Light Show

MCA_David Batchelor_Magic Hour 2004_2007Bringing some of the most visually stimulating artworks to be seen in Sydney in recent years, Light Show at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) is a major survey exploring the phenomenal aspects of light and its versatility as a sculptural medium.

With almost 20 installations and sculptures by international artists, the earliest works in Light Show were created in the early 1960s at a time when new alliances were being forged within art, science, technology and industry. During this period, artists around the world were investigating light and its power to transform space and to influence perception.

Following a sold-out showing at Hayward Gallery, London, and record attendances at Auckland Art Gallery, MCA Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE said: “Light Show offers an extraordinary audience experience. There are works that bathe visitors in changing light or immerse them in environments that play with perception.”

“Some invite interaction, others pulse and flicker in hypnotic ways. We are delighted to be presenting such an array of ground-breaking works by some of the most significant artists of recent decades to Australian audiences.”

Exhibition highlights include the pioneering minimalist sculptures of American Dan Flavin, composed of off-the-shelf fluorescent tubes, French artist François Morellet’s work in neon and David Batchelor’s use of bright, industrially-produced colour. It also features immersive environmental installations by Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez, James Turrell, Anthony McCall, and Ann Veronica Janssens, among others.

Artists practicing throughout the last five decades have been quick to embrace new technologies, while using old forms of light in ever-inventive ways. In Light Show, recent works composed of state-of-the-art computer-controlled LEDs (light-emitting diodes) – including Jenny Holzer’s monumental LED signs and Leo Villareal’s large cylinder of light, made up of 19,600 computer-controlled LEDs – are shown in the company of sculptures constructed from recycled lightboxes rescued from city streets, and works using most modest materials such as a single theatrical spotlight.

In conjunction with the UN/Unesco 2015 International Year of Light, an array of public programs is scheduled throughout winter to further enhance the Light Show experience. These include curators’ talks, a keynote lecture On Light and Darkness by artist David Batchelor in relation to his work in Light Show, and LIGHT LAB – a creative family space in the museum’s National Centre for Creative Learning, offering a range of interactive activities with light and colour (FREE entry).

Curated by Dr Cliff Lauson and organised by London’s Hayward Gallery, Light Show will be on exhibition until Sunday 5 July 2015 and coincides with Vivid Sydney (22 May to 8 June 2015) – the festival of light, music and ideas, again with late-night openings throughout the festival.

In association with Light Show the MCA is presenting Luminous – a free exhibition of light works by Australian artists from the MCA Collection until 8 June 2015. Curated by Senior Curator Natasha Bullock in response to Light Show, this MCA Collection exhibition will feature a major new commission by Jonathan Jones, alongside works by Sandra Selig, Peter Kennedy, William Seeto and John Mawurndjul.

Luminous includes shooting star spirits, geometric patterns of light and dark dancing on walls, ambient environments and infinity windows carved into architectural space. These works by Australian artists explore the astonishing and subtle effects of light, the exhibition presents works created from the 1970s to now.

Light Show
Exhibition continues to 5 July 2015

Exhibition continues to 8 June 2015
Free entry

The Museum of Contemporary Art is located at 140 George Street, The Rocks (Sydney). For more information, visit: for details.

Image: David Batchelor, Magic Hour 2004/2007 Installation view Hayward Gallery, 2013 © the artist 2015 – photo by Marcus J Leith