Brighten Up! MCA’s “Light Show” in review

Macleay’s advertising students recently ventured out to explore the interactive eye buffet ‘Light Show’, at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The exhibition originally opened in London’s Hayward Gallery, and lucky for us due to it being wildly popular, has travelled to Australia. It consists of 19 works from international Artists, with works from the 1960s to present.

The moment I stood outside the MCA and gazed at this modern beast of cubes and glass my anticipation of what this light show might be was awakened. I was particularly interested in seeing how light could be manipulated as a medium to create a piece of art – and how a user can interact with light if it isn’t a solid material.

After climbing the entry staircase under the event poster, we were introduced to Nicole, a fun spirited lady with fantastic clown earrings, who led us down a hallway. The coloured glow from the light works were spilling out from rooms along the corridor.

Before we were introduced to any works, Nicole handed us pieces of paper, gave us clear instructions to tear and bend the paper. After we’d all followed her instructions, Nicole asked us what they all had in common. The answer? Not a single thing! The point of that exercise was to understand that regardless of the clear and direct instructions, we interpreted them all differently and therefore our results were all unique. This can be applied to art, as the artist may intend one thing but we will ultimately view the work through our own perspective and interpret meanings differently.

Nicole then led us to the first room; a work titled ‘Chromosaturation’ by Paris based Artist Carlos Cruz-Diez. At first this work was an overload to my eyes. An iridescent room that not only allowed me to see, but to tie those colours to my feelings. I understood our perspectives were all different as we had different associations to each colour, we all answered a question as to what we associated each colour with, if it had a sound, if it were an object. We all answered differently. It was amazing to see how light, illuminating the room with an RBG pallet, can not only affect our eyes, but also our emotions.

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The rest of the tour we saw works from the artists James Turrell, Leo Villareal, David Batchelor, Ann Veronica Janssen and many more. What I discovered as I went through and experienced each work for myself was that light as a medium, is a field that can manipulated in an endless amount of ways to give life to new and sensory ideas. These installations and sculptures ranged from the mystical, to the intrusive, thoughtful and illusionary. Through the use of LED, neon, stage lights, spotlight, projectors and fluorescent lights, the MCA was lit up from top to bottom for everybody who was there to experienced it.

“Light Show” is certainly a rich visual experience. I’ve done my best here to describe the range of colours, material and effects, but it is still best to let your own eyes feast on the spectacular for themselves.

By advertising student Caitlin Thomas

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