Exhibition Dates: 20 January – 18 March 2006
Backdrop brought together eight international artists whose work uses electric light. Ranging from the experiential room-sized installation to interactive work, and illuminated sculpture made from mass-produced items, the exhibited works echoed the spirit and experience of American artist Dan Flavin, while continuing to expand and experiment with a broad range and quality of illumination.

In one of several works made especially for the exhibition, David Batchelor created a huge chandelier for the internal atrium at Bloomberg SPACE. The work, fashioned from 500 individually lit coloured plastic cleaning fluid containers, hung down through the layers of space. In Angela Bulloch’s ‘pixel boxes’, red, green and blue fluorescent tubes mixed to generate an infinite range of changing colours, combining references to film with minimalism. American artist Spencer Finch’s wall and ceiling installations used fluorescent tubes and filters to recreate the lighting conditions of specific times in particular places in the world. Belgian artist Ann Veronica Janssens’ mesmerising LED units both described and hid their source, illuminating and blinding simultaneously. Danish artist Jeppe Hein’s No Presence (Red) (2005) is an enticing globe covered with a filigree of red neon that switched off as the viewer approached. French artist Mathieu Mercier’s endless edition Untitled (Light Fixture) (1999) used a number of mass produced Y-sockets and different sized bulbs to create a work that was as much a sculptural object as a source of illumination. Austrian artist Erwin Redl explored and described space with strings and grids of coloured LEDs. Light Volume (1998) discreetly occupied a corner of Bloomberg SPACE with three short lines dotted with points of diffused light. American artist Leo Villareal’s Column (2004), an installation of 51 vertical computer controlled light tubes, created an enveloping environment that pulsed and changed colour, to saturate the room with an intense flow of luminescence.

Artists: David Batchelor, Angela Bulloch, Spencer Finch, Ann Veronica Janssens, Jeppe Hein, Mathieu Mercier, Erwin Redl and Leo Villareal

Sacha Craddock
Stephen Hepworth
Graham Gussin