LAWFUEL – Law News, Law Jobs – A dramatic 22m moving light installation is the City’s newest piece of public art and the centrepiece of the Barbican Centre’s £14m redevelopment of its foyers, entrances and public spaces. The artwork and the entrance will be formally unveiled today (21 September 2006) by the Lord Mayor of London, David Brewer CMG.
The light wall, commissioned by the Barbican in partnership with global law firm Linklaters, has been created by contemporary artist Alex Hartley, well known for his photography and light sculptures which focus on architecture. He won the Linklaters Commission in 2005 with his proposal for a light box installation as the focal point for the remodelled Silk Street entrance. The competition and commissioning process was led by Modus Operandi Art Consultants.
The installation, entitled Passage 2006, forms an integral part of the architecture itself. It both lights the entrance and welcomes visitors into the arts centre. The piece draws on the iconic architecture of the Barbican. Hartley has also used his skill as a photographer in the moving elements which pick up the shapes of the Barbican’s towers. Where the old entrance was conceived as a dropping-off point for cars, shared by service vehicles, the new entrance provides a true sense of arrival. The bold portal shape of the new entrance itself and the movement of the light wall together create a welcoming ambience.
Alex Hartley combines his twin passions for architecture and climbing. He is the author of LA Climbs: Alternative Uses for Architecture (published in 2004), which describes his experience of climbing LA’s rich array of modernist and postmodernist architecture, including Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollywood Bowl, Pierre Koening’s Stahl House, and the Hollywood sign.
Alex Hartley says:
“While I was planning the work I managed to explore all sorts of areas of the Barbican, from the roof spaces to the service ducts. The buildings that make up the Barbican are very strong and iconic in form, and I wanted to reflect this in the artwork, along with my experience of moving through its spaces. I used colours taken from my photography of the building and incorporated them into the light wall.”
Anthony Cann, Linklaters Senior Partner says:
“This is the first time we have commissioned a major piece of public art, and it gives a new dimension to our programme of support for the arts. The finished work literally brings light into this corner of Silk Street, and it is a pleasure to see it complete, as all of us at Linklaters can enjoy it from our London offices. It has made a big difference to this corner of the City.”
Graham Sheffield, Artistic Director of the Barbican, says:
“This project reinforces our relationship in a very tangible way. It provides a significant new art work for the City. It will also make a massive improvement in the experience of all our visitors as they enter the Barbican from Silk Street.”
A Grade 2 listed building, the Barbican is increasingly appreciated as a distinctive landmark on the city skyline – for many, it is seen as the last piece of truly utopian urban planning in London.
The new entrance is part of the £14m scheme to refurbish the Barbican’s foyers and public spaces, masterminded by architects, AHMM. The foyer transformation has stripped away many of the later additions to the internal spaces to rediscover and enhance the original features.
For further information please contact:
Barbican: Claire Hyde on 020 7382 7089 or [email protected]
Notes to editors:
Passage 2006 is a 22m x 2m light box installation: this is a backlit two-dimensional box, in which images appear three-dimensional. The work has dynamic elements, and changes even while it is being viewed. The conjunction of four different moving elements means that a viewer would only see precisely the same view once every 2.5 years. It is believed to be the first light box installation with moving elements, certainly on this scale. Photos of Passage 2006 are attached:
Alex Hartley is well known for his photography and light sculptures which focus on architecture. He studied at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts (1983 –88) in London, and at the Royal College of Art (1988-90). In 2000, he won the prestigious Goodwood ART2000 Commission at the Goodwood sculpture park in the UK. Hartley has had solo exhibitions with the Anderson O’Day Gallery in London and in Antwerp, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Cologne and Madrid. He has had several shows with the Victoria Miro Gallery in London (http://www.victoria-miro.com/artists/14,biog/). Hartley has a major solo exhibition opening at Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh in September 2007.
His most recent work, Nymark (Undiscovered Island) was part of an exhibition at the Natural History Museum from June to September 2006 (and at the Liverpool Biennial from 16 September – 26 November 2006). It documents Hartley’s discovery of an ‘unclaimed’ island in the Arctic and through a mix of photographs and sketches, charts his attempts to claim and name it.
Linklaters is a law firm which specialises in advising the world’s leading companies, financial institutions and governments on their most challenging transactions and assignments. With offices in major business and financial centres, it delivers an outstanding service to its clients anywhere in the world. The firm has a strong tradition of support for the arts and for the local communities in which it operates. Linklaters is also well known for having acted on many high profile City of London developments, including the Heron Tower and the Swiss Re building (the Gherkin).
Modus Operandi Art Consultants
Modus Operandi Art Consultants is an independent art consultancy which provides artistic direction and a commissioning service to a range of clients. It offers a lateral and creative approach to working and collaborating with artists, advocating the role they can play in the design of the built environment. The range of work commissioned includes permanent and temporary artworks, interdisciplinary collaborative schemes and artists’ placements.