London, UK / Florence, Italy – When controversial artist Damien Hirst revealed his latest creation – ‘For the Love of God’ - at the famous White Cube Gallery, London, it was a dead cert that images of it were going to beam worldwide.
And, when the artwork concerned consists of a platinum cast of a human skull encrusted with 8,601 flawless diamonds, including a pear-shaped pink diamond centered in the forehead, it was also going to demand well considered illumination.
Douglas James, from architectural lighting design company Mindseye, was challenged with the task of sourcing a solution to Hirst’s brief - to create the impression that the piece, titled For The Love of God (FTLoG), was suspended in thin air.
“This meant absolutely no light pollution or spill,” James explains: “Sometimes the simplest of briefs can be the most challenging. Of course, we weren't able to use the actual piece to develop the lighting strategy, we had to make our own. Nonetheless, we did a huge amount of experimentation, and the eventual plan covered the entire exhibition room and the corridor beyond with light absorbing black velvet. Above a false ceiling, shining through two cut outs, we mounted Philips Selecon Aureol projectors at precisely measured angles to the sculpture.”
James wanted a fixture that offered a brilliant, sharp, white light in a low voltage, narrow beamed fixture. “The Aureol’s size and ease of use made it an obvious choice for us, and it proved to be the perfect product for the application,” he continues. “We didn’t want to cast a shadow onto the floor so we framed the beam very tightly to the sculpture and at the same time ensured there was no light spill anywhere else in the room.”
Photographers of FTLoG clearly agreed – pictures of Hirst’s artwork made headlines around the world. FTLoG is currently on display at the Palazzo Vecchio in Firenze, where Philips Entertainment Lighting’s Italian Distributor, AudioLink, supplied the Selecon Aureol’s that currently light the exhibit.
Michael Goldberg, sales director for Philips Entertainment Lighting EMEA says: “Philips Entertainment Lighting fixtures are fast-becoming the tool of choice for lighting designers across all sectors of the lighting design industry. The acquisition by Philips of Selecon and its use of LED technology from Color Kinetics and Vari*lite (both Philips brands) has dramatically expanded its entertainment lighting portfolio. Collectively, the group provides everything from simple luminaires to complete solutions, designed with the specific needs of the entertainment, event and exhibition markets in mind. The Philips’ Selecon Aureol is a variable beam projection spotlight with the ability to precisely shape and control the light beam. It’s currently being used to illuminate installations across the globe, including the Hong Kong Science Museum, Melbourne Museum, Australia, Museum of Natural History, Brussels, and Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany.”