In the early 1960s, when the world was waking up to pop art and groupies were trying to strut their way into Andy Warhol’s Factory, a wholly different scene was emerging in southern California.
A group of artists, inspired by the likes of Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, was trying to capture the physical experience of an artwork in its most direct form. They believed, in part, that this could be done through light itself – the very means by which we perceive an object. Pioneers in this stridently minimal yet immersive form are currently on show at Cuadro Fine Art Gallery in DIFC, in a collaborative exhibition with London’s Pace Gallery.
The Substance of Light presents works by Robert Irwin and Larry Bell, who were both involved in the early Light and Space movement in California, alongside seven recent holographic pieces by James Turrell and a selection of Dan Flavin’s late 1960s works with neon fluorescent rods.
Turrell’s holographic pieces capture the ideas that underpin the show. He inverts the usual manner of a hologram – rather than create an illusion of three-dimensionality, Turrell plays with the medium to freeze light within a space. We don’t see protrusions but rather a brilliant shard of light that is held within the confines of the hologram.
The show also features one of Bell’s iconic mineral-coated glass pieces. Placed on a transparent pedestal, Untitled (1970) is cuboid, subtly coated, so that light appears to be captured within its form. Bell’s work is an attempt to slow our perception and present that in purity and brilliance before our eyes.
Until January 6 at Cuadro Fine Art Gallery, Gate Village, Dubai International Finance Centre