Penumbral Reflections

In 2018, I attended the opening of PAC Studios exhibition Penumbral reflections. The following three poems, entitled Penumbra I, Penumbra II and Penumbra III came out of the experience.

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Penumbra I

Consider first architecture as a penumbra;
as an act that casts a deep shadow upon art.

Consider then architecture a disciplinary experiment;
a blurring of simulated and physical.

Consider next the tools of projection;
the grid, the light, the curved surface reflecting.

Consider now the murky relationship
between translation and building.

Consider later a lucent procession,
or James Turrells articulate volumes of whiteness.

Consider architecture as the partial shadow that occurs between umbra,
the darkest part of a shadow, and its full illumination.


the murky relationship between translation and building - Robin Evans


 
James Turrell,  Arfum .

James Turrell, Arfum.

 

 Penumbra II

In it we see:
James Turrell's Arfum;
his sketches for it;
the night sky;
the insides of our eyes;
quick drawings we did in charcoal at school;
the magic near-impossibility of a total penumbral lunar eclipse;
that fine passage through the penumbral cone that the moon must make, not touching the umbra.



Penumbra III

In darkness, all the possibilities present themselves and become entangled.

We are immersed.

As lines become planes we to watch ourselves tip into three-dimensionality.

The room levitates.

The horizon shifts.

We are on a plane. We are rendered in continual movement.

This is drawing, you say quietly. This is all drawing.


DESCENT INTO LIMBO

Anish Kapoor,  Descent into Limbo, 1992

Anish Kapoor, Descent into Limbo, 1992

...the void manifests itself as a force field in which materiality becomes immaterial, the solidity of objects is negated by recessive and vanishing spaces, and the finite is punctured with apertures indicating the infinite. Once inside the event horizon of each work, the viewer is invited to reflect closely on the micro-physics of viewing: this yields up a disturbingly intense self-awareness. Kapoor’s works oblige the viewer to become sensitive to the continuous processes of cognition and imagination, instinct and dream, sensation and inference, by which the mind constructs the world. Indeed in such an act of aesthetic response, the mind has a sudden and uncanny experience of looking at itself. 

- Nancy Adajania, The Mind Viewing Itself