Light is frequently in focus of artistic exploration, natural or artificial, it's used, investigated, altered and presented in different works and installations. Known artists such as James Turrell are completely occupied by light, as he even tried to print it,in a way. Neon artists create pieces bending and altering tubesof fluorescent gas, while in urban art it's used for different interventions, such as Rupert Newman's projections. Light is the starting point of mark-making paintings of Lucy McLauchlan. Yayoi Kusama showcased one of her amazing spatial light installations at David Zwirner earlier this year, while the recent Serpentine Sacklerlight sensation exhibition by Cerith Wyn Evans presented his luminescent oeuvre.
Devoted to investigation of the narrative potential of static spaces, Dutch artist Simon Heijdens also deals a lot with light. He has been awarded by the first commission of the NOW Gallery from London, creating a stunning spatial light and glass installation, which continuously changes according to the influx of light and other atmospheric, or artificially induced, stimuli. Visually marvelous and contemplatively challenging, the Shade combines the abstractly narrative and the physically experiential, while making use of the unpredictable coincidences affecting the piece in order to reach the core character of spaces that enclose human lives. Prototype of the installation was first commissioned by The Art Institute of Chicago, while the current piece can be viewed at the NOW Gallery throughout the fall.
Simon Heijdens is an artist from Breda, The Netherlands, born in 1978. His experimental practice leans on intricate technology and natural processes alike, while his work has been exhibited in over 50 museums and galleries across the planet, including Ab Rogers, Atelier NL, and Studio Roso, while many of his understated interventions found home in collections of MoMA New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, Boijmans van Beuningen Museum Rotterdam, to mention only a few.
Shade installation by Simon Heijdens is created on a large scale over 140m2 of glass curve, by applying an intelligent skin to the seven meter high glass ‘canvas’. The foil is highly sensitive to the outside forces, creating a kaleidoscopic light effect made of regular triangles of opaque or clearly translucent fragments. Reacting the wind as well, which lifts the cells inside the glass wall, the skin shifts from clear to blurry, causing the endless light changes projected onto gallery surfaces. Behavior of the installation is entirely directed by nature and natural timeline of the outdoor and indoor space, resulting in different impressions the installation gives in the morning, the afternoon and after the nightfall.
Constant dance of light and shadow keeps the dynamic nature of this fragile-looking piece, exuding an ethereal and refined elegance. Even though the outdoor impetus can be somewhat predicted, the artwork is never the same, as every day differs from one another. The only, so to say, constant aspect of Shade is an evening light reversal, when the artificial gallery lighting casts a pattern onto the surrounding outdoors. Advisedly best viewed in the morning, Shade assumes its most impressive pose in the morning, when the light is sharp, while as it gets more diffuse, the effects soften. Aesthetical value of the installation by Simon Heijdens is immense, as the artist succeeded in capturing the sheer beauty of the atmosphere, the constant, intangible and dynamic power, which also protrudes into the seemingly changeless spaces.
Shade by Simon Heijdens opened on September 19 at the NOW Gallery in London, where it will stay on view through December 19, 2014. Immersive installation, although it addresses the core issues the artist ponders on, engages the viewer completely, evoking a delicate feeling of lightness of space, and unveiling the enigmatic, capricious quality of nature.
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