Paul Friedlander: light sculptor


scientific artist




During my early years while working in stage lighting I continued with light art on a small scale. The central question I asked myself is how I can create ‘light sculpture’? This was the early 80s and I may have invented the term without realising. What I had in mind was to go beyond projection on a surface and make something truly three dimensional that appeared to be made of light. Not a solid object, something kinetic, dynamic and possessing the qualities of luminosity and transparency we associate with light.

Light Harp, 1981; materials: wood, string and toy electric motor; dimensions: 30cm x 30cm x 50cm. The strings were set in motion by the vibrations from the motor. Ambient lighting.

Super String, 1982; materials: metal, electronics, toy motors, string; dimensions: 50cm x 30cm x 30cm. Chromastrobic lighting.

Both of these photos are undoctored, short exposure and show how the sculptures appear to the naked eye. The only methods that existed at the time to create 3 dimensional lightforms were holography and stereoscopy (Presenting different images to left and right eye to give appearance of three dimensions.) My experiments went beyond both creating something that was not constrained to exist within a frame and could be viewed from any direction or distance. These and many other early works were shown first in the ICA in London in 1983. More details are to be found in Art Background web pages.

Recently I decided to explore further the Light Harp idea , the first of the new Light Harps was at the Shambala Festival, near London the next in Bury, Lancashire. Check out Gallery for photos of everything else.