PAINTING WITH LIGHT Grimanesa Amoros is an artist fascinated by Social History, Scientific Research and critical theory. Her revelatory work is captivating and beguiling, with an entrancing creativity that illuminates our notions of personal identity and community. She has become one of the most closely watched artists in New York and is now building a strong following in China. Written by Daniel Jeffreys, Deluxewords
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A conversation with New York-based artist Grimanesa Amorós is like riding a Waltzer, a fairground attraction from my childhood. e contraption was a bit like being inside a chaotic rotating kaleidoscope. I’d sit with friends in a spinning car on a speeding turntable that would fling my imagination in a new direction with every beat of my agitated heart. It was thrilling and kinetic and we’d walk away with our heads spinning and a skip in our step.
Amoros was born in Peru, but she has been based in New York for most of this teenage century. Her hyperbolic works incorporate elements from sculpture, video, lighting, and digital technology to create site- specific installations. Her projects bristle with energy and are designed to engage with architecture and create a sense of community through conversation.
Some artists seek a place of unobtainable abstraction in their works, others strive for a sense of harmony or the capture of beauty. Amoros’s work has elements of all three but her primary goal is to communicate and participate.
“I am looking to share what I do with others,” she says from her studio on the lower West side of Manhattan. “it’s important for me to establish communication with my viewers, and make them think of infinite possibilities. I don’t want to control them so they just see my point of view.”
Amoros has spoken of her desire that “the piece, the person and the structure to become one”, which suggests a high and unusual degree of interaction between her work and the viewer – although Amoros might prefer the term “participant”, as many of her kinetic light sculptures seem to demand high levels of engagement.
“I want the viewers to not be distracted and be able to feel and think when they see my work,” she says. “That will be much easier when you enter a place as a whole. e lighting sequences on my pieces, because they are ephemeral, give my work a timeless quality and that’s an aspect of the participation I’m looking for. You want to grab the moment but you can’t, it’s ever changing.”
One of Amoros’s most famous works to date is UROS, which was unveiled at the Issey Miyake headquarters in New York in 2011. The crowds that flocked to see the installation referred to the piece as “the bubbles”.
Built from translucent plastic diffusion material illuminated by carefully wired and sequenced LED arrays, the work features glowing hemispheres that evoke the floating islands build by the uros people of Lake Titicaca. Crafted from reeds, these islands floated on the gas bubbles released as their submerged portion decomposed.