Object of desire Neon it is - but nothing could be further from the Vegas tat-and-flash normally associated with the medium.
Polygon by James Clar
At a suhoor in Dubai last week hosted by The Shelter and Traffic I again encountered this beautiful and intriguing piece by James Clar. (The resident artist at Traffic whose medium is light, Clar had created it for the exhibition, For Your Eyes Only, during Art Dubai last year.) Neon it is - but nothing could be further from the Vegas tat-and-flash normally associated with the medium. With its glowing lines changing from red to blue as the light follows the twists and tangles of the polygon's outline, it is dynamic yet has a surprisingly peaceful presence. Standing about a metre and a half high, its starkly geometric outline is softened by the flow of light.
In Clar's words, his work - which ranges in scale from the LED-wrapped façade of Habitat Hotel in Barcelona to a tabletop aquarium underlit with ultraviolet, which makes the fish inside it glow silvery-blue as they swim - stems from his "exploration of how light can be manipulated in a 3D space". For Polygon, he explains, he has taken the lines that define the edges of its planes and controlled light within them.
Like Polygon, much of Clar's finished work is the result of experiment, and is hand made in his studio at Traffic. Each piece is repeated only in tiny numbers, if at all, and thus sits on the cusp between design and art, concept and craft. Which, of course, makes it all the more special. Dh37,000 from Traffic, Saratoga Building, Al Barsha, Dubai; 04 341 8494; www.viatraffic.org