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Lumiere London 2018: sneak preview

Impulse by Lateral Office & CS Design

Impulse by Lateral Office & CS Design. Photo: Ulysse Lemerise

Artichoke, the production company behind the upcoming Lumiere London, has revealed ten of the artworks coming to the UK capital for the outdoor light festival. The event will be staged across the city from 18-21 January 2018.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has hailed the next outdoor lighting show as one of the most spectacular free events ever to take place in the city.

“The incredible line-up of artworks announced gives a flavour of what an amazing and international festival Lumiere London 2018 will be. Even bigger, brighter and bolder than its inaugural event, we will see some show-stopping installations reimagining London’s iconic architecture and streets,” mayor Khan said. “I’m also delighted that this year we are organising community projects in outer London boroughs to ensure that as many Londoners as possible can get involved with this world-class event. Festivals like this showcase London at its international, creative and open best.”

The newly-revealed works include:

  • Interactive illuminated singing see-saws in South Molton Street in Mayfair
  • An immersive work that imagines a world underwater at King’s Cross
  • A meditation on time from the Industrial Revolution to the present day projected onto the iconic Hotel Café Royal building on Regent Street
  • Flamingos flying through Chinatown London
  • A triptych of animated self-portraits in Leake Street
  • Matisse-inspired animation dancing across the facade of the Royal Academy of Arts on Piccadilly

Commissioned by the Mayor of London, and produced by Artichoke, Lumiere London is the capital’s largest art event.

Second outing

Next Lumiere London 2018 builds on the success of the first Lumiere London in January 2016. The inaugural event saw 1.3 million visits over the four nights and a visitor spend of £22m. More than 40 artworks made using the medium of light, will explore the city’s most iconic buildings, landscape and architecture.

Free to attend, the event has received support from London & Partners, London’s West End, King’s Cross and Bloomberg Philanthropies with additional support provided by a host of partners and funders including Wellcome, The Fitzrovia Partnership and the Victoria, South Bank and Waterloo BIDs, Cain International, Marriott and Universal Music.

Helen Marriage, Artichoke CEO and Lumiere London artistic director, commented: “It’s exciting and unusual to be working at this scale and Lumiere London is more than a light festival. It’s an exploration of the city by artists and audiences that transforms our public spaces from King’s Cross to the Southbank via London’s West End, Mayfair, Victoria and Waterloo.

“From the playful to the thought-provoking, the artistic programme will present our city to the world as a public gallery without walls.”

The festival features artists from across the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Canada amongst others.

Artichoke is working with Team London, the Mayor’s volunteering programme for London, to recruit around 300 volunteers from across the capital to help make the festival a success.

Waterlicht Daan Roosegaarde

Waterlicht Daan Roosegaarde

Across the city

The second edition of Lumiere London extends from North to South across the River Thames through six areas:

  • King’s Cross, Fitzrovia
  • London’s West End (including Carnaby, Chinatown London, Leicester Square, Mayfair, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly, Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street, St James’s, St James’s Square, St James’s Market and Seven Dials)
  • Westminster & Victoria
  • Southbank & Waterloo.

Londoners will also have the opportunity to take part in the creation of a number of festival artworks.

The London Boroughs of Greenwich, Lambeth, Redbridge and Waltham Forest will be supporting a programme of community activities to help produce a series of choreography and performance workshops to create the glowingly beautiful Umbrella Project by Bristol-based Cirque Bijou, roaming artworks that will pop-up in Piccadilly and Fitzrovia locations during the festival.

They will also help create Bottle Festoon, installations of shimmering chandeliers made from recycled plastic bottles as well as.

Bottle Festoon will also be supported in Croydon, by The Croydon Partnership, as part of a one-day light festival taking place on Thornton Heath following Lumiere London at the end of January. The Thornton Heath light festival will also give Londoners a further opportunity to see a version of Leicester Square’s extraordinary Nightlife commission, created by Jo Pocock and the Lantern Company for Leicester Square Gardens, which celebrates the wonders of the natural world, creating a wild space in the heart of the city. Lanterns from this work will transfer to the Thornton Heath light festival, supported by London Borough of Croydon.

The latest works to be revealed are:

  • Voyage by Camille Gross & Leslie Epzstein (France), Hotel Café Royal, Regent Street: Located in the heart of London’s West End, Voyage is inspired by our physical journey through time and space: from the Industrial Revolution, through the Belle Epoque, arriving at the present day. It is characterised by the immediate and frantic speed of travel, all measured by the rhythmic movement of a giant illuminated clock and projected onto the facade of the Hotel Café Royal building on Regent Street.
  • Ruby, Santiago by Emma Allen (UK) and Adam: Grey Matters by Emma Allen and Daisy Thompson-Lake, triptych of work in Leake Street, underneath Waterloo Station: Emma Allen, a multidisciplinary artist based between Sri Lanka and London, uses her own face as a living canvas to explore ideas of rebirth and renewal. Through 750 photographs Ruby sees her painted face transform from a skull into a sky full of shooting stars, while Santiago traces the history of humankind mapped out from the single cell origin of life to a digitally enhanced and technologically defined future. Adam: Grey Matters is a new animated portrait that seeks to remove the social stigma accompanying mental health issues by creating artistic impressions of the underlying neurobiological processes of depression. Supported by LCR and We are Waterloo.
  • Waterlicht by Daan Roosegaarde (Netherlands), King’s Cross: Inspired by our changing relationship to water and the risk of global warming and rising sea levels. Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde will transform Granary Square into an ethereal dream-like landscape. Waterlicht underlines the power and poetry of water, enveloping viewers in a virtual flood whilst contemplating its potential for the future: Can we build floating cities? How much power can we generate from the movement of water? For a fully immersive experience, the public is encouraged to use their mobile devices and headphones to tune into the accompanying soundtrack. Supported by The Royal Netherlands Embassy.

Supercube Stephane Masson Lumiere Durham 2015. Produced by Artichoke. Photo by Matthew Andrews

  • Cosmoscope by Simeon Nelson (UK), Store Street Crescent: A team of artists and scientists led by Simeon Nelson and including academics from UCL, University of Oxford and Durham University are behind this bold new commission supported by Wellcome. Taking inspiration from science, from the microscopic cell to the beating of the human heart and through to the rhythm of the cosmos, Cosmoscope is accompanied by a stunning soundscape.
  • Northern Lights by Aleksandra Stratimirovic (Sweden), Grosvenor Square, Mayfair: Inspired by the enthralling experience of viewing the aurora borealis, Swedish artist Aleksandra Stratimirovic will recreate this spectacular and poetic natural light phenomenon in Grosvenor Square. Passers-by will be able to experience the wonder and magic of the shimmering northern lights in a city and a place where they would never naturally appear. The installation will interact with the surrounding environment, moving and dancing across the space and, just like the lights of the aurora borealis, the flow of movements will take audiences by surprise, vanishing and suddenly reappearing unpredictably. In collaboration with Light Art Collection, part of the Amsterdam Light Festival.
  • Love Motion by Rhys Coren (UK), Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly: The iconic art institution on Piccadilly will become the canvas for a brand new installation specially commissioned in partnership with the Royal Academy of Arts and completed by postgraduate student Rhys Coren. Inspired by the flowing lyrical movements of Matisse’s dancing figures, Coren has created an animation of two intricately paper-cut figures who will dance elegantly across the building’s stone facade, clasping each other in romantic embrace. Accompanied by a moving and original soundtrack Love Motion will present a joyful burst of simple pleasure on a cold, dark wintery night.
  • Supercube by Stéphane Masson(France), St James’s Market, St James’s: French artist Stéphane Masson has been hijacking everyday objects for art projects since 2004, devoting his practice to making the familiar unfamiliar. For Supercube, Masson will transform 450 ordinary Kilner jars into a magical multi-screen cube full of surprises. A miniature giraffe, a pink elephant or a miniature version of yourself are just some of the many small moving images that can be found when you peer inside one of Masson’s multi-coloured jars. His previous works include The Aquarium Car (La Voiture Aquarium), Kissing Lamps (Les Lampadaires à Bisous) and interactive video recording The Box of Words.
Umbrella Project by Cirque Bijou.

Umbrella Project by Cirque Bijou. Courtesy of Artichoke

  • Impulse by Lateral Office & CS Design (Canada), South Molton Street, Mayfair: Co-created by Canadian design practices, Lateral Office and CS Design, Impulse is a field of illuminated interactive seesaws that invite the public to find their inner-child and play in an urban, public space. The more they move, the more light and sound is produced, to create a kinetic and dynamic experience that is different for each user. Situated on South Molton Street, just off Oxford Street, the installation creates an intimate space for imaginative play where adults and children alike can experiment to create harmonic patterns through collective movement.
  • Flamingo Flyway by Lantern Company (UK), Chinatown London: Created by the ever-imaginative Jo Pocock and the Lantern Company, these extraordinary flame-coloured birds will waft serenely amongst the crowds in Chinatown London at the heart of London’s West End.
  • The Umbrella Project by Cirque Bijou (UK), Piccadilly, Fitzrovia and King’s Cross: This year’s festival will ensure that all Londoners are included in the fun through a series community participation projects that will engage residents in several Outer London Boroughs. The Umbrella Project is a choreographed performance piece using LED umbrellas by Bristol-based Cirque Bijou. Cirque Bijou will work with community groups in Redbridge, Greenwich, Lambeth and Waltham Forest through a series of choreography and performance workshops to create glowingly beautiful artworks that will pop-up in Piccadilly and Fitzrovia.
  • Bottle Festoon (UK) across various locations: installations of chandeliers made from recycled plastic bottles, with the participation of community groups from the London Boroughs of Greenwich, Lambeth, Redbridge, and Waltham Forest, also supported by the Croydon Partnership and exhibited in locations in King’s Cross, Fitzrovia and Mayfair.

The full programme will be revealed in January 2018.