Sunday, July 21, 2013

Paul Kolker's Light and Mirror Boxes

Paul Kolker has one of the coolest spaces for an art gallery in Chelsea.  In order to get to the gallery space you have to travel down a couple zig-zag flights of stairs to an underground area which looks and feels like an art bunker.  Or you can be more pragmatic and just take the elevator. Take the elevator and lose the experience of descending into Kolker's light and mirror wonderland? Never!

From Kolker's web site:

"In the 1980s Kolker began making light sculptures using one-way mirror and LED message screens, reflecting ad infinitum." 

To me it's like electronic Malevich.  He takes very simple geometric shapes and using just 6 mirrors per thin box creates a theoretical view of infinity. Or, you could even say he gives you a visceral sense of infinity.  The endless repetition of the basic image creates a three dimensional structure that perpetuates itself endlessly until the repetition is lost to our vision. Infinity then becomes something lacking light and structure. His work gives you a sense of beauty and a type of vertigo at the same time.

It's better to look into one of Kolker's boxes yourself, since a camera cannot capture the sense of depth and space Kolker's lights and mirrors create.  Nevertheless, my friend Eunyoung Oh did a great job taking these photos.

Looking into one of Kolker's boxes gives you the sense you are looking into a dark and endless electronically created tunnel. 

The repetition of the images also creates a crystalline form.  The image below could be perceived as anything from an atomic structure to a stained glass window of a church.

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