Ghada Amer, Patrick Blanc, Maja Godlewska, Herve' Half, Alfredo Jaar, Ju-Yeon Kim and Bill Viola
The Savannah College of Art and Design-Lacoste presents "Afterglow," an exploration of light as an aesthetic, material, conceptual and poetic phenomenon by artists Ghada Amer, Patrick Blanc, Maja Godlewska, Hervé Half, Alfredo Jaar, Ju-Yeon Kim and Bill Viola July 6-August 28. The exhibition seeks to provide an atmospheric experience with installations throughout SCAD-Lacoste, including in the main gallery, Galerie Pfriem, located at Rue du Four. All exhibition spaces are free and open to the public Monday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
"Afterglow" pays homage to a history of art that has responded to the sun-drenched, panoramic vistas of the Provençal landscape. It reveals the manifold and nuanced ways that artists sense, articulate and experience light.
Ghada Amer's "Love Park" (1997) is installed throughout numerous terraces and gardens in Lacoste, inviting lovers to sit and bathe in sunlight. Yet Amer’s 'park for lovers' is full of irony as the potential for intimacy is thwarted by her construction of 'anti-love' seats: seats that are conjoined but face opposite directions.
Patrick Blanc, the internationally renowned French botanist known for his 'vertical gardens,' has been commissioned by SCAD to produce his first permanent, site-specific sculpture. Blanc's grand yet delicate spiral sculpture is covered in perennial plants that are biologically diverse and require minimal water. For the "Green Vortex," the hot, Provençal sunlight is the source of its existence.
Maja Godlewska's work uses light to explore ephemeral vision and tension between formlessness and form. Her "Templates of Clouds" series, consisting of 20 painted polyester mesh banners installed on the Park Terrace, simulates the contradiction between the illusion of the physical and the reality of weightlessness in cumulonimbus clouds.
Hervé Half's densely layered and light-infused paintings are products of an aggressive technique. Beginning with a representational composition, often of landscapes, in paint and varnish, he obscures the image by burning it with a welding torch, then seeks to retrieve the original form by stripping, rubbing or blasting with a water-jet.
Critically acclaimed Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar frequently uses light as a means to query the human ability to be moved by images. In his own words, he makes light for "communities that lack images," seeking to bring to mind reflection and contemplation upon universal themes of social injustice. In "Epilogue" (1998), a projected video installation, a brilliant light slowly reveals a portrait of an elderly Rwandan refugee, whose image subsequently withdraws and returns to luminescence.
Ju-Yeon Kim, an artist-in-residence at SCAD, is concerned with how Eastern and Western philosophies function side by side. Kim is interested in the contradictory perception of white in different cultural contexts: In her native Korea, white can symbolize fragility and death, but paradoxically, in the Western context, it evokes purity and simplicity.
Internationally recognized for his work in video and sound installation, Bill Viola describes video as treating "light like water." Inspired by Buddhist notions of "pure seeing," Viola uses light as a means of concentrating vision to stimulate a shift in consciousness. "Old Oak (Study)" (2005) is from a video series originally made for a production of Wagner's "Tristan and Isolde," directed by Peter Sellers, which premiered in April 2005 at the Paris Opera. Viola translates the story of two doomed lovers into a universal evocation of love and loss.
"Old Oak (Study)" is a time-lapse video of a California oak tree on a hillside. As in many of Viola's pieces, light becomes the source of a meditative experience through which the viewer considers the divine and the universal paradox of endless cycles of life.
Through a series of site-specific and gallery installations by invited artists, SCAD's summer show in Lacoste considers the ambient and emotive qualities of light. The show features commissioned and selected existing pieces, and addresses the village holistically by engaging with its intricate spaces. The exposure to multiple light sources creates a warm "Afterglow," or enduring impression, that lingers with viewers long after the creations experience.
Savannah College of Art and Design
Rue du Four 84480 Lacoste, France