Daniel von Sturmer, Luminous Figures

Daniel von Sturmer, Luminous Figures

Image: Daniel von Sturmer, Luminous Figures, installation view at Starkwhite, 2017

An exhibition of work by MADA Senior Lecturer Daniel von Sturmer. Presented in association with Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne.

In Electric Light (facts/figures/starkwhite) a single robotic light scans the room, tracing the space and highlighting the features and facts of the architecture.

Galleries are charged spaces, framing objects, events and activity within them as art. The space is usually intended to recede while the art-object of attention comes to the fore. Electric Light (facts/figures) points to the space itself as object. Conceived as an expanded video, where the viewer’s own agency effects the editing of the narrative, and the gallery becomes a set, the space is rendered a dynamic form; an active stage.

The work projects a series of figures - a line, a square, a circle, a dot - to interact with the given conditions of the space as found. These drawings in light animate across the space, aligning with surfaces, corners, edges and ornamentation. They articulate the facts; details, features and qualities which conspire to produce a particular experience. They draw attention to what is always there, in the background, quietly supporting the main event.

The viewer is choreographed along with the work. We look up, across, around the space. Our agency is shaped, constructed and formed into play. Humour, surprise and interaction are key components of the work. At first it might seem the space is empty, no show to be seen, no art in the room. But then, as it becomes apparent that the stage has already been set, an experience of event is made manifest. We attend to the ephemeral, immaterial qualities of the space. As noted in Electric Light (2016), a "circle of light, slowly panning or abruptly appearing only to fade again, carries associative meaning, evoking the cosmic or the banal; perhaps both at once."

Similar to the way the gallery space frames the art, video always exists within a boundary, a (usually) rectilinear edge. In Luminous Figures (line left) and Luminous Figures (line right) this edge is described by a revolving ribbon of light within a barely discernible box.

Presented side by side, the videos perform a dialogue of movement which renders the pictorial plane unstable and in flux. They make evident the constructed nature of our seeing; a mode of engagement we write anew, moment to moment, to conform our model of the world with what appears to be there.