I’ve been wanting to check this installation out in person for quite some time now and when I finally got to walk in this forest of city street lights last week, in the dead middle of the night when no one was around…. it was pure bliss.
Urban Light by Chris Burden
Sculpture of two-hundred and two restored cast iron antique street lamps.
This forest of city street lights, called “Urban Light” was created by artist Chris Burden. Despite initial appearances, the arrangement is not a perfect grid. Depending on where the viewer stands, the lamps arrange themselves in different angles and arrays.
These 202 cast iron lamps once lit the streets of Los Angeles. Burden bought one at the Rose Bowl flea market, and soon collecting and restoring street lights became an obsession. He painted them all the same neutral gray, in order to draw the eye to all the different varieties of cast iron decoration.
Burden says that street lamps like these were symbols of a civilized and sophisticated city—safe after dark and beautiful to behold. The lights all still work, and they are now powered by solar energy. They are switched on every night from dusk until dawn. At night, Burden says his sculpture becomes transformed into “a building with a roof of light.”
My friend, Peter, an LA-native asked me what I thought of the lights. I love them because they glow beautifully when I stand inside the formation. There’s this sorta magical dreamy light all around, kinda reminiscent of being in a carousel where the light is bright but soft and soothing, not one bit jarring. But eh, that’s just the way I perceived and experienced this installation.
I also appreciate how from between the rows of lamps cast different shadows and interesting streams of sunshine during the daytime too. (Yes, I went back to view it the second time in daylight.) Juxtaposed against the palm trees at the background, this installation viewed as a whole is a very nice visual of nature vs. urban, organic vs. inorganic. I find it super cool that the lights are solar-powered too. And even though the lamps themselves are somewhat classic in form, upon being arranged like that in a grid they collectively become very contemporary and rather timeless, imo. Simply beautiful.
I don’t even know how to begin describing this euphoria of experiencing the lights; but one thing’s for sure — I every molecular cell within me was smiling, and my heart was doing cartwheels. :”) Blessed I am, to say the least. Living a life immersed in art and being able to see & experience art is such an incredible joy. Worth living if you ask me. There is sooooo much beauty in this world, so open your heart + open your mind + open your eyes… take it all in, make it an authentic personal experience and enjoy it. Art is a love affair.
*happy dreamy sigh*
— The magic of 2012 continues…