Monthly Column By Maria Favoino
What happens to us when we stand before an artwork? What are the paths we take around an exhibition? What attracts our attention and what stimulates our emotions?
Light is the common thread of our questions. Light enhances the interplay of light and shadow, facilitates the reading of the artworks and moves us through the different rooms, to the destination that matters most to us: the artwork itself.
Let light guide us through this new experience.
We step into the foyer, a space for anticipation as we wait for our companions, our first engagement with the building. A diffused and soft light greets us, filling the room and our heart, delivering a welcoming message.
We move into the gallery. Diffused ambient and accent lighting characterise the exhibition space. A flexible system made of tracks and spotlights disappears on the high ceiling. The indirect light coming from the track gives a calm and sober character to the space. The spotlights aimed at each artwork highlight order, logic and meticulous detailing, revealing colours and texture, returning them whole to our eyes. The artworks seem to shine with their own light.
The atmosphere of the exhibition itself is produced by the sequence of each image while the surfaces of the walls take on a secondary meaning. Different lighting levels form perceptive hierarchies, emphasizing a link between the works and leading us through the space.
A statue stands on plinths on the centre of the hall. Several lights directed from above create a balance of shadows capable of modelling the shape in its entirety. We can see the expression on his face, the gestures of his body. The atmosphere is dramatic, the experience fascinating. The inner light of the statue seems to be flooding our eyes.
None of the choices made are casual; the choice of each light must consider the conservation of the artwork, the colour rendering, the surrounding environment, the different materials to be illuminated and efficient lighting technology.
Behind every light or shadow unfolds the story of each artwork, the common thread that the curator wants to show us. Gallery lighting preserves culture. It welcomes, intrigues and guides us.
Light celebrates the beauty. Light reveals the connection with the art. Light gives depth to our experience. Light arouses our emotions.
“The work of the eyes is done. Go now and do the heart-work on the images imprisoned within you.” Rainer Maria Rilke
Image: Piercy&Co Supermodels exhibition – London by 18 Degrees
Maria is a member of Women in Lighting