Glass conducts light more efficiently than any other material. This efficiency is why glass holds so much dynamic potential for sculpture; by constantly changing the sculpture with the passage of natural light throughout the day. And this is why we never have to lift a finger to help the installations look good most of the time. The sculptures naturally develop an opalescent luster in sunlight, sympathetically reflecting the colors that surround them.
But once the sun goes down, the enterprise is much more difficult. Instead of a wealth of diffuse light with a broad spectrum of color [sunlight], artificial light is emitted by a point source of a single color. The more recent “flexible” sculptures we’ve made express this monotone with each tube focusing the point source into a sharp ring and the collection of rings appearing as a linear highlight across their surface.
So when commissioned last year to do a dining room installation in Singapore, we figured the jig was up. The sculptures were the least spectacular at night and that was the time that most people would see it. We had been trying to finesse this problem for years and our attempts at a solution were both too straight-forward and wrong-minded. With an attendant sense of desperation, we kept trying to place the lights more deftly as if the solution were just out of reach and simply a matter of additional effort and insight. Exasperated and half-joking, we conjectured that the only way out was some sort of “lighting Jujutsu,” which emphasized the objectionable highlights rather than trying to obscure them. Of course, this turned out to be the solution. Admittedly this was not the consequence of an inspired evolution. It would be more fairly described as enlightenment by way of grasping at straws.