Art installation “Spectra”.

Let there be light: Art installation Spectra created as part of WWI commemorations pierces the night sky in dazzling display.

Ryoji Ikeda is Japan’s leading electronic composer and visual artist.

Based in Paris, he has produced 13 albums and countless compilations in addition to putting on visual art exhibitions across the world.

Ikeda has also performed at musical festivals and concerts throughout Europe and Japan.

The artist claims to draw on the ‘essential characteristics of sound itself and that of visuals as light by means of both mathematical precision and mathematical aesthetics.’

Handpicked by the Mayor of London’s office and the 14-18 Now, the Centenary Art Commission, to work on the piece, Ikeda is considered one of the few artists in the world who successfully creates art through both light and sound.


A spokesman for ArtAngel, who were initially approached to produce a light installation to mark the centenary, said: ‘Our directors were aware of the artist’s work and when approached and asked what we thought we should do we suggested Spectra.’

The installation has appeared in other cities in the world such as Hobart in Tasmania, but in different contexts, she added.

‘It works well with the lights out initiative. The piece has been used before but never in a memorial context.’

The lights’ square bases are 75cm and are thereofre easily transported.

Ikeda began constructing the grid at Victoria Tower Gardens on July 27, a week before the finished spectacle was unveiled to the public.

James Lingwood and Michael Morris, Artangel Co-Directors, said: ‘Spectra is an artwork sculpted in sound and light, a sublime combination of mathematics and architecture.

‘Ryoji Ikeda offers us an open invitation to look and listen and wonder.’

Jenny Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW said: ‘This beautiful artwork is a symbol of hope.

‘At this UK-wide moment of commemoration, it is a testament to the endurance of the human spirit in adversity.’

I thought this was amazing, and took place in London in 2014. An empowering installation that visually communicates peace, beauty and rays of hope. As it is to commemorate WW1, I am also putting this in Subject as it is secondary visual research for both my Subject and Field modules.

I would love to have seen this in person. In certain images, it looks like something out of a video game (Legend of Zelda as an example, when you are in the Temple of Time) and others, it looks supernatural. I also love how the beams seem to bend, depending on perspective and angle of photography. A very beneficial piece for my Field module in Light, because I am working with the idea of creating something handheld and portable that gives off light, that also could form into an Installation.


Author: lawrenceaaronmaker

Studying a BA Hons in Artist, Designer; Maker at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

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