marian zazeela marian zazeela
The German premiere of the DVD installation The Well-Tuned Piano in The Magenta Lights
87 V 10 6:43:00 PM - 87 V 11 01:07:45 AM NYC set in a site-specific light environment
created by Marian Zazeela at 'Kunst im Regenbogenstadl,' Polling, Bavaria.

Artist Statement
  still light neon Magenta Day / Magenta Night

Magenta Day / Magenta Night View from the entrance, Magenta Day / Magenta Night in the large gallery through the doorway to the neon, Dream House Variation III, in the sculpture gallery.

Magenta Day / Magenta Night Ceiling of the large gallery: Magenta Day / Magenta Night.

Magenta Day / Magenta Night View of the DVD image with The Magenta Lights mobiles in
Magenta Day / Magenta Night.

Magenta Day / Magenta Night La Monte standing in front of his DVD image on the
large screen in Magenta Day / Magenta Night.

Magenta Day / Magenta Night View of Borderlines from Still Light and Dream House Variation III with Magenta Day / Magenta Night window in sculpture gallery.

Magenta Day / Magenta Night The neon, Dream House Variation III, with
Magenta Day / Magenta Night
window in sculpture gallery.

Still Light with Magenta Day / Magenta Night View of Open Rectangle from Still Light with
Magenta Day / Magenta Night
window in sculpture gallery.

Still Light View of Open Rectangle and Borderlines from Still Light looking towards doorway of large gallery.

Open Rectangle from Still Light

Close view of Open Rectangle from Still Light.

Borderlines from Still Light

Close view of Borderlines from Still Light.

Deam House Variation III
Deam House Variation III

In 1985, I began a series of sculptures which extends to still objects my investigations of the effects of colored light mixtures on perception. Each sculpture in the series Still Light is composed of vertical and/or rectangular wooden forms upon which two symmetrically-placed colored lights are precisely focused to cause the formation of symmetrical colored shadows within and around the form. Each variation is determined by the structural characteristics of the form on which the light is projected, the angle and distance of the light sources, the interrelation of colors and the position of the viewer. Over the years, my work in light has proven to be an experimental continuum in which each creation is not only important in itself, but often leads to the discovery of surprising new directions. In comparison to the environmental installations of colored lights projected on symmetrical arrays of mobiles, the scale of the Still Light pieces is more intimate and approachable. The technology that I formalized as a medium with the monumental scale environments retains its inherent mystery: the magical transformations of adjacent colored light mixtures. Through the clarity of the still forms, the classical geometric shapes, and the closer vantage point, the observer may be better able to unravel the mystery while remaining actively engaged in the dialogue it poses between reality and illusion, between viewer and object.

There are two new works in the Regenbogenstadl exhibition. Open Rectangle initiates a further area of investigation by opening the horizontal bars at the top and bottom of the mounted rectangular form, creating additional elements in the resulting shadow overlaps. Borderlines pursues a direction begun in 1989 with the work Untitled (R/A), which utilized architectural moulding forms to create very subtle color variations in the shadows. Previously, I had used pre-fabricated moulding forms but for this sculpture, I designed the shapes of the moulding and had them custom cut to my drawings by the master carpenter in Bavaria. The title, Borderlines, references the multiple borders appearing in the work, as well as the precise phenomenon engendered by reading colors across boundaries, which constitutes a significant component in the physiology of colored light perception.

1. Open Rectangle, 2001
painted wood, fresnel lamps, dichroic glass filters, dimmers
h 140 cm x w 60 cm
190 cm diameter light orb

2. Borderlines, 2001
painted wood, fresnel lamps, dichroic glass filters, dimmers
h 119 cm x w 49.5 cm
210 cm diameter light orb

The Dream House Variations are direct translations to neon of calligraphic drawings from the "Portraits" series. In these works I present names, words or ideas drawn with their bilaterally symmetrical, retrograde and mirror-inverted images, so that the abstract form of the written word may be viewed independently from its meaning. This allows the visual content of the work to be considered both apart from, and along with, the significance of the word.

Thus far, I have produced three of the possible four variations of this series. The first was commissioned by Heiner and Fariha Friedrich and constructed in New York in 1989 for the one-year Dream House installation at Dia Center for the Arts 22nd Street. It has been on loan to MELA Foundation and mounted at the New York Church Street Dream House since 1993.

The second, Dream House Variation II, was produced in Paris in 1992 for the Dream House exhibition at Espace Donguy. It was purchased by the French Cultural Ministry and remains in the collection of the FNAC. It was most recently exhibited in St. Joseph Chapel, Avignon as part of the DVD installation of The Well-Tuned Piano in The Magenta Lights in the La Beaute international exhibition from May through September, 2000.

Dream House Variation III was constructed for the Dream House installation La Monte and I created in 1992 at the Ruine der Kunste in the Dahlem district of Berlin. It was originally made for outdoor display and was mounted on the upper facade of the Ruine building, visible through the neighborhood for some distance, much like a sign.

For the installation in Regenbogenstadl, I have installed the piece within the gallery, and added a layer of magenta mylar gel to reduce the brightness of the neon lights. In this context, the sculptural qualities of the work are emphasized.

3. Dream House Variation III, 1992
neon mounted on board; mylar gel
c. 61 cm x c. 244 cm

Magenta Day / Magenta Night is a genre of my work in which mylar gel is mounted over glass windows, skylights and all existing light sources. For a given installation, each window panel in the space is treated with magenta gel, utilizing natural sunlight during the day to create both a color-enhanced interior environment and a magenta-colored view of the external world from within. The views through the windows to the world directly outside the space also present varying color apertures, reinforcing the focus on interior and exterior spatial relationships informed by colored light. From inside the space, the magenta windows function in two ways, as transparent lenses to the outside world during the day, and as reflective surfaces of the interior world at night, mirroring and recording the viewer's relationship to the surrounding color space. When visible from outside the environment, both day and night, a third effect takes place in that the colored light spaces within appear, and are further transformed, through the frames of the magenta colored lens-windows.

The light sources in the large interior gallery were treated with magenta gel and an extremely deep 'Congo' blue gel to blend into a magenta canopy in the entire upper area of the room, dimmed so as not to reduce the light level of the DVD projection on the wall. Subtle shadows cast by the structure of the beams appear as faint linear patterns on the ceiling and eaves.

The Regenbogenstadl gallery in Polling is beautifully situated in nature, with trees and the gentle landscape in every vista. The chance to incorporate the qualities that nature brings to an environment, yet transform their view in a manner complementary to the light sculptures, is an aspect of the Magenta Day / Magenta Night series that I find especially intriguing. In this installation, the magenta-gelled window in the sculpture gallery acts as an anchor to the three other sculptures, balancing their electric, man-made glow with the astonishing sparkle of leaves bathed in magenta sunlight, with soft blushes of magenta patterns on the ceiling and walls, and with fleeting roseate glimpses of the everyday natural world we would hardly notice were it not presented in a new light.

4. Magenta Day, Magenta Night, 2001
mylar gel mounted over glass windows and light sources