Oude Kerk presents The Walk, a light installation by artist Titia Ex. The work explores the history and context of light and pauses to consider whether humans are standing still, contemplating, or moving.
In the Oude Kerk, light and illumination have had an important and often symbolic meaning throughout history. People light candles in memory of a deceased loved one, sunlight colours the representations of the stained-glass windows and the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre is bathed in red light through artist Giorgio Andreotta Calò’s red window.
This autumn, artist Titia Ex presents her light artwork, The Walk in search of a meaningful relationship with the church space. A large globe shape hangs in the axis of the church. Inside the globe, many LED lights colour in a continuous movement. The lights enhance the dynamics of the space, then again the work accentuates the hushed atmosphere. In the installation, this light show merges with images from a video. Although Ex uses contemporary art techniques in the work, the inspiration for the swirls of light is a historical one: Ex draws on Dante Alighieri’s stories about his journey to and through the underworld. In his book La divina commedia, he describes a desperate quest through a dark forest full of torments in search of happiness and meaning.
Light, natural and artificial, is a crucial aspect in defining our environment. It sets rhythm, adds tone and creates personal experiences. It affects us, how we feel and how we move around daily. Working with light in public spaces does not begin or end in a physical form, but is a transfer of energy. It can bring a space out of its anonymity, break fixed patterns and change its essence. Titia Ex’s work is a playful search for what rhythm is, the resonance of place and how to provide it with a poetic echo.
Titia Ex is a visual artist based in Amsterdam. Ex studied film and photography at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam and was artist-in-residence at the video department of Musashino Art University in Tokyo. Her first experiments as a choreographer of light, time and space took place in the theatre. Here, she worked with dancers, actors and musicians. At the Rijksakademie, she made her first installations in which light an autonomous visual element plays a central role.
Photo: Dan Kitwood