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Light Art from Artificial Light Exhibition Opens at ZKM
Olafur Eliasson, Your welcome reflected (detail), 2003. Red, blue glass, steel cable, motors, spotlight, ballast, tripod. Glas: diameter on average: 75 cm, Installation dimensions variable. Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna. Photo: Angelika Krinzinger / T-B A21.
KARLSRUHE, GERMANY.-Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (T-B A21) ranks among the principal lenders to the Light Art from Artificial Light Exhibition (November 19, 2005 -­ May 1, 2006) at the ZKM (Art and Media Technology Center) in Karlsruhe. The electrification of the world has excited artists since the time of futurism, constructivism and the Bauhaus. Artistic trends such as material painting, film, kinetics and op art have led to an autonomous medium: light art. Such pioneers of light art as László Moholy-Nagy and Zden_k Pe_ánek and the avant-garde films by Hans Richter in the 1920’s point up the early elemental attractive power of this medium, which continued unabated in the second half of the 20th century, inspiring artists’ groups like ZERO (D) GRAV (F) and Gruppo T (I). The use of artificial light in conceptual art, op art and arte povera was carried on by early positions by such significant artists as Dan Flavin, Bruce Nauman or James Turrell, while the latest technologies are reflected in the works of contemporary artists, who cast their spell on the beholder with profound light spheres, ironic cross-references and filigree light games.

This is the art field where T-B A21 keeps its focus on and thus the foundation is in the position to participate with high-ranking exhibits as a principal loaner in Karlsruhe. The exhibition includes key works such as Global Domes II by John M Armleder. In this installation, the artist uses 12 discospheres hung in two parallel rows to describe the deconstructive power of light, as it ceaselessly wanders in flickering dots along the floor, ceiling, walls and spectators.

Your welcome reflected by Olafur Eliasson treats the phenomenon of colored light in a special way. Eliasson makes use of a spotlight and several panes of glass to explicate Newton¹s law as in a physics experiment: confronting the beholder with his own perception process. Spectators can walk into Carsten Höller¹s installation Y, framed by incandescent lamps, which reveals itself to be a light and mirror cabinet. In The Venice Installation: The Last Room by Jenny Holzer an electronic ticker repeats reflections on the decay of the human body in five languages, while Cleave 01 by Cerith Wyn Evans is based on Pier-Paolo Pasolini’s enigmatic book, ³Petrolio². A computer reads signs from this metanovel, which are morse-coded as moving light reflexes on the wall. Beyond these, further works from the foundation collection by the artists Angela Bulloch, Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset, Manfred Erjautz, Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, Bernhard Martin, Finnbogi Pétursson and Jason Rhoades are represented in this exhibition.

The new Foundation for Contemporary Art T-B A21 was founded by Francesca von Habsburg in Vienna in 2002. Francesca von Habsburg is the daughter of Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, the founder of the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid. Thus Francesca von Habsburg is continuing the Thyssen-Bornemisza tradition of patronizing the art while focusing on the art of today. The foundation¹s mission is to support through co-productions and unique commissions the creation of new works from artists that contribute important positions to the contemporary art practice. T-B A21 seeks to achieve this through multi-disciplinary projects that break down the traditional boundaries that define and categorize artistic expression in its different forms, whilst at the same time empowering the audiences with a living experience of contemporary artistic expression. T-B A21 produces, collects and displays important and challenging works at its headquarters “Space in Progress” in Vienna and world-wide. It launches special, site-specific projects, supports new international “artist in residence” programs and presents innovative exhibitions away from the usual art venues and presentation formats. Besides this, the foundation functions as the publisher of very special art editions. Its cutting edge position and internationality is reflected in the exquisite composition of its advisory board, to which Norman Rosenthal (Royal Academy, London) or Peter Weibel (ZKM, Karlsruhe) et al. are counted among.

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