Grimanesa Amorós: Let There Be Light
Peruvian born interdisciplinary artist Grimanesa Amorós is working on bringing the gift of light to public areas all around the world. Amorós works are not just an avant-garde expression of her inner thoughts, they are tools of enlightenment use to spark awareness and conversations about social topics, all while bringing awes and smiles to its viewers. With a background in psychology studies, Amorós has been able to incorporate a more defined objective into her work. LED lighting, sculptures, and references of events from around the world are some of the main components Amorós uses when creating her hybrid installations.
Golden Waters, a large-scale installation inspired by the Arizona canals, shown above and Pink Lotus, a multifaceted large-scale light installation at The Peninsula New York created in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month are Amorós most recent site-specific installations.
My conversation with Amorós touched on her inspirations, aesthetic, and love for New York City, the place she calls home.
TSF: When did you come to the realization that you wanted to be an artist?
GA: I was obsessed with maps since I was young. I would draw them over and over again all of the continents. As a consequence, my mother enrolled me in art classes at the age of eleven.
TSF: How did you begin creating sculptures for public art?
GA: My experience in Iceland was a wow! I immediately thought how wonderful to share this with others. As I used to say to my daughter when she was younger, sharing is caring! Although this was a term to teach my daughter the importance of sharing, it has truth. Sharing one’s memories with others is sharing a piece of oneself. My current inspiration derives from nature and her natural elements such as The Northern Lights and The Uros floating Islands in Lake Titicaca. I am intrigued by the accessibility and openness obtained by creating public art. I always enjoy seeing the expressions of the viewers as they encounter my work. it is fascinating when I watch the public engagement with the piece.
TSF: What’s your perspective and understanding of public space and the role of art in public space?
GA: I would say what differentiates public art from other forms of art expressions, is that public art is site-specific and meant to be shared with others. The work has to generate a dialogue with its surroundings and community. A piece must be a part of the surrounding architecture or natural landscape. I like to guide my viewer. My goal is to express awareness… I want them to think about the work and its surroundings.
TSF: Do you see a relationship between nature and your work?
GA: Since I was a child, living on the coast of Peru, I have always loved the beauty of the ocean; everything from the tides to the colors, to the bubbles and the foam. Off the coast of Puno, Peru is the Uros Islands. The Uros Islands are floating islets that are made of totora reeds that are grown in Lake Titicaca. Everything that ranges from houses to boats to watch towers are made of these totora reeds. Evolving from these two ideas, I created a piece for Times Square. My lighting sculpture titled “The Uros House”. It embodied the beauty of the sea foam, together with new materials and lighting. Nature for me is perfection!!
TSF: What is the work that you hold closest to your heart for its representation or experience lived while creating it?
GA: I’ve always wanted to make a piece for my love for New York ever since I arrived in the city. This was one of the reasons why it meant so much for me to have my work, UROS HOUSE in the middle of Times Square but I have to say it will always be the latest project, in this case, PINK LOTUS, where Circa 1881 and The Peninsula Hotel gave me the opportunity to honor women around the world all of those wonderful powerhouse women whom I admire!
TSF: What was the most challenging sculpture you ever made?
GA: They all have its challenges they varied I will say RACIMO, because of its size and location the installation was made in Finland in the middle of the winter
TSF: When and what led you to incorporate LED technology in your work?
GA: Before I was working with theater lights, I always knew I wanted to work with LEDs, at that time prices were prohibited
TSF: Do you feel your background in psychology has given you an edge and a clearer perspective for your work?
GA: I think my psychology background helps me to be flexible and to understand other human beings.
TSF: How has New York City influenced your creative process?
GA: When I first moved to New York from Peru, the first place I landed from the subway station was 42nd street, Times Square. The flashing lights, signs, and energy of the place inspired me to stay in New York loved the city immediately
TSF: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
GA: Life is one so let it go of everything that will prevent you to live a balanced life ;))
Click Here to find out more about Grimanesa Amorós and her upcoming projects.
Photos By: Gigi Stoll and the Grimanesa Amoro Studio