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p3 give r rthern Lights In NOVenrber 1995, the Fruitmarket Gallery launched Northern Lights an open light sculpture to be situated on the gallery's Forty or SO applications later, the shortlist was whittled down to four finalists with the winning proposal going to a leading light in the public artwork field, Czech-born artist Peter Fink.
Inspired by the dancing fluorescent ribbons of the aurora borealis which Fink witnessed in Norway about fifteen years ago, his initial commission had its fair share of setbacks. The City of Edinburgh Council took the decision to refuse planning permission for the proposed ’light tower", forcing Fink to rethink his plans. But five years on, Edinburgh audiences will be able to see this phenomenon with a switch—on planned for Hogmanay.
Fink is no stranger when it comes to lighting up UK cities. His spectacular New Year illumination of London’s Canary Wharf in 1991, kick-started a series of public commission to follow. And together with fellow Czech, architect lgor Marko, the two are about to set ablaze the dark, wintry corner of Edinburgh’s Market Street. Consisting of a ’roof fin' triangle of light, a light pavement and light detailing on the east and west roof, this permanent addition will further enhance the gallery's position as one of Edinburgh’s finest contemporary art spaces.
’We will be using the most advanced lighting system which is capable of very delicate programming and colour changes,’ explains Fink. ’Hopefully, we will be creating that shimmering aurora borealis effect on the side of the roof.’
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Edinburgh's illumination: Peter Fink's Northern Lights Project
Fleeing from Czechoslovakia in the late 605 soon after the Russians invaded, Fink initially studied engineering before going on to study at St Martins School of Art in London, followed by a degree in philosophy. A combination of these three areas has put him at the forefront of public art.
’I started 30 years ago because I just felt that I needed to start connecting to the world outside,’ says Fink. ’I felt that art should be out of the galleries and onto the streets.’ Working with light was a natural progression for the artist and so too was the desire to work more tightly with both architects and urban designers.
’Public artwork is not about plonking down endless sculptures,’ he says. ’But creating things which enrich a city in a much less ostentatious, much less subjective and aesthetic way.’
With plans afoot for a light and water bridge for the centre of Prague and a new cycle bridge route in County Durham, Fink and Marko’s public commissions see no signs of abating. Creating artworks for very specific situations for specific locations is proving to be the winning formula. (Helen Monaghan)
Interrogating the conventions of photography
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The Archibald Campbell and Harley WS Photography Prize 2000
News and views from the world of art
KEEP A NOTE in your diary for the launch of a much needed new contemporary commercial art space due to open in Gayfield Square, Edinburgh in April‘May 2001. Set up by The List’s former art editor, Susanna Beaumont, the gallery which first started life as a tyre garage, will soon become ’doggerfisher’, opening with the work of Alex Pollard and Jonathan Owen followed by a solo show of work by Janice McNab. Designed by architect Oliver Chapman, the name of the gallery, in case you’re wondering, comes from the shipping forecast, designating a stretch of the North Sea which lies off Edinburgh and the mainland continent. Susanna and the gallery will be attending the Art 2001 at the Business Design Centre, London from 17—21 January and Arco 2001 in Madrid from 14 February.
THE ARCHES lN Glasgow reopens on Thursday 11 January 2001 after a major refurbishment and with it comes a new exhibition space. As the space gets ready to document Glasgow through the lens of a Russian Lomo camera, in association with the Lomographic society of Vienna, the Arches is looking for twenty photographers to take part in the event which comprises three exhibitions in April, July and October. Six people are also required to take part in a year-long diary exhibition to be shown throughout 2002. For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the websites wwwthearchescouk and www.lomo.com.
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Artist's impression of doggerfisher