Almost two kilometres of neon lighting shaped into sharp lines and sweeping forms create this installation by Welsh artist Cerith Wyn Evans, which is suspended in the Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries.
Forms in Space… by Light (in Time) is a major new installation by Wyn Evans, created for the Tate Britain Commission and supported by auction house Sotheby’s. The lighting is structured in three parts, emerging from a single neon ring before developing into a collection of three discs.
The forms appear as scribbles and rough drawings, similar to “light writing” with a torch captured by a DSLR camera on a slow-shutter-speed setting.
Jutting out from these tangled marks are sharper and more purposeful shapes and symbols, framing the perimeter of the forms. These maze-like lines are intended to mimic physical and kinetic gestures, like footsteps and folding material.
Wyn Evans describes these three forms as “occulist witnesses”, referenced by artist Marcel Duchamp in his sculpture The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass) (1915-23), which was donated to the Tate’s collection in 1975.
When walking through the long Duveen Galleries, the suspended sculptures appear to move with the viewer as the patterns created shift with their changing perspective.
Between the bursts of curves, loops and jagged straight lines, the suggestion of kinetics in the light sculptures reflects the artist’s interest in choreology – the practice of translating movement into notational form. Wyn Evans also drew influence from the codified and precise movements of Japanese Noh theatre for Forms in Space.
#tbt to a retrospective of the work of the Anglo-Irish designer Eileen Gray, which opened in February 1980, four years after her death. Gray had often been left out of design histories in spite of her extraordinary career, which ranged from experiments in furniture to groundbreaking architecture. One of her greatest achievements in the latter field was E-1027, a late-1920s seaside house on the French Riviera that was, as the press release for the exhibition noted, “one of the first truly radical modern buildings in France.” Nevertheless, as the years passed, Gray’s contribution to the field was marginalized and her legacy minimized within the male-dominated world of architecture and design—something this exhibition sought to challenge. The installation comprised numerous examples of her furniture design, with photographs and drawings providing an overview of her work in architecture. (MoMA’s current exhibition How Should We Live? Propositions for the Modern Interior includes numerous examples of Gray’s furnishings.)
#tbt to 1934: Visitors to Machine Art were startled to find three floors of utilitarian, machine-made objects, such as springs, pots and pans, and scientific instruments, displayed on pedestals, elevating them to the level of sculpture. This reverential display revealed the considerable aesthetic allure of these industrial objects, which the Museum capitalized on with a beauty contest judged by celebrities such as Amelia Earhart and the philosopher John Dewey. Dewey had argued that a person’s experience of things is shaped by the context in which they are viewed, a concept that curator Philip Johnson employed in his groundbreaking design for the exhibition. Johnson took unusual steps to show the objects to their greatest effect: he screened the walls and ceilings of the Museum’s second location in a 19th-century brownstone in order to hide its decorative molding, creating a sleek, clean atmosphere that set a new standard for the display of design objects.
Read the out-of-print catalogue and see images of this pioneering exhibition at mo.ma/52exhibitions. 27 of #52exhibitions #MoMAhistory
A Revolutionary Impulse: The Rise of the Russian Avant-Garde opens this Saturday, December 3. The exhibition brings together 260 major works from MoMA’s collection, tracing the period of artistic innovation between 1912 and 1935. Planned in anticipation of the centennial year of the 1917 Russian Revolution, the exhibition highlights breakthrough developments in the conception of Suprematism and Constructivism, as well as in avant-garde poetry, theater, photography, and film, by such figures as Alexandra Exter, Natalia Goncharova, El Lissitzky, Kazimir Malevich, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Lyubov Popova, Alexandr Rodchenko, Olga Rozanova, Vladimir and Georgii Stenberg, and Dziga Vertov, among others.