UK: More than 20 pioneering international artists have been commissioned to transform buildings and streets of the capital for the first Lumiere London festival, a groundbreaking free event that will take place over four winter evenings.
Designed to chase away the January blues and show the city in a new light, this major new festival will feature installations for some of the city’s most iconic buildings and locations on a grand scale. Lumiere London will explore London’s urban landscape and architecture from Leicester Square to Piccadilly, St James’s, Carnaby Street and Oxford Circus in London’s West End, to the German Gymnasium and Granary Square at King’s Cross.
Aimed at Londoners and visitors to the capital at what is traditionally one of the quietest times of the year, Lumiere London will invite people to explore and rediscover the city and all its attractions.
Using the city as their canvas, commissioned artists from across the world will create a major outdoor showcase of artworks made from light that will underpin London’s status as a cultural destination.
Lumiere London is produced by Artichoke and supported by the Mayor of London and VisitLondon.com, with founding support from Atom Bank, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Heart of London Business Alliance and King’s Cross, and additional support from a raft of partners and sponsors, including Westminster City Council.
Festival highlights revealed so far include:
Garden of Light, TILT (France) – TILT’s exotic garden of giant illuminated plants will bring tropical summer to dark January nights in Leicester Square, one of London’s premiere entertainment spots. In partnership with Heart of London Business Alliance.
1.8 London, Janet Echelman (US) – a vast billowing aerial sculpture constructed from thousands of feet of knotted twine and suspended at Oxford Circus. The sculpture is inspired by the 2011 Japanese Tsunami, which sped up the earth’s vibrations and temporarily shortened the length of the day by 1.8 micro-seconds. Powered by Atom.
Les Voyageurs, Cedric Le Borgne (France) – Le Borgne’s larger than life human figures will appear like guardian angels on and around buildings in the St James’s area. In partnership with The Crown Estate.
Joining the Dots, Clearly Connolly (Ireland/France) – a projected artwork on the German Gymnasium in King’s Cross, based on perceptive psychology and developed with the contribution of local school students.
BinaryWaves, LAb[au] (Belgium) – has its roots in the cybernetic art of the 1960s. Transposing the electromagnetic waves that carry telecommunications into light, sound and motion across 40 undulating illuminated panels, the work responds to the everyday rhythms of the city.
Circus of Light, Ocubu (Portugal) – A magical animation across the breadth of the iconic Granary Building at King’s Cross, Circus of Light features local residents and passers-by.
Litre of Light, Mick Stephenson, (UK) – Working with students at Central Saint Martins, Mick Stephenson will create a structure resembling the shanty homes that are illuminated using simple technology developed by MyShelter Foundation’s Litre of Light campaign. Supported by Veolia.
Main Plaza, Regent’s Place
Spin, Nathaniel Rackowe (UK) – Uniting the two Lumiere London hubs, Spin strings together interlocking rectangles of glowing wire to form the outside of a dodecahedron, one of the fundamental three-dimensional building blocks of the universe. Split into rectangles, each one lights in turn, creating a sense of movement and shifting composition, which gains in speed and momentum until it appears to be one single form moving in space before all the planes are revealed simultaneously. Supported by British Land and Regent’s Place.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Lumiere London is going to transform the capital in spectacular style. In one of the quietest periods of the year, artists from around the world are creating a stunning festival of light that will give Londoners and tourists alike another great reason to head into central London.”
Helen Marriage, Artichoke Director and curator of Lumiere London said: “Lumiere London promises to be an extraordinary event that showcases artists from across the globe working with many forms of light to transform our public spaces.
“Using London’s buildings as their canvas and our streets as their auditorium, these installations are not hidden away behind the closed doors of art institutions, theatres or concert halls, but firmly in the public realm.
This event shows how this great world city can turn itself into a huge public gallery, a pedestrian playground free temporarily from traffic and accessible to all”.
Artichoke is working with Team London, the Mayor’s volunteering programme for London, to recruit over 200 volunteers from across the capital to help make the festival a success. From sharing knowledge of the city and recommending places to eat and drink, to helping audiences discover more about the artworks. You can sign up here.
In advance of Lumiere London, during December, Londoners and visitors to the capital will get a taster of what is to come. King’s Cross has commissioned Creatmosphere (UK) to make Let it Snow, an installation made in collaboration with Hello Wood using 365 wooden sledges.
The full Lumiere London programme will be revealed in January.