Anthony McCall. Cara a cara, 2018. Fotografía: Darren O’Brien/Guzelian Pictures. Cortesía del artista


The work of the British Anthony McCall moves between cinema, drawing and sculpture; He began working on performances that he developed in open spaces and using scarce and basic elements, such as fire, to later become one of the most solid representatives of the cinematographic avant-garde in his country, with the help of the London Film-makers’ Co-op.

In 1973, just the year he decided to settle in New York, he began the series of works for which we know him best today: his solid light installations, which had as their starting point the piece Line Describing a Cone, in which a volumetric shape created through projected light slowly evolved in three-dimensional space. In those years it was not easy for his art to enter galleries, and McCall exhibited mainly in warehouses, which were not exhibition spaces as such but which did provide this type of installations with the appropriate atmosphere to be appreciated, to have the feeling that the light was taking shape.

The spaces in which these works are not only exhibited but also developed are another plastic and visual element of his projects: we cannot understand them as mere containers, in the same way that, speaking of McCall, we cannot understand the art as a static experience that does not require the participation of the viewer. He interweaves space and time, making both belong to a single moment: that of contemplation by a third party.

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao commemorates the tenth anniversary of its room, and of its program, Film & Video (which has already included artists such as Christian Marclay, Ragnar Kjartansson, Pierre Huyghe, Diana Thater, William Kentridge, Sharon Lockhart and Marine Hugonnier) celebrates it with a specific proposal for the occasion from the Englishman, based in New York: Fracción de Segundo, under the curator of Manuel Cirauqui. It is a new immersive experience in which projected light is used to generate potentially sculptural phenomena: beams of light give rise to geometric structures and points form lines, straight or curved, that intersect in space and that we can interpret as drawings in the air, as abstract cinema or as minimalist sculpture executed with solid light and subject, for that reason, to variations in position, scale and orientation. The interaction of the spectators with this piece will be inevitable, but it will not be a common connection: it will have to do with surprise and not with tactility.

Split Second Mirror IVwhich is the specific name of the work exhibited in Bilbao, is a double horizontal projection of light that includes two large mirrors, two other projectors and translucent screens, elements that generate a division or cut in the two conical volumes that articulate the light and that are placed symmetrically in the room, as if they sought to reflect or multiply their movements.

The light is also projected at different heights, causing elliptical and horizontal effects; In addition, McCall has used digital animation to make the shapes rotate in space, where they merge to compose a linear drawing consisting of a field of intersecting and spiral planes.

The paradoxes in contemplation are notable: multidimensional images appear solid, despite being made of light, and they also appear motionless, even though they change repeatedly over time. Proposing the public to interact with these moving light sculptures implies, for McCall, questioning the use of narrative, montage and the manipulation of the fundamental elements of light, time and space in conventional cinema, in which McCall start your career: This work is part of a long series that I have been working on for more than 50 years. I started out focusing on film, but over the years I have also been interested in the sculptural element and the fact that drawing is always involved; and even performance in the sense that visitors interact with themselves as well as with the work.

The exhibition is completed with the presentation of an early work by the same author, Black and white miniature (1972), in which a Kodak carousel slide projector, very popular in the 1970s, displays a rotation of 81 slides that produce color negative images that appear after looking at a still image for a while and then looking at a white object . We will also see Smokescreen (2017), a set of large-scale photographs that freeze the movement of solid light, so that our eyes can stop to appreciate the textures of artificial fog that are revealed for moments through a beam of light.

“Anthony McCall: Split Second”


Abandoibarra Avenue, 2


From June 19 to November 10, 2024

Similar Posts