An invisible umbilical cord connects artists, collectors and writers around the world. A labyrinth of energy, sound waves, radio frequency and the transmission of light, sight and sound connect us. Artist Grimanesa Amorós recently completed two large-scale site-specific light installations in China. The first installation titled Golden Connection included two light sculpture installations unveiled at the first edition of Art Basel Hong Kong, which ran May 21-26. The metropolis of Hong Kong is now recognized as a central player in the emerging global art market, where the proverbial East meets West. It seemed appropriate that Peruvian born and New York based Amorós installed her intricate light work at the opening gala as the installations represent our constant desire to be connected, and like an umbilical cord, the strands of LED lights give the sense of being connected to something greater than ourselves. The second installation called The Mirror Connection at the Museum of China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFAM) in Beijing presented tentacles of light, exposed circuitry and unpredictable light patterns that were both mesmerizing and surprising. Installation spoke with the artist as the light sculptures were installed and preparing for their international debut.
Installation Magazine: What type of technology is implemented in the design of the light sculptures?
Grimanesa Amorós: A particular electrical hardware was designed specifically to create the Golden Connection. I use a custom lighting sequence influenced by the site of the light installation. Each location inspires its own design and I create the sculptures on site because I have a visceral response and a deep respect for the space that I’m working in. It’s like being a conductor except instead of using music; I use light as my visual language. My work differs from other contemporary artists using because I focus a lot on the lighting sequences. Other artists have chosen to write software so their work is influenced and altered by external inputs.
As a conductor of light how do you chose your colors?
There are more than 16.8 million variations of light available to me within the LED system. When selecting colors I look to palettes found in nature and from the cultures that I have been exposed to. There is a specific timed sequence of colors and patterns that I uniquely compose for each piece. I find smooth transitions between these elements. I continually evaluate all the new LED technologies and choose only the highest quality LED technology available to guarantee I get color consistency and longevity in my work over time.
Light is a difficult element to contain. How do you maintain control over your vision?
I can control the hue, saturation, and intensity of every point of light to the time scale of .01 second. The light in my work is driven by the timeline sequence, which is designed to loop in such a way that my viewer never knows where the sequence begins or ends. For Golden Connection I conducted many experiments to figure out how the piece would be held together. I also built a mockup in my studio to assure how the piece would hold at the Grand Ballroom of the Four Seasons hotel with their truss system and cables we used.
In what ways did the environment of Hong Kong inspire Golden Connection? How does the title of the installation celebrate the first edition of Art Basel Hong Kong?
I came up with the title Golden Connection because we live in a society where people want to be and are connected at all times. As a child growing up in Peru I was exposed to its rich history and connection to gold. I wanted to incorporate my cultural identity into the Hong Kong installation because the city is a unique juxtaposition of East and West.
What impact do you hope the installation had on the visitors of Art Basel Hong Kong?
I wanted to see the viewer’s expressions as they first walk inside the space and saw the installation. It is a way to share with the public my personal perceptions of the space and my life experiences through my work.