Panel: On “Reflektorische Farblichtspiele” (Reflecting Color-Light-Play) by Kurt Schwerdtfeger 

Reflektorische Farblichtspiele

Reflektorische Farblichtspiele, © Microscope & Kurt Schwerdtfeger Estate

03.03.2020 - Article

A Panel Discussion, with live demonstration. Panelists: Chrissie Iles, Noam M. Elcott, Andrew Uroskie. Performers: Bradley Eros, Rachael Guma, Tessa Hughes-Freeland, Joel Schlemowitz.

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Microscope is very pleased to present a panel discussion with Chrissie Iles (Whitney Museum of American Art), Noam M. Elcott (Columbia University), and Andrew Uroskie (Stony Brook University) on Kurt Schwerdtfeger’s “Reflektorische Farblichtspiele”  (Reflecting Color-Light-Play) of 1922/66, a light sculpture for performance first presented at the home of Wassily Kandinsky in connection with the Bauhaus Lantern Festival, when the artist was a 25-year-old Bauhaus student in Weimar.

The evening will also include a live demo of the work by Bradley Eros, Tessa Hughes-Freeland, Rachael Guma, and Joel Schlemowitz, all artists whose practices include live expanded cinema, which — as it has been argued in recent years — finds Schwerdtfeger’s “Reflektorische Farblichtspiele” among its origins.

The piece — which has recently received wider recognition as a groundbreaking work of the Bauhaus movement and of 20th century film, sculpture, mixed-media and expanded cinema — utilizes a large, hand-built cube projection apparatus in which performers, who are unseen by the audience, activate panels of cut-out shapes and a switchboard of colored lights to form a complex, abstract light play, composed of several movements, appearing on its screen surface. 

“While conceptualizing a shadow play titled ”Days of Genesis“ for a Lantern Festival it seemed necessary to use not only shadow figures but color shapes on black as well. At that very moment I perceived the idea of color-light plays in abstract form with free-moving, superimposed shapes of colored light moving in time.” – Kurt Schwerdtfeger, 1962

The current apparatus was reconstructed by the gallery in collaboration with artist Daniel Wapner in 2016 for the first re-staging of the work in 50 years in “Dreamlands: Expanded,” a series of live expanded cinema performances presented at the gallery as part of the Whitney Museum’s exhibition “Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema & Art, 1905-2016,” curated by Chrissie Iles, during which it was performed once and only briefly on view for the audience in attendance that night.

The event is talking place as part of the current exhibition at the gallery “Reflektorische Farblichtspiele”, on view through March 22nd. It is the first time the work has been on exhibition in the US and coincides with the return of the piece to the US after a year of exhibitions at Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt (HKW) in Berlin, Germany and at Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern, Switzerland as part of the international exhibition “bauhaus imaginista,” curated by Marion Von Osten and Grant Watson in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus.

Location & time:
1329 Willoughby Avenue, 2B
Brooklyn, NY 11237
Thursday, March 12 at 7:00 pm
Admission: $10
Members & Students: $8

Further information: tel: 347.925.1433, Microscope Gallery


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