Chris Levine: Light 3.142
17th May -15th June 2013
The Fine Art Society, 148 New Bond Street, is showing the first major London solo exhibition of the work of Chris Levine: an immersive exhibition where light plays the key role.
About The Artist
Chris Levine is a name that’s fast becoming synonymous with cutting-edge, holographic digital artworks that take in their sway everything from a giant flickering hologram of Grace Jones to eerie portraits of The Queen.
Born in 1972 in Ontario, now living and working in Northamptonshire, Chris Levine is a light artist who works across mediums in pursuit of a sensory and perceptive experience through his use of image, light and form.
Levine rose to prominence when he created a series of holographic portraits of the Queen in 2007. These portraits of the most well known woman in the world, combine traditional, formal gravitas with the most modern technique in photography. Unlike any previous portrait of her Majesty, they are truly unique and formed both the opening and closing pieces in the 2012 exhibition of portraits of the Queen at the National portrait gallery, and have already established themselves as iconic images of the twenty-first century.
Chris Levine studied at Chelsea College of Art and Central Saint Martins. His exhibitions include: Hypervisual 1.2 (1999) which toured 12 countries with the British Council. In 2012 his work featuring in The Queen was shown at the National Portrait Gallery, London. He has work in the Science Museum, London, has staged light performances with MoMA, New York and has worked with a wide range of collaborators, including Anthony and the Johnsons, Philip Treacy, Massive Attack, Grace Jones and the Eden Project. His new work, Flower of Light (2013), was exhibited at the inaugural Art13.
His subjects have never been traditional. A series of 3D light portraits of Grace Jones, including “Superstar”, in which rays of light bounce off the singer’s mirrored bowler hat created by Philip Treacy, came about after Levine did the laser installations for her 2010 live tour. Now Levine has been commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art (Moma) in New York to collaborate with Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons for a show and laser installation at Radio City Music Hall in January.
Among contemporary artist few others have made the experience of light so vital.
Levine is fascinated by the “sensory energy” and “spiritual dimension” of light. Levine’s fascination with light started when he was 11 and he saw his first beam of laser light in the school physics lab. A holographic portrait of Dennis Gabor, the Hungarian inventor of holography, at the Science Museum, was also an early inspiration. This exhibition considers light not just as a core aspect of art, but of human experience with a spiritual and philosophical edge, underscoring his entire body of work.
About the exhibition
The Light 3.142 exhibition is the first to survey the full range of Levine’s activity and it provides compelling evidence of the role of light as a constant, unifying presence in his work. The show spreads across the two main floors and the gallery seems to interrupt the natural light to create a sensory and perceptive atmospheric environment, which acts as both the subject and setting for his immersive light experiences.
She’s Light (Laser), 2013 is part of the new series of holographic portraits of supermodel, Kate Moss. Created in collaboration with leading make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury – a long-time friend of Moss’ – it depicts the iconic model in a meditative state, lit purely by laser light, Moss is bare but for some red lipstick, a slick of eyeliner and a diamond necklace.
Another of Levine’s holographic works is Stillness at the Speed of Light, 2010. A portrait of Grace Jones like you have never seen before!
In his portraits, Levine gets his subjects to sit before a special camera that shoots multiple images that will be digitally combined to create the final 3D lenticular-light work. A 3D realistic image that can be viewed without special glasses.
The exhibition continues on in the lower ground floor, where Levine seems to want to make us forget the world around us and focus our attention on the energy of light, the very thing at the core of all matter and space, and in doing so induce a meditative state in the viewer. Laser, modulators diffracts and LEDs are the source of these elusive works of art that exist for as long as the viewer perceives them. Provoking a dialogue between the human eye and mind.
Modulator 1.2 for example speaks directly to the retina. A sphere of light contains a central illuminated orb, this two areas forming slowly changing elements in a completely abstract chromatic conversation.
Light is Love 2013: On first sight this work appears to be a column of white LED lights, but as you turn away you actually see the artwork that yields a spectral meaning. Often called “Blimpverts” these works only appear in one’s peripheral vision. Very much a case of now you see it – now you don’t.
Leaving the gallery, it all becomes clearer: Just by paying close attention to those things the eye all too often misses might help us to elevate our consciousness.
By Alessandra Fatone