Madrid, November 16, 2006 - January 5, 2007

Press Release

Galería Javier López is pleased to announce a group project with works by artists represented by the gallery under the collective title “Lightworks.” The exhibition will include works by artists John ARMLEDER, Jenny HOLZER, Matthew McCASLIN, Tatsuo MIYAJIMA, Leo VILLAREAL, and Xavier VEILHAN.

From the sixties onwards, artists like James Turrell or Dan Flavin used light as an artistic expressive medium with sculptural finality. The late sixties - considered the canonizing years of minimalist sculpture – signalled: on the one hand, an emphasis on the use of industrial materials, and on the other hand, a rising interest in exalting the notion of space in relation to the viewer; a new scope which added signification to the definition of the oeuvre. It was not until 1961 that Dan Flavin first experiments with light. His pieces, so-called “Icons,” were made out of a series of 8 painted boxes; designed in different types and colors the boxes are surrounded by either incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs placed around. In 1963 the artist removes the frame that constitutes the box and, creates his first work with a single gold color fluorescent tube - the renowned "Diagonal of May 25, 1963 (to Constantin Brancusi)." This oeuvre signals Flavin’s assertion about the capacity of light to stand by itself within the parameters and values associated to an art piece. From then on, artists have continuously explored the artistic and poetic possibilities of light; it’s most pure and ethereal concept, but further, worked in tandem with the development of new technologies such as the laser or light-emitting diodes (L.E.D.).

The gallery’s artists shown in this exhibit all share a common interest; nevertheless, experimenting with light that has taken each one of them through a unique path. John Armleder’s (1948) work constitutes a footnote to every 20th Century Art History movement and style. Much like his early art pieces – "Untitled (Fluorescent Tube Sculpture)" displayed for the first time in Kunsthalle at Baden-Baden and composed of simple and ironic white fluorescents that lye randomly on the floor – his latter works – wall installations made out of thin neon tubes characterized by their sophisticated computer programmed light variations – exemplify Armleder’s recurrent comment, through out his career, on the place of the medium as a utilitarian item that can be converted to art.

In her search for more direct modes to reach the viewer with an artistic message Jenny Holzer (1950) began in the late 70s to use electronic advertises, glowing billboards and television spots as foundation for her works. Holzer would later bring the technique to one of its most famous pinnacles with her L.E.D. electric sign sculptures. These pieces reproduce looping messages or texts – the so-called “Truisms” – with rhythmic and color components.

Tatsuo Miyajima’s (1957) work explores the themes of time and space inspired by Japanese tradition. Like Holzer, Miyajima’s notorious art pieces show an artistic predilection for the use of L.E.D technology. Towards the end of 1987, Miyajima creates his first LED digital counting device – which counts progressively from 1 to 9 establishing a rhythm that repeats itself – a generic element that symbolizes for the artist the most basic visualization of the passing of time. Ever since then, he has been representing digit combinations that define and explore the infinite symbolic relations of the numeric. The art piece currently at display represents the artist’s final step to incorporate neon.

Matthew McCaslin’s (1957) work deals since the beginning with the use of light as a sculptural element. In general, his video sculptures – elegant black neon frame such as the ones previously presented at the gallery, – like his organic/technological landscapes – designed with cables, plugs, lights, watches, televisions and other mediums – share the common attribute of light.

Leo Villareal (1967) and Xavier Veilhan are the youngest artists at the display. They share alike a spirit of experimentation and innovation closer to the first generations. Much of Villareal’s most celebrated work ¬¬– his later style like his early works (simple glowing pieces) – is characterized by his interest in countless digital programming combinations. In this way, his computer programs with their respective “random” rules are self-governed by autonomous agents within a matrix. In turn, this enables the artist to explore and exploit the infinite spatial and temporal possibilities inherent in L.E.D.’s. Further, the modular nature of the medium provides the artist with a color palette and an endless variation of rhythms opening up a new scope of possibilities for creative individuality that adapt a poetic and peculiar visual language. A similar restless spirit is present in Xavier Veilhan’s (1967) work. This French artist embraces the continuous use of new materials, processes and mechanisms to test classic art genres. His luminous panels with over a 1000 bulbs use digital technology over an electronic system base that in turn becomes a support for a moving image; a 2'40" film, creating a visually and technically refreshing piece.

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Selected Press

Antiqvaria nº255
December, 2006

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El Duende nº69
December 15, 2206 - February 15, 2007

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