by Girinandini SinghAug 01, 2021
The glaring shift in the environment, causing an unhealthy balance, still remains outside the clear sight of the vision for many. Illuminating upon these changes are the kinetic light sculptures by the Texas-based new media artist, Adela Andea. The industrial electronic components such as light and plastic, designed in incongruent structures, offer organic shape to the installations. At the core of her artistic ideas lies the social responsibility for research that can ensure technological progress and ecological balance. Inspired by “nature, natural versus artificial concepts; environmental issues and technological advances”, the artist aspires to blend aesthetically the romantic notion of nature with the manmade aesthetic.
In an interview with STIR, Romania-born Andea shares, “My passion is to create large-scale sculptures and environment-installations that engulf the viewers and captivate through overstimulation by light. By stepping in and walking through the installation the audience becomes temporarily part of the artwork as they experience the artwork from inside and outside at the same time, thus challenging the notion of a fixed point of view. Environments according to Allen Kaprow are an extension of painting when referring to the issue of space.”
Her latest installation Chaos Incarnate at the Center for International Light Art in Unna, Germany, carries an appearance of an unorganised alien organism growing chaotically on the historic walls of the museum, invading the space from the right corner and twisting towards the left. Andea states, “After standing on the shoulders of the pioneers in this field, like Keith Sonnier or James Turrell (both very formal and painterly), or conceptually involved artists in the light movement like Christian Boltansky, Rebecca Horn, Joseph Kosuth, Jason Rhoades, just to name few, I was thrilled to exhibit next to their works in the same museum. Being able to exhibit among these famous artists gives me a platform to speak about the future of the light movement. I was ready to present the formal and conceptual parts of my work with an exhibition encompassing the latest technologies in the light and computer industries with the undertone of the overwhelming consumerism and digital aspect of this century and sublimities of climate change.”
The artwork Passage through the Frozen Dusk is born out of her reflection on the current environmental issues. “I tried to portray a different version, a redefined interpretation of the largest free-standing glacier in the world: Vatnajökull glacier in Iceland. Iceland is close to my heart for that reason. Looking at the melting glaciers has always saddened and inspired me.” For the installation, the artist has used plastic collected from all the water she has been drinking. The plastics are transformed into glaciers. The light coming through portrays the beauty of these natural formations. At the end of the installation, there is a pond, where water is being moved by ultrasonic foggers and computer LED fans. The mist dissipates into the space of the gallery and we all become consumers of water once again.
Andea’s favourite wall-dependent artworks, not an installation, Techno-Alchemy Apparatus, like the rest of her works also posed challenges at the duration of creation. The work involving a diverse range of materials such as closed-circuit water-cooling system, water pump, Tygon tubing, UV Dye, LED illuminator, cold cathode fluorescent lights was realised after more than one year of planning, acquiring materials and experimenting with various combinations “The idea of alchemy metaphorically reflects, at some level, the realm of art and technology, a relation I am formally investigating as a new media artist.”
Andea recognises that every major art installation consists of two main operations: one is the logistics and the other one is the creative part. If the former occupies her chiefly, then during the latter process, “When I assemble on the site all the structural units (mostly all finished before in my studio), I prefer to work alone and find my zen and ignore distractions in a public space. It is a balance hard to find when the most inner creative force meets the outside world. The installation as an art form needs to be created in the actual space of the exhibition.”
If the binary between nature and technology after the industrial revolution has been her theme from the moment go, then her hybrid sculptures have been nurtured on the ideas of technology and consumerism. With this amalgamation, Andea is hopeful her audience, “understands and feels the impact of our civilisation upon the environment in which we live in.” As someone who does not prefer to harbour “cookie-cutter ideas about this subject”, she wants everybody to think about both aspects of progress and nature and support both in the most intelligent way.