Visual art exhibitions and events with a platform for critical writing
Wakefield Museum, Wakefield
Reviewed by: Andrew Hewitt »
Dancer by Charles Quick is a new, permanent lightwork on the façade of Wakefield Museum, and is located on Wood Street amongst the grand institutional architecture of the police station, law courts and town hall. Quick has considered the fact that the first floor functioned as a dance hall from 1880 until 1950, and has used it as a departure point for creating the lightwork. Spotlights on the building's columns intermittently produce a sequence of one of eight rhythmic dance steps across the otherwise static formal façade. Thus, the museum, on occasion, breaks out into a flurry of movement before returning again to a paragon of neo-classical virtue.
'Lightwork' is an area of public art which has become popular with artists, commissioners and public alike. All around the country between October and March 'lightworks' are switched on and there is no doubt that light can magically transform the dull and induce the crowd to ecstatic 'oohs' and 'aahs'. We all have great affection for firework displays, Christmas tree lights, the disco or the marvellous Blackpool illuminations, but what makes a lightwork transcend the merely decorative ambitions of a city council's urban regeneration programme?
The success of lightworks, like all artworks, depend upon the strength of the artist's idea and working method. An artist's intervention into the public domain requires a supportive commissioner who allows the artist the freedom to develop and make new work. Charles Quick has successfully intervened in the planned refurbishment of the museum lighting. He has subverted a standard lighting format to make a playful and subtle work a good example of artist-involvement in a refurbishment programme.
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