Dale Chihuly Torchlight Chandelier Press Release

1 Jan 2012

London 26 January 2012: Halcyon Gallery today unveiled a specially-created, monumental Torchlight Chandelier in Park Lane as part of world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly’s international public art programme.

The artist comments,

“Halcyon Gallery’s unique approach to showcase art outside of the traditional gallery space is extremely compelling as I want as many people as possible to engage, interact and enjoy my art. Public exhibitions are my favourite form of art because so many people get to see them.”

As London celebrates the incredible sporting achievements of the world’s finest athletes, this giant beacon of brilliance heralds this historical year and may illuminate and inspire the public over the coming months.

The Torchlight Chandelier is composed of 435 organically-shaped elements, ranging from elaborate curls, to cones, to spheres, the brilliantly-coloured and crystal-clear Chandelier forms a riot of coloured sculptural forms of a scale and energy unlike anything seen before. Standing 6 metres high, illuminated nightly, its dramatic presence will dominate the central London landscape and provide a visual feast for public consumption.

The chandelier is one of the few forms in glass that has scale, is three-dimensional, is vessel-related, is animated by light, is airborne, and is capable of transforming the environment, which are important qualities for Chihuly’s work.

Chihuly is an internationally celebrated contemporary artist. In his hands, the complex fluidity of hot glass, as beautiful as it is dangerous, is transformed into astonishing sculptures, rich in colour, organic in form and exuberant in nature.

He occupies a unique position in the history of contemporary art. His work is immensely popular with the general public, which usually disdains the avant-garde. At the same time, some of the most important art critics, art historians and museum curators have acclaimed its brilliance, quality and inventiveness.

Unique in that he transcends the narrowness of the avant-garde without totally ignoring where it is going and where it has been, Dale Chihuly speaks directly to people in a vernacular they understand without interpretation. Yet his work is neither simplistic nor condescending. Its aesthetic sophistication equal to its technical mastery, his work stands as an example of art that does not sacrifice quality for popularity.

Chihuly, works with a virtual cornucopia of colour and, he can lean, float, suspend, and in many other ways install his glass art outdoors as well as inside. The settings in which he places his works affect how all of their aspects are perceived. His work ranges from single vessels to indoor and outdoor site-specific installations, including ‘mini-environments‘, and large, serialised forms displayed in groupings on pedestals or attached to specially-engineered structures that dominate large exterior or interior spaces.

Through the last four decades, Chihuly has contributed significantly to the evolution of public art. His sculptures engage individuals and communities and help to promote dialogue. Chihuly enjoys the fact that his works are easily accessible, placing them in the front gardens of our urban realm and inviting people to respond.

He is renowned for his ambitious architectural installations around the world, in historic cities, public museums and private homes and gardens. Three of the artist’s large Chandelier installations are featured in the New Bond Street exhibition, which is a comprehensive exploration of his work presented in both interior and exterior spaces. Site-specific work such as a 24-foot long Mille Fiori garden of glass and a two-story Gold and Quartz Two Tier Chandelier, as well as drawings and paintings by the artist are featured. Also, included are Cylinders and Baskets in the 1970s; Seaforms, Macchia, Venetians and Persians in the 1980s; Ikebana and Chandeliers in the 1990s; and Mille Fiori in the 2000s.

Chihuly’s work is widely known and collected in the UK. He is perhaps best known here for the important ‘Chihuly at the V&A’ exhibition at the V&A Museum in 2001, and his impressive 27-foot-high V&A Chandelier, commissioned to herald the exhibition, which remains in place as a major permanent exhibit over the grand entrance hall. The iconic piece has been seen by millions since its installation. The V&A Museum exhibition was followed by a large site-specific installation ‘Gardens of Glass, Chihuly at Kew’ at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in 2005, which was seen by 860,000 people.

In 1995, Chihuly took his team to the famous Waterford glassworks in Ireland to make Chandeliers and Towers for the ‘Chihuly Over Venice’ project (1995-6), to be installed over the canals and piazzas of Venice. That same year, Chihuly installed work at the National Botanic Gardens at Glasnevin near Dublin, and at Lismore Castle in Ireland. Chihuly last exhibited in the UK at Chatsworth in 2006.

Ninety-seven exhibitions in seven countries have presented artworks by Dale Chihuly during the last decade, which have been enjoyed by more than 10 million visitors. Chihuly is credited with revolutionizing the Studio Glass movement and elevating the medium of glass from the realm of craft to fine art.

UK art critic and broadcaster Matthew Collings, comments,

“The mood of positive energy in Chihuly’s sculptures leaves no room for sneers or nihilism, nor for chin-stroking philosophising, or airy spirituality; in fact their sheer exuberant, material joyfulness makes them unlike much else that is considered centre-stage in contemporary art.”

The public will continue to embrace art that elevates and refreshes the moment of experience with awe and marvel the magic that transforms the everyday eye and psyche through the imagination and vision of another. Art that performs this function will receive encore after encore this public art medium-the most democratically expressive form of cultural creation.