05. Jul 2017

“Plexus c18”: art installation at San Antonio Airport.

Text: Jo-Eike Vormittag
Photo: Frederick Gonzales


We can be blind to the truth; our eyes tell us often enough that light is white. In fact, many people who do not know a lot about light and its properties may indeed not be aware of the fact that white light is actually a combination of light of different wavelengths in the visible spectrum from red to violet – with peaks at different points in the colour spectrum, depending on the light source. That is why it is always so fascinating to witness white light separated into its different spectral components.

The “Plexus c18” installation designed by artist Gabriel Dawe does just that. But somewhat differently from how it initially appears to. In this case, the light is not split into different colours by prisms or special particles. The artist has cleverly succeeded in simulating the process. The artwork, which emulates the dynamic shape of an airplane, comprises 90 miles (almost 140 kilometres) of coloured thread hooked from wall to ceiling and suspended from the vaulted ceiling of the Terminal A ticketing area at San Antonio Airport. The chromatic design incorporates 19 colours altogether, the threads woven together tightly to generate the impression of clearly defined rays of coloured light. Thousands of travellers are thus reminded of the special quality and composition of light, although the project is not in fact a light installation but a strikingly realistic imitation. The harmonious flow of the rainbow colours is fascinating to the onlooker, the work itself highlighting the architecture and the spatial atmosphere through form and colour.

But our eyes play tricks on us even when viewing the photos: the image looks like a computer animation. An optical illusion caused by the tight network of threads and the colour gradient.


Design: Gabriel Dawe

Cooperation: Blue Star Contemporary (BSC), City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts & Culture’s (DA&C), Public Art San Antonio (PASA) division and San Antonio International Airport (SAT)


www.gabrieldawe.com

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