Hunter College Art Galleries: Infinite Light by Laurent Grasso
Hunter College pedestrian bridges over Lexington Avenue and 68th Street, New York to: Night brings together a selection of contemporary works which explore the theme of night through a variety of approaches. Curated by Joachim Pissarro, Bershad Professor of Art History and Director of the Hunter College Art Galleries, with Mara Hoberman and Julia Moreno, this exhibition opens at the Hunter College Art Galleries in September 2008 coinciding with the exhibition of Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night at The Museum of Modern Art curated by Joachim Pissarro, Adjunct Curator of the exhibition and co-author of the catalogue. to: Night will be on view at both the Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery on Hunter College’s main campus and the Hunter College Times Square Gallery located at the MFA Building in Midtown Manhattan. The exhibition features work by over forty artists and focuses mainly on works created since 2000, but also includes important historical works from the 1960s-90s. In the context of this exhibition, “night” is taken as a descriptive term which encompasses a wide range of meanings and associations—from the literal to the psychological. This vast subject is divided into thematic sub-categories, which range in character from romantic to disquieting. Included in these sub-categories are works that relate to, among other topics: celestial bodies and star gazing, the effect of night on the urban and suburban landscape, sleep and insomnia, the nocturnal impact on color and light perception, and surveillance technology and voyeurism. to: Night explores the cultural, emotional, environmental, political, and aesthetic implications of the nocturnal as represented through a wide range of artistic interpretations and media. Seen together, the works included in to: Night offer a rich and diverse portrait of our complex, multi-layered perceptions of night.
In connection with these exhibitions, a work entitled Infinite Light created by the artist Laurent Grasso, is intended to span the exterior of the pedestrian bridges that connect the main buildings at Hunter College. This marks the first time an art event of such scale has graced the exterior of the college. Infinite Light’s bold and unique presentation acts as a kind of beacon or public announcement inviting those who see it into the galleries. In this way, the effect is very much in keeping with the traditional application of neon for commercial signage used to attract potential visitors.
Infinite Light is a work over eighty metres in length, made up of fluorescent tubes whose bluish tinge is identical to the filters used in the cinema for filming scenes by day, generally outdoors, that are supposed to be taking place at night. In filmmaking parlance, the phrase “day for night” refers to the outmoded illusory process of shooting during the day while using filters or a low lens aperture to produce the effect of night. In French, the technique is called nuit Américaine (“American night”), referring to this uniquely American innovation as well as its liberal use in American Westerns, B-movies, and film noir. A well-known film by François Truffaut from 1973 titled La Nuit Américaine stars the director and Jacqueline Bisset in a self-referential exploration of filmmaking and its real-life consequences. In his work, Truffaut focuses on the slippage between artifice and reality. Similarly, in Infinite Light, Grasso attempts to “construct ambiguity in a world where everything is clear and oriented” by choosing a concept that entails falsifying the most basic truth—night and day.#
The exhibition will be on view at the Hunter College/Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery, Hunter College West Building, SW corner of 68th Street and Lexington Avenue from September 25 – December 6, 2008. Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 1 – 6 pm.
The exhibition will be on view at the Hunter College/Times Square Gallery, 450 West 41st Street (between 9th and 10th Avenue) from September 25 – November 15, 2008. Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 1 – 6 pm.