Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Me, Art, and 41,000 LEDs

I don't have a great reputation when it comes to 'getting' art. I developed a fairly extreme case of gallery fatigue while my ex was an art student (it's only in the last couple of years that I've started to venture back), and many very famous pieces leave me cold and bemused.

On the other hand, when something does catch me, it really hits me.

Take, for example, Olafur Eliasson's apocalyptic sun in the Tate's turbine hall... I could have spent hours there, and I've been trying ever since (without success) to track down other Eliasson installations.

......or the oil room in the Saatchi gallery; I'm sad to say I didn't know who the artist is (Google assures me it's Richard Wilson), but it took my breath away.

......or almost anything by Lucio Fontana, whose slashed canvases have always spoken to me, and whose vertigo-inducing all-white labyrinth I encountered at the Hayward gallery's retrospective.

I'm not sure what it says about me that, almost without fail, my personal favourites are installations. I like to be immersed.... surrounded.... engrossed.

Leo Villeral's Multiverse has made an impression along with the best of them, guaranteed to stay in my head long after they un-install the installation.

Leo Villareal's 'Multiverse'

In the basement of the National Gallery in Washington DC, around 41,000 light emitting diodes have been programmed to fade in and out in evolving patterns. (Being a Proper Geek, I really, really want to see the code... Mr Villareal, if you're reading this, pretty please...?)

Leo Villareal's 'Multiverse'

Leo Villareal's 'Multiverse'

In addition to being great fun to experience, it was also an interesting challenge to photograph. I went to full manual settings on my camera to get different light effects.

Leo Villareal's 'Multiverse'

Leo Villareal's 'Multiverse'

Leo Villareal's 'Multiverse'

Leo Villareal's 'Multiverse'

Even the blurry photos come out as quite striking images:

Leo Villareal's 'Multiverse'

And this is the shot which almost got me escorted off the premises for getting in too close:

Leo Villareal's 'Multiverse'

If you're anywhere near DC - and especially if you love LEDs as much as I do - you should make time to go and see this before they take it down in November. Honestly, it's art you can walk through. It'll make your day.


Strange Mamma said...

Gorgeous. I love the different effects you got in the photos.

Chris said...

I take my kids to the National Gallery often. The food court at the end of that walkway is great as well!

Anonymous said...

Imagination & Implementation at its best.
Thanks for sharing.

Sarah said...

Fabulous photographs and such an incredible way to experience art.

julie70 said...

Too late for me, I just came back from there, but I'll send your blog adress to my daughter to make time to see it,

very impressive and plus, great photos!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Those shots are really awesome! I agree with you about appreciating art - sometimes you find something that really jives..and then sometimes it's an horrific experience to try and make yourself "get" it :-)

Mary at Deep South Dish said...

Wow, that's pretty cool! For some reason I instantly thought of the Fremont Street canopy in Vegas LOL.. shows you how "cultured" I am! :)

Stopping by for your SITS Feature Day!

eof777 said...

Great photography and will remember this when I am DC again. A trip to the National Museum will be a must.
TY! Happy SITS Day again!
M main blog is:

LisaDay said...

The blurry one makes me feel sick. THe last one is well worth being escorted off the premise. I think it's the best shot.

Happy SITS day.


Courtney (AKA MommaRoberts) said...

How awesome is that!!! I really need to stop in there and see that! Granted I haven't been to DC in about 10 years and I ahve been saying every year we are going to go (because my husband has never been) I promise one day to go back! :)

Bitsy Baby Photography said...

Definitely an awesome place and display of LED's, we took a friend here when she was out this way visiting and really enjoyed it. I'm browsing your photography theme, being a photographer and all, and am so enjoying all your posts & photos =)

♥ Becky ♥ said...

Definitely interesting. I have a hard time enjoying Art galleries. Now if it's somewhere I can touch and get fully into it then I'm all for it. I love the Planetarium in San Francisco and take my kids there at least once a year.

Happy SITS Day!!

Miranda said...

I also don't "get" art. I mean, some things are pretty to look at, and I can appreciate talent when I see it, but I don't "get" it. Maybe I'm weird.

Miz Dinah said...

Sweet! Reminds me of a giant tanning bed for some reason. Must have been amazing to see it in person.

Ronnica said...

That's really cool!

Bekah said...

thanks for sharing your experience. happy SITS day!

Angie said...

Thank you for sharing this! Your photography is gorgeous.

kp said...

That is SOOO cool!

Anonymous said...

I think it possibly connects to our learning style. If you are a kinetic learner (which your many physical interests and hobbies suggests to me) then it makes sense that the art that speaks to you is that which you have to walk through and move your head around to see.

As a visual learner, I prefer paintings that I can just stand and absorb.

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