For the 40th season of the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, BRIC commissioned artist Grimanesa Amorós to create a site-specific light sculpture, which will be on display at the Bandshell all summer long. We spoke with Ms. Amorós about this project, which is called HEDERA, and the inspiration behind her work at the Bandshell and her art exhibited around the world.
Your current work takes the form of light sculpture installations. How did you come to work in this artistic medium? How does this medium connect differently to your audience?
I first began working with light after my first trip to Iceland 18 years ago. One night, I was unable to fall asleep, and when I walked over to the window, I saw an amazing skylight, which I later learned was the Aurora Borealis. I was just so mesmerized, to the point where I was continuously saying “WOW!” It was one of the most transformative moments of my life and from this important moment forward, I starting coming up with new ways of appreciating light. I thought to myself, “It would be wonderful to share this moment with others,” as I wanted them to also say “wow,” and to leave feeling mesmerized. That was when I started to experience light differently, but it took me many years to conceptualize what I’m creating right now. LED lights used to be incredibly expensive, so I initially started working with theater lighting. However, I quickly realized that I wasn’t fond of using them, as you have to change the gels and the light bulbs every three months. I made one or two projects with theater lighting, and then permanently switched over to LEDs.
How do the different geographical settings where you work affect the art that you create for each site?
My pieces ere always well connected to the communities and history of the installation site, so one of my first steps for any project is researching the installation site. The history of each space helps inform the concept of the piece. For example, my piece GOLDEN WATERS (Scottsdale, Arizona, 2015) was inspired by the indigenous people of the land, the Hohokam Indians, which were one of the first cultures to rely on irrigation canals. Upon discovering this, I applied the concept of the irrigated canals to the installation.
How did you select the title, HEDERA, for this installation and how does it connect to this venue?
HEDERA, besides loving the sound, means Ivy in Latin. The piece’s overall structure was inspired by the natural beauty and grandeur of the park’s plant life. The nucleus of the piece will allow viewers to see smaller protruding domes, which relate to a plant’s central bud.
Who are your favorite musicians, or what is your favorite type of music? Do you listen to music while you work on your art?
I have very eclectic taste and will listen to whatever I think is invigorating, though right now my favorite genres are classical music, rock, and rap. I love Mozart and Vivaldi, while Stevie Nicks is amazing. As for rap music, my daughter got me into that genre, with Drake being a personal favorite of mine. I’m also into female rappers like Nicki Minaj. I was excited to hear that Common would be preforming for BRIC!