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VIDEO: Interview with Anthony McCall

In an Australian coup, internationally acclaimed light artist Anthony McCall will unveil first museum collection commission for GOMA’s 10th anniversary.
VIDEO: Interview with Anthony McCall

Installation view Crossing (2016) commissioned by GOMA Brisbane; supplied

With the support of patron Tim Fairfax, a major new work has entered the Queensland Art Gallery I Gallery of Modern Art’s Collection on the occasion of GOMAs 10th anniversary.

Crossings (2016) is a light installation by the internationally celebrated British artist Anthony McCall. What is exciting about this piece is that it takes a new direction for the artist.

McCall is known for creating simple animated line drawings from projected light. He describes them as occupying a space somewhere between cinema, sculpture and drawing, and caught ‘betwixt and between’ architecture, performance and installation art.

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‘My work is not site specific; but it is extremely site sensitive,’ he said. ‘They are like tents of light – virtual architectures if you like.’

In a new move, McCall introduces a diagonal shaft and a sound element to this work.

McCall told ArtsHub that the sound wave moving through the darkened, atmospheric gallery was evocative of a maritime tale, and yet its origins reach back to the first sound work that he made in 1972, but was lost.

McCall was a key figure in avant-garde film making of the early 1970s, notably his first use of light as a three-dimensional media, Line Describing a Cone in 1973.

We speak with McCall about how those early experiments link to this new work created for GOMA, the creative journey that he has taken over those past decades, and the technical challenges of working with light.

Interview with artist Anthoy McCall about his new commissioned work for GOMA, Crossing (2016)

Experiencing a work by Anthony McCall has an almost ethereal, spiritual quality, and the audience becomes an active participation in its realization.

‘Visitors will step into McCall’s installation of intersecting shafts of solid-light and be immersed in the light, haze and sound of breaking waves — it’s an incredibly sensory and consuming artwork,’ said QAGOMA Director Chris Saines.

As one’s eyes adjust to the darkened, haze-filled room, you realise these light forms are slowly moving, splicing and sweeping through space.

‘That is very much one of the dynamics of this piece - one form impossibly goes through another form, and resolving that is part of the work of being a spectator,’ said McCall.

He added that he is not a fan of the term ‘immersive’, but that certainly the body and the work are inextricably linked. ‘They become one. You are unwittingly part of this drama,’ he said.

Crossing (2016) will be on display at GOMA, Brisbane, until 17 April 2017 as part of the exhibition ‘A World View’.

About the author

Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW.

Twitter: @ginafairley
Instagram: fairleygina