At Hirshhorn, the Overwhelming Pleasure of Light and Color

WASHINGTON, DC—Wander through the dangling mass of blue nylon strings and you will lose yourself for a moment. The transporting experience by Venezuelan artist Jesus Rafael Soto is a part of a celebration of light and color on view at the Hirshhorn Museum. In addition to light-sourced works from its permanent collection, the museum is showing “Suprasensorial: Experiments in Light, Color, and Space”, an exhibition composed of five installations that deliver an overwhelmingly sensory experience. The works are by Latin American artists—Carlos Cruz-Diez (Venezuela), Lucio Fontana (Argentina), Julio Le Parc (Argentina), Hélio Oiticica (Brazil) and Soto—whose approach emerged from the region’s Light and Space movement in the 1950s. Despite their vintage origins, the illusive, multimedia works channel the next frontier.

“Suprasensorial” will remain on view through Aug. 12, 2012.

All photos © Arts Observer

Above, “Blue Penetrable BBL,” 1999 (nylon, metal) by Jesus Rafael Soto. Top of page, “Untitled (to Helga and Carlo with respect and affection),” 1974 (fluorescent lights) by Dan Flavin.

The light installations by Flavin (top of page) and Mario Merz (shown below) are not a part of the “Suprasensorial” exhibit. The works, which are in the Hirshhorn collection, are being shown in adjacent galleries.

Installation view of “Blue Penetrable BBL.”

“From Continent to Continent,” 1985 (steel, glass, neon, clay, metal cables, electrical wire, transformer) by Mario Merz.

“Neon Structure for IX Triennial of Milan,” 1951 (refabricated in 2010, neon) by Lucio Fontana.

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