Monday, January 23, 2012

Otto Piene: Lichtballett

Otto Piene: Lichballett, the publication accompanying the recent exhibition at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, is now available. A leading figure in multimedia and technology-based art, Otto Piene was a founder, with Heinz Mack, of the influential Düsseldorf-based Group Zero in the late 1950s. This publication highlights the artist's ongoing exploration of light as an artistic and communicative medium. Piene's Lichtballett (light ballet) performances, first produced using hand-operated lights directed through perforated stencils, became mechanized in the 1960s. The artist's light sculptures consisted of motorized lamps, grids, and discs producing a flow of projected light; these machines evolved into kinetic sculptural environments of mechanized effects through the 1960s and '70s. Featuring Piene's own writings on light as an artistic medium, an essay by art historian Michelle Y. Kuo, and an interview with exhibition curator João Ribas, Otto Piene: Lichtballett documents the artist's pioneering investigation of art and technology. The monograph features a die-cut "light ballet" cover.

Here is a short clip of the exhibition:

And a review of the show from the Boston Globe:

"Hands down the most beautiful room in Greater Boston right now is a gallery in the MIT List Visual Arts Center. The gallery is just a small, windowless room. It’s dark, too - or it would be if it were not for an astonishing and constantly changing arrangement of patterned light orchestrated by 83-year-old artist Otto Piene." (More)