‘We eat light, drink it in through our skins. With a little more exposure to light, you feel part of things physically. I like feeling the power of light and space physically because then you can order it materially. Seeing is a very sensuous act-there’s a sweet deliciousness to feeling yourself see something’
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.