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Artist Anthony McCall shines a light at London's Tate Modern

Anthony McCall's Light Sculptures
Anthony McCall's Light Sculptures Copyright Lefteris Pitarakis/AP Photo Jan 2013
Copyright Lefteris Pitarakis/AP Photo Jan 2013
By Euronews Culture with AP
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Anthony McCall is in the spotlight at London's Tate Modern with his first major exhibition at the gallery. The British artist is projecting beams of intense light through spaces filled with fine mist to create interactive sculptures that can be manipulated by visitors.


The British-born artist Anthony McCall is very much in the spotlight this month at London's Tate Modern.

Doors have opened on his first major exhibit at the gallery in which McCall projects beams of intense light through spaces filled with fine mist to create interactive sculptures that can be manipulated by visitors.

His career began as a filmmaker but was inspired by beams of light from cinema projectors. McCall has lived in New York since the 1970s and it was there he began exploring sculpting light.

The mist and texture in his pieces on display at Tate Modern first began as a happy accident.

In the dusty warehouse studios where he was working, the particles would hang in the air and mix with cigarette smoke.

"One thing these forms are is a kind of sculpture and sculpture, unlike, say, a painting, is something that the spectator needs to walk around to understand, needs to walk into and look at, look at in all kinds of different ways to grasp what it is," says McCall.

"That's pleasurable, that process."

In the late 70s, McCall withdrew from making art, but returned in the 2000s because technology, with the advance of digital projectors and haze machines, inspired him to create his vision.

Make up your own mind

His works are open to interpretation by the viewer and the artist offers no clues to their meaning.

"Others find science fiction. Others find spirituality. There are all kinds of ways in which a visitor to these pieces will make sense of them. And that's as it should be," he says.

"It's their job, to find meaning and to make the meaning of the work and to make it signify for them."

The exhibit space is in near total darkness, but visitors passing through create fleeting silhouettes.

Putting on an exhibit of this kind was a challenge for Tate Modern.

The haze machines producing the vapour need to be carefully positioned and a precise air flow is required to keep a steady flow of movement.

It's the vapour that gives the works their forms and creates the impression of a solid object, explains curator Gregor Muir.


"It's an interesting moment when you turn the corner and you come in and see these works appearing as though these are sculptures in space," he says.

Unlike viewing paintings at a gallery, visitors are encouraged to interact with the solid light sculptures.

Every movement of the body casts new shadows and bends and breaks the light to create something new and unique.

"Solid Light" is running at London's Tate Modern until 27 April 2025.


Additional sources • J-Cut Productions

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