Light and Space


I was searching for good exhibitions to go to and the current Congo River exhibition at ACM led me to the joint-organiser Musee du Quai Branly in Paris. I remember the show I went to when it was newly opened and the impact of the exhibition design. It never occured to me till now that the art director of that exhibition is Doug Wheeler, a pioneer of the Light and Space movement in the likes of James Turrell and even Olafur Eliasson was influenced by him. It is no wonder that the exhibition design had the visual impact of the Arctic atmosphere, complementing perfectly with the artefacts of the Arctic region.

When asked if the ephemerality of his work and his spaces, how difficult they are to photograph and even collect had helped hurt his place in art history, Wheeler said,

“I never worried so much about permanence because I make things that you experience, and then it’s in your mind. Most of my stuff is site specific or site-related, but I feel that’s what we do in life. We have first-hand experiences, and those are the ones we don’t forget. They stay with us and hopefully they’re meaningful enough that they’re with you the rest of your life. That’s pretty much what I’ve always been after. I’ve always tried to do that stuff that has an effect on you that you never forget the first time.”

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