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Experience Solid Light

2 Feb 2010

This content is tagged as Visual arts .


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New York-based artist Anthony McCall is to transform the striking architectural spaces of Victoria University's Adam Art Gallery in an upcoming exhibition of 'solid light' installations.

As a headline event in the 2010 NZ International Arts Festival's visual arts programme, the Adam Art Gallery exhibition Anthony McCall: Drawing with Light is the first time New Zealand audiences will be able to experience his unique 'solid light films'.

"Simply you must physically experience the work of Anthony McCall. This exhibition will enable audiences here the opportunity to encounter the work of one of the most experientially enriching artists of our time," says Adam Art Gallery curator Christina Barton.

"There is no doubt that the labyrinthine spaces of the Adam Art Gallery will play perfect host to McCall's luminous projections."

McCall has been testing the limits of film for nearly 40 years, redefining cinema as an immersive experience of projected light in real space.

He began his career in the 1970s, making experimental films and performance works using simple elements such as fire, light, and smoke to map time and space. He was an active figure in the experimental art and film scenes in both London and New York.

After much critical acclaim and attention in the late 1970s McCall withdrew from making art, spending the next 20 years running his own graphic design business and producing a number of art publications.

It is only recently that he has returned to producing his 'solid light' art works, which have taken on new shape with the advent of digital technology and the availability of haze machines.

Along with staging McCall's major 'solid light' installations, the exhibition will also include drawings, notations and photographs to offer insights into the full range of his output and working process.

Anthony McCall will present a lecture on his work at the Denis and Verna Adam Auditorium, City Gallery, Wellington at 6pm on Wednesday 24 February 2010.

In conjunction with the New Zealand Film Archive, the Adam Art Gallery will also present a not-to-be-missed one-off opportunity to view McCall's first 'solid light film' Line Describing a Cone (1973) at the Wellington Town Hall at 7pm on Thursday 11 March 2010.

"Line Describing a Cone (1973) is justly famous in the history of avant-garde film for its reduction of the cinematic experience to its core ingredients: projected light in physical space," says curator Christina Barton.

"For 30 minutes a beam of light from a 16mm film projector draws a perfect circle on a distant screen. In the space between a solid cone takes shape as light particles cling to dust and smoke in the atmosphere. Transforming the viewer's usual passive relation to the medium, this work invites active participation."

Anthony McCall will tour the country presenting lectures at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery New Plymouth on Thursday 25 February and at the Auckland Town Hall on Tuesday 2 March. He will also speak at the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane on 11 March 2010.

While in Auckland he will be undertaking a site visit towards developing a major permanent public art work sited at Auckland's most exciting long-term urban design project, the Tank Farm on Auckland's waterfront. This commission is supported by the Auckland City Council Public Art team.

You are invited to the Adam Art Gallery's official exhibition launch to be opened by Tyler Cann, Curator of the Len Lye Archive at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth on Tuesday 23 February at 6pm. The artist Anthony McCall will also be present.