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LUX, Tuesday 10 June – Sunday 2 November
As a place of invention, innovation and experimentation Cragside has always had the wow factor. We are carrying this ethos into the 21st Century bringing the place to life in experimental and innovative ways.
Historically Cragside was the home of Victorian engineer William Armstrong, and the place where he brought his own ideas about water power, energy, light and electricity to life.
This year the team at Cragside have worked with arts & heritage to create a contemporary art exhibition that responds to this unique place focusing on Armstrong’s fascination with light.
LUX showcases six artists work.
Catherine Bertola In the pursuit of perfection
Catherine has created this installation of an apple tree with bronze cast, gold gilded apples to refer to the lengths that Victorian gardeners went to control and harness nature.
A young apple tree stands alone, planted in one of the original pots in the left wing of the glass orchard house. Bearing an abundance of perfectly formed gold fruit, the tree slowly revolves like the hour hand of a clock marking time.
Andrew Burton Light Vessel
Andrew has created a similarly splendid and delightful sculpture made up of thousands of small glass bricks using the sun as the source of light.
The work draws its inspiration from the title of the project, LUX, from Armstrong’s fascination with light and from the sense of excitement and innovation that Joseph Swan’s early incandescent lamps used at Cragside would have generated when they were first seen.
Imogen Cloët Illumine
Imogen has created an immersive installation in the historic interior of the dining room. At the centre of the room a large Victorian ‘boardroom’ table, its surface covered with industrial polished steel, reminds us of Armstrong’s industrial might. Suspended light bulbs directly reference the invention of Joseph Swan’s incandescent bulb and the first stage of their installation within the house, signalling the birth of modern domestic lighting.
Jem Finer Spiegelei Junior III
Spiegelei Junior III is a sculptural camera obscura. Visitors are invited to place their head inside the sphere to gain the full effect of the work. Reflecting and inverting the visible world around it you will see a 360 degree panoramic projection of the space.
This work was originally commissioned by the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Dan Fox Filharmonic and Harmonica Botanica
Dan Fox has created two works for LUX.
Filharmonic is a sound and light installation of three lampshades hanging in the gallery of the house which was historically Armstrong’s first electrical laboratory. The lampshades emit a score of crackling electricity and plasma bursts interspersed with pops of bright light.
Harmonica Botanica is an experiment in itself. A bronze metal dome hangs from a steel stand whilst underneath a pot plant waits. As visitors approach they hear an evolving score of music boxes and deep gongs. Electrodes clipped to the leaves and roots of the plant pick up signals from the rising sap, so we experience the unique event of hearing a plant growing.
Bob Levene SOURCE
SOURCE is a beautiful, moving video of Bob’s own forearm with a flickering visual presence of light, the source of which is deliberately concealed. The work is hung as a portrait in the library amongst other paintings. SOURCE refers to the change from candle and gaslight to a more modern invention of Swan’s incandescent light bulb and reflects upon the ease with which we accept electrical power today