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lightart
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Curatorial Statement

Light Art Biennial Austria 2010 - “Private Art in Public Spaces”

I have been asked to consult the Light Art Biennial for the country of Austria. The Biennial is inspired by a similar Biennial,  which will be held in the Ruhrgebiet. The Austrian’s theme for the first edition of the Biennial will be “Private Light in Public Spaces”. The name a gentle teasing of the German Light Art Biennial “Open Light in Private Spaces”

The name of the biennial describes the technical medium being used could also be interpreted in another manner. Light art – art without substance, this could be understood as unserious art. It could also be interpreted in another way. Art without substance is art about the immaterial. The object can be seen but never touched. But is it unserious? Milan Kundera wrote a book called “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” – And so comes the heavy part of the project. Light is about life – without light there is no life. The light of the sun fuels the planet. Light is a symbol used in churches for life itself. Some catholic churches begin their midnight Easter services in darkness. Then when the light of the rising sun comes through the stained glass window the worshippers light candles. The light then goes from one person to the next. This is how life and energy works. The seed of the man impregnates the woman and thus begins a new life. But the energy is there before. – the burning desire of the individuals for each other – this energy is the fuel of life. When we look to the sun as for example Olafur Eliasens: “Sun” at the Tate Modern we find calmness. We are reassured that everything is all right. So is it with light art – we find a space for solace and contemplation or just a pleasing view – whatever we find – we are enriched – such is the nature of light art.

Linz is the perfect venue for a departure into an area filled with light art. When you arrive in Linz by boat you are greeted by several great examples of light art. Lentos Art Museum and Ars Electronica Center each on their own side of the Danube with light incorporated into their facades. Lentos the older building and is probably the inspiration for the facade of Ars is at night a pattern of blue light which at night with its reflection in the Danube is absolutely beautiful. The Ars Electronica Center with its every changing display is a real experience. But there are also other lights incorporated in the architecture, which are truly pleasing to the eye. The bridge across the Danube and is also worth noticing. Thus the palate wetted and greeted by the city of Linz we can step off the boat and begin to explore the city of Linz and the artworks placed into the public spaces by the artists of the festival.
Peet Thomsen

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