LUMINESCENCE III 1995
Dermot O'brien (1968 – )
- SILVERED LIGHT BULB AND BOX
- Accession number
Luminescence IIIwas originally conceived as a multiple for an exhibition, the theme of which was art and the domestic. I was asked to produce something that in some way addressed the theme. The light bulb is arguably a universally familiar object, something that has not changed a great deal since its invention over a century ago by Thomas Edison. A very basic yet fundamental piece of technology. It has also become a metaphor for thought or idea. I was attracted to the light bulb, as I am by many things that I work with, because of its sheer ordinariness and utilitarianism.
This piece of work evolved from a preoccupation with small events, and also perhaps the material prompted the question of what one can make use of to make art. I was interested in energy and form, and objects that had a generative potential, literally speaking. I had been working with ways of trapping light and energy within the objects that generated them. The techniques I used employed used material that both absorbed and reflected light.
Half silvered light bulbs are often used in window displays for shops, which redirect and channel light. However this piece instead completely traps light within itself. This is something that is powerful: something trapped within its own nature. Light bulbs normally enable objects to be seen, but the silvered light bulb becomes as impenetrable as a mirror. The inverted light bulb reverses the function of the light bulb.
The work is dysfunctional in a conventional sense, but has been converted into a dangerous object. The trapped heat and light cannot escape, and would eventually cause the object to overheat and explode. The familiar is rendered unfamiliar and menacing.
, The British Council 2001