In Praise of Shadows

(2009) Victoria & Albert Museum, London

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Bulb is an opto-kinetic sculpture that creates a unique light display within its environment. A large light bulb (originally used in lighthouses and spot lights) rotates on the base whilst light passes through the moving glass. The bulb's internal surface has the world map fixed on it. The image of the world map has been created with a photographic process using photo emulsion paint. As the image of the word map rotates various continents are abstractly disassembled and are projected onto the walls and ceilings of the exhibition space. The world map that we all recognise is turned into an almost unrecognisable sequence of shapes that cover the space around the sculpture. Bulb alludes to Man's relationship with its environment. The rotating light bulb is like an old terrestrial globe of the world, rotating about its axis. Its fragility becomes apparent as it is just held in place by gravity. The light bulb is an all too familiar object that we associate with industrial age, technology, power, energy, light, invention and creative ideas. Its purpose is to make us see things, that otherwise we would not be able to see - to see things differently. The work challenges our association with familiar objects, by subverting their use and making something that is unpredictable. The fusion of two common objects - globe and a light bulb - results in a great combination of global issues and ideas that we are faced with today. To list them would be taking away from its worthy ambiguity, and power. The similarity to nineteenth century scientific instrumentation explores the theme of discovery and exploration, and invites the viewer to analyse the complex way in which the rotating images of Bulb are created.



'In Praise of Shadows' showcases works by European designers who imaginatively explore not only the potential of low-energy lighting and alternative energy sources but also the way we think about light and darkness.

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