[ISEA2011] Paper: Titia Ex – Light Art in Public Space


Session: City, Public Space and Mobile Technologies

The light projects of Titia Ex:  SHEDDING LIGHT ON THE DAY-TO-DAY

In museums, light art needs to be switched on before it becomes art. Until then it is an insignificant object and its presence no more than a wavering hesitancy. Once brought to life, however, it shakes off this slumber with a vengeance and monopolises its surroundings. It claims its space, captures and holds the attention and brooks little competition.

Light art in situ – outside in the open air, on the fringes between inside and outside, in public spaces – is even worse off. It has to compete against illuminated advertising signs screaming for attention, against street and domestic lighting, against the ceaseless streams of traffic light, against the distractions of day-to-day life, against the scepticism the man in the street has for art and every other intrusive barrier. Video: Light Designer – Titia Ex

  • Titia Ex (1959, NL) “has been working with light for twenty years. Commissioned either by others or herself. Through the years she has gained experience of every single angle of the medium and has emerged as a light artist in the broadest sense of the word. She has made neon sculptures that can stand alone in a museum or a gallery, but has primarily provided every sort of light art, both inside and outside for public spaces. She has covered huge glass surfaces with natural shapes that not only draw attention to their patron, but at the same time, due to the way the light is used, create individual characters and either leave behind or cast their own shadows. Ex has made colourful light animations that playfully press home their (appropriate) story on casual, unsuspecting visitors. She has placed light sculptures in unlikely spaces thereby inducing amazement, alienation and sometimes even disorientation. She incorporates some light sculptures into their surroundings in such a way that they seem to belong there quite naturally. Ex has also installed light sculptures that through their symbolism give a meaning to otherwise architecturally anonymous environments. She knows exactly how to direct the attention of the viewer or visitor through the effective illuminating or lighting of objects. Her, often discreet, intervention can all at once make perfectly ordinary spaces radiant. Ex’s light sculptures anticipate their surroundings, talk to them, hold a dialogue with them, and are no less afraid of entering into a debate with them.”    _Rob Perrée,  Amsterdam/Brooklyn 2009.      titiaex.nl

Full text (PDF) p. 790-796