In Between The Light and Darkness

In Between the Light and Darkness is an ongoing series of works exploring physical and metaphorical properties of light. The project, which will materialize in a form of a site-specific, interactive installation and performance in 2013, builds on an extensive research, conducted with the support of Quebec Art Council in 2012. The research is grounded within the conceptual frame of Virtues and Vices and attempts to recreate dynamic movement, expression and drama of a human form, as expressed and understood in the baroque era, by means of contemporary technologies and dissemination.

The research of this project took place in the Czech Republic in summer 2012 (April-August) in the historic hospital Kuks . During this time, with the access to historical collection of baroque statues, depository an office/studio and the libraries of the hospital, as well as, the national library I’ve researched historical, political and philosophical context of the subject and produced numerous research material directly on site. Based on this research feeds into a production of a site-specific interactive installation and performance to be presented in the Lapidarium of the hospital in August of 2013.

The Lapidarium, a spectacular and monumental space with tall arched ceiling, shelters 27 over-life size original statues of Matyas Bernad Braun. Carved in local sandstone, there are 12 statues of virtues, 12 statues of vices, a statue of Angel of the Merciful Death, statue of the Angel of Dreadful Death and finally, closing the line of allegories, a statue representing Religion. I’ll use interactive and projection technologies, as well as, architectural structures along with optical elements to create systems, which will illuminate each statue and create dynamic light illusions of facial expressions of these statues appearing and disappearing in the darkness. Also, installation of the reflective structures (mirrors and steel) placed on the floor will create an illusion of the ceiling to disappear and the floor to become a bottomless space. The over all impact of this installation is to make the visitor of the installation a weightless being in the midst of space where the concept of the above and bellow becomes ambiguous as it the concepts of darkness and light confused questioning whether light may blind our sight to darkness and vice versa.

My intention is to bring the concepts (virtues and vices) from the past to the present and create an environment where visitors can bring themselves, through this experience, to self-reflection on the subject within their own realm of existence and values. The production of the project will consist of on sight construction, local fabrication and co-production with CIANT on the technical part of the project. The elements of the installation will be designed to be re-producible in other exhibition venues in Canada.

Matthias Bernard Braun (Czech: Matyáš Bernard Braun, 24 February 1684 in Sautens near Innsbruck – 15 February 1738 in Prague) was a sculptor and carver active in the Czech lands, one of the most prominent late baroque style sculptors in the area. Matthias Braun is probably the most famous for his collection of the allegories of Virtues and Vices situated at the Kuks Hospital in Bohemia, a commission of count František Antonín Špork.

Selected Exhibitions

Scheduled for August 2013 at the Historical Hospital Kuks


Kuks - Exploring light and shadow - NOW - Concordia University

© Lenka Novakova 2013