A silhouetted male and female couple holding hands in front of Raemar Blue
A silhouetted male and female couple holding hands in front of Raemar Blue
Raemar, Blue, 1969 James Turrell, installation view, ACMI. Photo by Phoebe Powell.
Stories & Ideas

Fri 04 Nov 2022

Light illuminated: Reflections on Sedgley, Lijn and Turrell

Art Exhibition Light: Works from Tate's Collection Personal Response
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ACMI staff members reflect on the power of light and colour in artworks featured in Light: Works from Tate's Collection.

Liliane Lijn's Liquid Reflections

As Liliane Lijn’s kinetic sculpture rotates, it projects an ever-changing pattern of light and shadow across the room. Lead curator of our Light exhibition, Laura Castagnini, reflects on the transfixing qualities of Liquid Reflections.

My name is Laura Castagnini and I'm a curator at ACMI. I love this work by Liliane Lijn. It's called Liquid Reflections and it's from 1968. She was very much a pioneer of the kinetic art movement in Britain in the 1960s which was a very male-dominated field. When Liliane Lijn made this work she had a really interesting aim, which was to capture light and keep it alive in a sculpture and I think that the way that she uses light as both medium and material makes her a really important figure in this discourse.

I came here with my 10-year-old cousin and he was like, "I think they're in love. They just keep following each other around." They're very much moving of their own accord. She's not approaching science as a scientist she's approaching it very much as an artist. So I think there's something there about the way that light is so universal in the way that it captures our attention. It's beautiful and it's powerful and it's mesmerising and it's magnetic I think is something that she would want viewers to take away from the work.

Peter Sedgley's Colour Cycle III

Combining light and colour, Peter Sedgley creates the illusion of movement on the canvas. Dip into the romance of colour theory with Oscar Ragg from our visitor experience team, as he discusses Sedgley's shifting, expanding artwork.

My name is Oscar I'm a visitor experience guide here at ACMI. This is Peter Sedgley's Colour Cycle III from 1970. This work is like an op art piece. It means optical art. Those kind of artworks are ones that use a sort of like a 2D static surface but with either like abstract form or pattern or line or colour they actually bring it beyond that and give you the sense that it's moving.

Sedgley was interested in the colour theory of this guy called Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He's got this like really romantic idea of colour. He thought that like every colour exists on a point between light and darkness like it's a spectrum. Every colour with its combo of light and dark has a emotional connotation in the human mind and if the colour theory is to be believed then that's something that totally shapes your response to it the moment you look at it.

It looks like the circle's kind of shifting. They're expanding, contracting. Like they kind of get more sharply defined or less sharply defined under that light. That's the cool thing about it is that like ultimately you're seeing spray paint on a canvas but under the light it takes on an extra dimension. I think that's really cool.

James Turrell's Raemar, Blue

James Turrell combines architecture, light and space to envelop the viewer in a coloured atmosphere that plays with the experience of perception. Treise Armstrong from our film programs team explains why she keeps coming back to let Turrell’s wave of blue wash over her.

My name is Treise and I work in the film programs team at ACMI. The work in the Light exhibition at ACMI that really resonates with me personally is James Turrell's Raemar, Blue. It's a work from 1969.

It feels quite calming almost, even if you're in the room with a bunch of strangers and I like it because it's quite experiential and if you've just gone through the exhibition, you've seen a ton of different work but I think that this one is kind of universal in its appeal. You don't really have to think about the right or wrong response. You just kind of walk in and let it wash over you.

It's very prominent in Drake's 'Hotline Bling' video which I only found out last night when looking online that they're not actually James Turrell works in that video. He just ripped them off entirely which I thought was pretty bold but I think James Turrell took it in his stride and was very casual about it. Yeah, seems like a good guy.

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See these works at ACMI

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