‘The Light Shines Out of Me’ is the latest art installation at Jupiter Artland by Anya Gallaccio.
To people familiar with the work of Anya it may be no surprise that there is a decaying, dead tree stump within the installation area. However this is not the main feature.
It is very possible that you need to see this work to appreciate it properly, as these photographs and descriptions seem inadequate. I am looking forward to returning on a sunnier day as I think the effect on the crystals will be magical.
The thoughts in this article regarding the installation are mainly my own. I was unable to attend the opening of the installation and have not seen other explanations beyond that it is a ‘chamber encrusted with amethysts, surrounded by obsidian in its natural state, protected by gold barbed wire’.
I stand to be further informed as to the significance.
Standing at various points, looking into the chamber, some may envisage an opening into the ground, perhaps a volcanic mouth or an entrance shaft to a chamber with hidden treasure.
Given that amethyst and obsidian are both forms of Silicon Dioxide (SiO2) that are products of volcanic activity, the visual associations with a volcano mouth are perhaps more appropriate.
Amethyst crystals are found in volcanic rocks. These ones were mined in Brazil.
Obsidian is technically a ‘glass’ extruded from volcanic lava flows which have cooled rapidly, allowing only minimal crystal growth and tend to be found around the edges of the solidified lava.
This conceptualisation is too firmly rooted to be coincidental, however a simpler explanation of the significance of the amethyst crystals could be around the ancient myths of its healing properties, which would resonate with the commissioners of the art.
Many of Anya’s art installations utilise materials that undergo a change during the course their being exhibited. A classic example is ‘Red on Green‘, 10,000 red rose heads, organic material left to decay.
The two prime materials used in this more permanent installation are both manifestations of the same substance, silicon dioxide. Each has already undergone a change process to form into their respective states.
I am uncertain as to how ‘The Light Shines Out of Me’ will change in time, exposed to natural light and the elements, although I think the amethysts could change colour over a prolonged period.
From a casual glance it may seem that the Obsidian is an incidental surround of greyish stones with a black, tar like appearance on some surfaces. They are hard and brittle with very sharp exposed edges. Apparently shards of Obsidian are used as surgical scalpels.
Amethysts have been used as gem stones for jewellery over the years but due to abundant deposits are not very valuable any more. But amethysts are certainly attractive to view with rich, varied colours and shapes.
I would guess that the amethysts will look even better in the strong sunlight. Being inside this chamber is a bit of an immersive, crystalline, indulgence.
The significance of the gold barbed wire is less clear, other than protecting something that is precious.
Gold is another material that is refined at high temperatures and known as a ‘transition metal’. But perhaps this is stretching the metaphors too far and someone will enlighten me.
More about Jupiter Artland
See the Focus On Scotland, “Red on Green”, ‘preview article‘.
Read another Focus on Scotland article about Jupiter Artland here.
Jupiter Artland is a Country Estate located between the villages of East Calder, Wilkieston, Kirknewton and Ratho. It is a short 10 minute drive from the outskirts of Edinburgh or Livingston.
Opening times are limited so check for the latest information and find out more about Jupiter Artland and the Jupiter Artland Foundation on their website.
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