Lumière is the first ever exhibition of Dale Chihuly’s Acrylic Light Drawings and marks the culmination of a 50 year journey exploring colour and light.
Dale Chihuly’s use of drawing as a medium has evolved throughout his career. Beginning as illustrative tools used to direct and inspire his visions for glass – his drawings have become increasingly important as independent outlets for his expression, whilst simultaneously providing a vital means for him to release his energy.
“Somebody once said people become artists because they have a certain kind of energy to release. That rings true to me. It must have an outlet. That’s why I draw.” – Dale Chihuly
Chihuly’s Acrylic Light Drawings are indicative of an artist deeply interested in light and the transmission of light through transparent medium - ultimately the manifestation of light as colour. They chart a significant new turning point in the evolution of Chihuly’s expression and represent the ongoing dialogue between his three intertwined media: light, glass and colour.
Chihuly’s Electric Blue Neon will also be on display at Lumière. Chihuly has revisited his work in neon several times over his career thus far, pioneering his innovative early applications in the material whilst a graduate student in the late sixties and then as a professor at the Rhode Island School of Design.
The progression of his neon works can be seen across both his indoor and outdoor exhibits, as part of architectural installations and public art sculptures; in 1994 they were the central part of his set design for Oregon Ballet Theatre’s production, Neon Glass. Chihuly’s Neons also feature as significant elements in his Garden Cycle which has so far taken in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew as well as at least a dozen of America’s greatest public gardens. Two of his neon sculptures will be on view for Chihuly at Fairchild, Chihuly’s largest Garden exhibition to date, opening during Art Basel, Miami, December 2014.
Chihuly has been awarded 11 honorary doctorates, his work is included in the permanent collections of more than 200 museums worldwide. In 1986 Chihuly was the fourth American artist ever to have had a solo exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Palais du Louvré. Other major exhibitions include Chihuly Over Venice (1995-96), Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem (1999), Garden Cycle (2001–present), de Young Museum in San Francisco (2008), the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2011) and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Canada (2013). Chihuly Garden and Glass, a long-term exhibition, opened at the Seattle Centre in 2012.
Chihuly is credited with revolutionising the Studio Glass movement and elevating the perception of the glass medium from the realm of craft to fine art. Renowned for his ambitious architectural installations around the world, in historic cities, museums and gardens, his exhibitions continue to break attendance records worldwide.
Perhaps best known in the UK for the Chihuly at the V&A exhibition (2001), his 27-footlong V&A Chandelier, inaugurated by the Queen, remains in the museum’s grand entrance hall. This was followed by a garden exhibition, Gardens of Glass, Chihuly at Kew at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in 2005, which was seen by 860,000 people.
Earlier in 2014, Harrods unveiled his Amber and Gold Chandelier, the only work ever to have been commissioned by the world famous department store.
The artist’s public art program in the UK continues with The Sun, in Berkeley Square, a 5.5m installation which consists of over 1,500 hand-blown glass elements. The Sun follows Chihuly’s Torchlight Chandelier for Park Lane which was exhibited during the Olympic Games in London 2012. Visitors to Claridge’s are also able to view a Chihuly Chandelier suspended from the ceiling of the Foyer area.