Lauson Artists begin to use light for different reasons – from sculptural to scientific. Light becomes the medium through which they can shape architecture, alter perception, or make a political point. The artworks’ own light benefits from a reduction in ambient light, and this is one of the usual and successful aspects of Light Show – that the exhibition is a very dramatic experience. It gives people the time and space to explore the complexities of something that we often take for granted.
HOME Despite changes in technology, is there a commonality to how artists play with light?
Dr Cliff Lauson Whether utilising the latest technology or an obsolescent one, light-based artworks are all concerned with the immateriality, the speed, and the emotive aspects of light.
HOME How have the physical works survived?
Dr Cliff Lauson Artists have usually addressed this by ensuring a continuous supply of the correct older technology – in the case of Flavin – or by updating the technology, but making careful choices to ensure the fundamental experience of the artwork is not altered. Some of the artworks are recreated each time they are installed in a different location.
Oct 11, 2014–Feb 8, 2015
Auckland Art Gallery
Cnr Kitchener and Wellesley Streets, Auckland