Kant, in The End of All Things, suggested that the imagination is more active in darkness than light. In the exhibition noire et pourtant lumineuse, Baudelaires description of his lover is applied to the space of the Matthew Bown Gallery
, which will be blacked-out for the duration of the show. The exhibition presents work by four artists Anina Brisolla (Berlin), Alexander Brodsky (Moscow), Gunda Förster (Berlin) and Katie Paterson (London) which explore our experience of darkness.
Anina Brisollas video installation Mall explores the after-images that form on the retina when the eye looks into bright light. Created for Noire et pourtant lumineuse, the video-loop conjures these phantom-images by the progressive removal of imagery, transforming light-architecture of a shopping-mall into a disturbing scenario that is simultaneously highly artificial and highly realistic. Anina Brisolla studied art in New York and the Netherlands. She showed her work recently at the KunstFilmBiennale (Museum Ludwig, Cologne, 2009) Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Berlin, 2010).
Alexander Brodskys object Settlement, first shown at the Venice Architecture Biennale, is simultaneously a traditional barrel-organ, an architectural model of a dormitory town, and childrens toy. The town dwells peacefully in the darkness at the bottom of a large aquarium. Turn the handle, and it is shrouded in a snowstorm, accompanied by the Beatles' Your Mother Should Know, arranged for the barrel-organ. This extraordinary work refers back to high Romanticism and conjures the pathos of modern existence in the vastness of the cosmos. Brodsky is one of Russias most celebrated contemporary artists. He was the Russian representative at the Venice Architecture Biennale (2006). He currently has a show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Perm, Russia.
Gunda Försters Light-Slit consists of a wedge of intensely bright light that shines from a crack between the bottom of a door and the floor. It is a statement of striking formal purity which references the dazzling attraction and impenetrable mystery of an invisible beyond. The work pulls forgotten childhood feelings into consciousness: an admixture of joy, fear curiosity at being alone in darkness and seeing a light under a closed door which one may open. Gunda Förster uses light as a fundamental artistic medium to sharpen the eye to poetry and drama which is naturally present in everyday life. She was awarded the HW Hector Art Prize (Mannheim) and the Projections and Light Based Public Art Prize (Vancouver, 2009). Her most recent public work is Ice Light - a waterfall of white light on City Hall in Vancouver (2010).
Katie Patersons Light-Bulb to Simulate Moonlight was created by the artist in collaboration with the light-engineers at Osram. The standard light-bulb has been re-made to give off light whose wavelength equals that of moonlight. The work, alluding to our nights rather than days, evokes intimations of mortality; it includes a supply of bulbs that provides an average life-times supply of moonlight. Light-Bulb to Simulate Moonlight is presented with the assistance and permission of Albion Gallery, London. Katie Paterson graduated from the Slade School of Art in 2007. She has established herself as one of Britains most discussed young artists. She has had solo shows at Matthew Bown Gallery, ROOM, Albion Gallery (London), and at the Museum of Modern Art (Oxford). She showed at the Tate Triennial, Altermodern, in 2009. Her next solo show will be at PKM Gallery, Seoul, this year.