Fields Awash With the Glow of a Thousand Lights

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  • Image: Mark Pickthall

    Eden Project, Cornwall, UK

    It’s like the stars have fallen from the sky. The expanse before one’s eyes is awash with a blaze of light – as if mocking the surrounding darkness. Magical things happen when dreams become reality, and it certainly seems as though Bruce Munro has created something magical with his installation, ‘Field of Light’. In Munro’s fairytale-esque work, acrylic stems and optical fibers combine to make breathtaking displays in places you wouldn’t expect.

  • Image: Mark Picthall

    Long Knoll, Kilmington

    The inspiration for Field of Light came around 20 years ago when Munro was visiting the barren expanse of Australia’s Red Desert.

  • Image: Mark Picthall

    The Eden Project, Cornwall

    Providing a contrast to the miles upon miles of red desert landscape are roadside campsites, which, thanks to sprinklers, create a series of green oases.

  • Image: Mark Picthall

    The Eden Project, Cornwall

    The campsites Munro encountered in the desert also often boast a piece of kitsch sculpture – such as a giant pineapple, banana or sheep. Understandably, these surreal sculptures in the middle of nowhere caught the artist’s imagination.

  • Image: Mark Picthall

    Long Knoll, Kilmington

    Munro was also fascinated by how the desert bloomed after rainfall, with the water causing hidden seeds to explode into life. The sketches he made at the time stayed in his notebook and continued to nudge him until he brought them to fruition in the form of Field of Light.

  • Image: Mark Pickthall

    Holburne Museum, Bath

    “Deserts have many incongruities,” says Munro. “They are infertile, barren places until it rains and then they bloom like a veritable Eden.”

  • Image: Mark Pickthall

    Long Knoll, Kilmington

    Munro continues: “I wanted to create a field of light stems that, like the dormant seed in a dry desert, would quietly wait until darkness falls and then under a blazing blanket of southern stars bloom with gentle rhythms of light.”

  • Image: Mark Picthall

    Holburne Museum, Bath

    A prototype for the Field of Light was first shown to the public as a small-scale version in the windows of the Harvey Nichols store in London between November 2003 and January 2004; and then as part of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Brilliant exhibition in April 2004.

  • Image: Mark Pickthall

    Long Knoll, Kilmington

    In October 2004, Munro installed the first large-scale version of the project in the 10-acre Long Knoll Field near his studio. What garnered the installation widespread recognition, however, was the installation Munro created for Cornwall’s Eden Project in 2008, which boasted no fewer than 6,000 of these magical illuminated flowers glowing amidst the iconic biomes.

  • Image: Mark Picthall

    Holburne Museum, Bath

    Each acrylic stem is topped with an acrylic frosted ball, with fiber optic cables running through the stems allowing the whole to be illuminated. The stems in fact hold no power themselves; rather, they are lit by an external projector on a color wheel.

  • Image: Mark Pickthall

    The Eden Project, Cornwall

    “By placing an alien installation in the midst of nature, the enormous contrast created allows people to literally see the wood from the trees,” says Munro.

  • Image: Mark Pickthall

    Holburne Museum, Bath

    For those of you lucky enough to live near Bath in England, the newest Field of Light installation – which uses an impressive 5,220 stems of light – is at the Holborne Museum until 8th January 2012.

  • Image: Mark Picthall

    Holburne Museum, Bath

    Sources: 1, 2, 3

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Michele Collet
Michele Collet
Scribol Staff
Art and Design
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