Kurt Hentschläger vs Luc Coeckelberghs

Posted in MediaArt by tpdr on April 12, 2009

Contrary to what the title might suggest, I am not really going to compare the two works of both artists I have seen these last weeks. More important for my own research is how both of the influenced me.

First of all about a week ago I have seen ‘ZEE’ by Kurt Hentschläger at the STRP festival in Eindhoven. 20 minutes of sound and light in a space filled with smoke, just being guided by some ropes near the walls of the space. I was surprised the smoke and stroboscopic lights didn’t make me feel as uncomfortable as I had expected. The experience did have a great impact though. Both mentally and physically you could feel what the sound, light and smoke was doing to you. Physically, because of the smoke, it had a strong disorientating effect and as I was trying to get away from other participants, I found it hard to isolate myself, because every time (especially when the stroboscopic light was turned off again) I noticed I was standing next to somebody again without being aware of this immediatly. I never really bumped into somebody though. Also during the periods of stroboscopic light, it was strange to feel how my eyelids where ‘trembling’. Finally, feeling alone, even if it were just for a few seconds, I could really feel how my body was relaxing. On a mental level this also was the case and I don’t know if other people had this similar experience, it might have to do with my interest in mental landscapes and mapping/cartography, but seeing nothing but smoke, I started imagining the space, filling in the blanks and mentally exchanging the smoke for some kind of ‘imaginary space’.

This work of art was so powerful that I started doubting  my own research. I was wondering if I could make a strong impact like this with my reflective room that becomes transparant at certain moments and will be supported by colored light and ‘spacial sounds’. Luckily I decided to go see Countour Light in Mechelen yesterday night, where I experienced ‘Lighthouse’ by Luc Coeckelberghs. (IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO GO SEE IT, I THINK IT IS BEST NOT TO CONTINUE READING THIS POST AND READ IT AFTER YOU HAVE SEEN EVERYTHING YOURSELF!)

Even though I especially went to see the work of Erki De Vries and Tim Vets, I was surprised especially by Luc’s ‘Lighthouse’. This construction (container with LEDs, Perspex, synthetic canvas, computer; 390 x 280 x 800 cm) is built in the courtyard of ‘Hof van Busleyden’, a small garden recently renovated in a modern, rather minimalistic way. As a white light emitting geometrical building it fits right in. Once you get inside and close the door the real experience begins. All walls are covered with rgb-LEDs hidden behind blurred Perspex and change color in a continuous cycle. Of course I expected every color would have a different feel, but I couldn’t have imagined it to be this strong. I think I will go back to have a second go to be even more aware of what every color does to you, but it was clear that darker, bluish colors made me feel kind of heavy, like I was undergoing some kind of presure pushing me with my feet to the ground/floor, I thought the green collor, but also the yellow colors, seemed to take away this presure and even made me feel lighter and almost like I was going to float. Even though the construction was not floating, at some points I had the feeling as if it were detaching itself and starting to lift from the ground, very strange experience. Luc Coeckelberghs might be best known as a painter, but I must say I wouldn’t mind if he would continue making this kind of light art.