Emitting a captivating glow of energy throughout Exchange Square, Exchange House and beyond, Kevin Killen’s Senses of Light showcases a series of artworks commissioned by Broadgate for The Winter Forest.
Running from 19 November-31 March, it unifies beauty with fascinating ideas. Our art curator, Rosie Glenn, talked to the artist at Broadgate to uncover the inspiration behind these luminous installations.
What was the main concept behind the show?
My original idea was to present a body of artworks which captures the movement of people and traffic in and around Broadgate. Stepping out into Broadgate’s open spaces and walking along nearby Bishopsgate, I could sense the pattern and rhythm which I wanted to capture in my artwork. There’s an enormous sense of activity at Broadgate, of people going about their everyday life, either working or relaxing, and I knew instinctively that I wanted to render both this dynamic movement and energising tranquillity through a series of three-dimensional kinetic and illuminated artworks.
Street Flow is your new installation commissioned by Broadgate on view in Exchange Square. There’s a sense of journey in this artwork, a literal flow of colour and light across the space...
Yes, alluding to the nearby streets, here the edge-lit Perspex navigates a series of turns and curves in primary colours across the Square. Bridged by illuminated steel tubes, rather like the way in which the streets themselves are crossed by people and traffic, the Perspex switches from opaque blue to vibrant yellow and intense red, echoing the subtlety of merging traffic headlamps and coloured lights as people and vehicles flow in and around Bishopsgate. In addition, the restorative energy of Broadgate is reflected within the sculpture’s light sequence.
You’ve continued this theme through Lux, your bespoke neon sculpture within the Primrose Street atrium of Exchange House. However, this feels like a different interpretation of the area, fizzing with energy as the street-like reflections dart and repeat in the surrounding windows.
My intention here was to create a more intense artwork, an installation from which the viewer could absorb the energy. Also, yes, you’re right, in a way Lux is a refinement, a fleeting detail of Street Flow. Somehow, it really is a moment in time from the surrounding spaces. Neon is one of my favourite materials; the glasswork involved generates an elegance which reflects beautifully within the refined space of Exchange House.
Walking over to the reception lobby of 201 Bishopsgate, we get a clear sense of how these two installations were conceived...
Yes, I began this body of work with a night-time visit to the neighbourhood, using my camera to generate long exposure photographic images in which the movement and lights of pedestrians, cars, buses and taxis are fused into an energetic and glowing tapestry-like sequence of images.
I also worked with my audio equipment to record the sounds emanating from the streets. Once back in my studio I developed the ideas into a series of light drawings, a kind of visual language, which I translated into 3-D models. You can view a series of these artworks within the window space here and also upstairs on L1 of The Broadgate Tower just next door.
Let’s go into The Broadgate Tower and up to L2. Here the black-and-white studio portraits by Simon Mills provide a very strong contrast to the rest of the exhibition, they make the glass blowing process seem very dramatic!
It is, it’s something that requires a lot of focus, there’s no margin for error when working in the studio. Hopefully they show the demanding physical nature of my artwork as well as the subtlety, the alchemy almost, of the process.
Senses of Light has been produced and curated by Broadgate’s Art Curator, Rosie Glenn (rosieglenn.co.uk).
Viewings of the artwork are available 10am-4pm each weekday. To ensure ease of access on arrival at Exchange House, 201 Bishopsgate and The Broadgate Tower, please confirm your visit by email to Broadgate's art curator Rosie Glenn (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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Senses of Light photos by Brendan Bell and Luca Piffaretti