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Light Research @ MMU

Carlos Cruz-Diez and Olafur Eliasson at the Light Show, Hayward Gallery, London

Carlos Cruz-Diez and Olafur Eliasson at the Light Show, Hayward Gallery, London

The Light Show at the Hayward Gallery runs to April 28, 2013. I recommend everybody who is able to see this exceptional exhibition, if they haven’t already. I will blog more on it later but want to draw attention to what, for me, were the two most extraordinary exhibits that reveal the very qualities of our perception – how we perceive light and see the world with light.

2013-01-30 16.15.13Carlos Cruz-Diez’s Chromosaturation (2010) consists of three interconnected rooms, each completely monochrome.. One is saturated in purely blue light, another in powerful red light, and the third in a thick green hue. Because we are unused to seeing only one colour, it is almost painful to walk into these rooms. My eyes felt as if they were popping out. Amazingly, because we are geared to see the multiple colours of the world, our brain compensates by gradually draining the intensity of colours so that they become a pale blue, red or green. You think that the light itself must be changing in tone, but no, it’s your brain making it seem so! Go back into the blue chamber after being in the red room for a while, and the colour intensity has returned – only for us to bleach it out again subsequently again (see




   2013-01-30 16.51.30

The second revelatory piece is Olafur Eliasson’s beautiful Model for a Timeless Garden (2011)Walking into an otherwise dark room, at waist high, on a long table, an array of 27 small fountains of varying flow and height cascade upwards, a strobe light pulsing to freeze frame them before our eyes. The water, usually experienced as continuous flow in ordinary light conditions, becomes a sequence of separate diamonds and jewels, suspended in mid flow. This provides a unique perception of water beyond the usual capacities of the human eye, a breathtakingly gorgeous spectacle. (see

(photos by Elettra Bordonaro)

February 22nd, 2013 - 13:17pm

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