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Luces The singular building of the Archaeological Museum of Frankfurt is situated not far from the Cathedral, in an area dominated by the silhouette of the Commerzbank skyscraper by Norman Foster. A little jewel, the Archaeological Museum occupies the rebuilt Gothic Church of a Carmelite nunnery. A modern wing has been also created to enlarge the exhibition surface and host the administration offices. The whole is quite unusual, with the old that living in total harmony with the contemporary… Just what happens for the exhibition Luces, that took place last April in the contest of Luminale during Light+Building 2010.
The exhibition showed nine site-specific works, designed and made for the event by a significant group of Italian light’s artists. Besides these new pieces, the visitors could also admire the luminous cube of Percorsi, the last work created by the great exponent of Kinetic Art Marinellia Pirelli, who died last year. The exhibition was dedicated to her by the curator Gisella Gellini.


Percorsi, by Marinellia Pirelli
Clear perspex cube (30x30x30 cm). “The white light shines through the cube engraved by lasercut marks and projects a kaleidoscope of multicoloured straight lines onto the wall. It’s a work in itself, but also the model for a larger object that I would like to realise for placing it in a semidarkened setting… but the material itself, which consists of 2-cm-thick methacrylate plates, could impose limits. I chose this particular size by chance, but then I discovered that 30 cm is the distance travelled by light in about a billionth of a second.”

Eclisse, by Nino Alfieri
Eclisse is a parabola as wide as a viewer’s open arms, a reference to Renaissance concepts when man was the unit of measure. The aluminium parabola is painted with specific light sensitive colours and an electronic gear creating the light effects is shielded inside. The pigments react to UV and incandescent light revealing shapes that cyclically come and go on the surface. The slow light variations remind the daytime cycle, that is the relationship between light and time.

Light sympathy, by Marco Brianza
The installation suggests a link between the latest lighting technologies, to be shown alongside at Light+Building fair and the ones used at the dawn of artificial light. By means of an ancient Roman oil lamp – that burns olive oil – from the museum’s exhibits, the work captures the flickering of the flame through a sensor and reproduces it in real-time, amplified, through the gothic windows of the building , creating a link of “syn-patheia” between past and present.

Anulus, by Paolo Calafiore
A group of Roman columns, basements and capitals, lay on a platform at the centre of the nave showing Roman Age exhibits. In the centre of this area, vertically suspended, a big ring of dynamic, silver and white light. On the back wall a mirror (of the same dimension of the ring) reflects the ring of dynamic light and the columns, overturning the perspective of the nave. A control system will merge the light variations and the effects with sounds: deep and far sonar echoes coming from the space-time.

Romæ, by Livia Cannella
The installation suggests a meeting between the archaeological heritage of Frankfurt and the one of former Imperial capital, the motherland of a culture that left many witnesses of its passage in that city. Many famed items from the roman heritage thus will pay visit to the museum, bearing the form of a light’s feature. Ephemeral “gate watchers”, these light’s features will alternate, one for each evening of the event’s schedule, in the inner garden facing the museum’s foyer, showing the greatness and power of a speechless and motionless presence.

Light Pulse, by Nicola Evangelisti
According to medieval metaphysics, the body of the universe is determined because it manifests itself, it ‘appears’, being its primary form, the light-lux, self-manifestative. It is quantified because matter cannot infinitely expand and therefore it stops the drive of the light-lux towards infinite expansion. The regularization that matter causes on the chaotic flow of light and the control that it has on it by framing and blocking its lateral diffusion through the reflecting surfaces of its geometric body, makes it the vector and the propagator of light itself in verticality.

Intima, by Donatella Schilirò
The works suggests a visual fusion between the interior and the outside space created by the superimposition of visual memories and true reflexes. The Earth, the fifth among the eight planets of the solar system, is symbolised by five self-standing light boxes whose shape follows the semicircular glazed wall of the linking corridor. Three are made of mirror laser-pierced steel and two are made of engraved plexiglas, coated by photographic film. The installation wishes to bring inside the Museum images we own already but we lost in memory.

Bwindi Light Masks, by Richi Ferrero
Forthy identical masks coming from a boundary area between Congo and Uganda have been placed as little monoliths in open order outside the Archaeological Museum of Frankfurt. The daylight gave the representation’s essence, a wait state. The rite came to life when the artificial light changed into the darkness, when the colours of the masks created a dance marked by the bi-vocal sounds of Tuva people.

Arpa di luce, by Gianpietro Grossi, Pietro Pirelli and Francesco Murano
Laser light beam harp, it is both a sculpture and a polyphonic musical instrument able to emit sounds from the light beams, by touching them with the hands or another body’s part, or by interrupting the beams. It consists of two parts, a laser light generator and a receiver box containing light sensors. Between the generator box and the receiver box there is an empty space crossed only by green light beams. The musicians or any person wishing to interact with the instrument can move. A software produces sounds and MIDI signals.

Il tempo passa, by Johannes Pfeiffer
The concept of this work is based on the same location where it is to be located: the Archaeological Museum of Frankfurt, which shows many ancient roman findings. The installation takes a number of archaeological exhibits to be equipped with light sources, luminous sands and liquid substances, for creating a trait-d’union from past time up to now. The lights coming out from the exhibits bring us straight to the fight between history and present time. The luminous beam lights up the paths through the centuries, whose luminous trail guides us in our journey to the past and then help us to come back to the present.