Tracing Space: Anthony McCall
If you happen to be in Cologne, don’t make the mistake of missing an unforgettable experience at Anthony McCall’s exhibition at Galerie Thomas Zander. Since the 1970s, McCall’s reductivist installations mesmerize audiences. It is hard to describe the experience in words, but to give a sense of this immersive artworks, one must speak to the artworks unfolding in time.
A spectator walks from the bright outer gallery space into a pitch dark room, his eyes take time to adjust to the absolute darkness, but soon he realize there is a shaft of light streaming down evenly from above. This shaft is actually a line, a thin beam of light that is moving ever so slowly. The light line moves into different shapes, volume is created as the light reflects off of a light fog or dust that is fills the air, invisible until illuminated. The lines move around one another at a constant pace, creating volumes, coming apart, making cones of light that threaten to pull you up into a UFO. At he forefront, his work is about the idea of exchange between different forms and how they engage with the body, but it is also about efficiency, using the most basic and simple elements for maximum effect.
See this video made by Tate that explains how is work is created in time:
McCall began making work during the rise of minimalism in the 70s in New York - he says at a time when artists were “looking for ways to render down an idea to it’s basic forms.” He describes his work as somewhere between cinema, sculpture and drawing. Cinemas, because they are pieces that are constructed in time, sculptures because they are three dimensional forms that invite the spectator to move around inside of them and drawing because, in essence, his works are simply an animated line drawing that is projected from the ceiling to the floor.