This remarkable chandelier from Hilden & Diaz projects a 360° shadow of trees and roots onto the walls surrounding it. Titled Forms in Nature the light was partly inspired by the drawings of Ernst Haeckel, the German biologist, naturalist, and philosopher (among other things) who is perhaps most famous for discovering thousands of new animal species and mapping them to a genealogical “tree of life”. Hilden & Diaz describe via their website that the shadows in their light are actually upside down:
Interestingly, the roots are those elements of the forest that are the most visible. Thereby the sculpture is not only mirrored, but also turned upside down in Hilden & Diaz’ artwork. […] The shadows engulfs the room and transforms the walls into unruly shadows of branches, bushes and gnarled trees. Mirrorings are thrown out upon the walls and ceilings and provide weak Rorschach-like hints of faces, life and flow of consciousness. Dimming the lights transforms the installation and one senses a weak fire burning deep in the center of the forest.
Approach a sculpture by artist Diet Wiegman and you might be left scratching your head at this random assembly of trash and objects, but shine a light on this same pile of detritus and suddenly a perfectly formed shadow appears: the unmistakable form of Michael Jackson, Michelangelo’s David or even a faithful recreation of the Earth’s surface as it reflects off a metal tray. In no way limited to shadows, the the artists career which spans nearly 50 years (most of what you see above was created in the 1980s) has also involved ceramics, paint, andphotography. Two other accomplished artists, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, have also created similar shadow sculptures, though most of these works by Wiegman appear to pre-date them a bit. You can see 38 light sculptures on his blog and read a bit more over on Alafoto.
Tim Noble and Sue Webster take ordinary things including rubbish, to make assemblages and then point light to create projected shadows which show a great likeness to something identifiable including self-portraits. The art of projection is emblematic of transformative art. The process of transformation, from discarded waste, scrap metal or even taxidermy creatures to a recognizable image, echoes the idea of ‘perceptual psychology’ a form of evaluation used for psychological patients. Noble and Webster are familiar with this process and how people evaluate abstract forms. Throughout their careers they have played with the idea of how humans perceive abstract images and define them with meaning. The result is surprising and powerful as it redefines how abstract forms can transform into figurative ones