January 15th – 26th
5pm – 10pm
Lights! Cameras! Action!! We love the Winter light fests that seem to be becoming increasingly common. This year, rather than get wedged in the crowds at the West End spectaculars we schlepped all the way out to Canary Wharf (involuntary shiver) for the 2019 Winter Lights installation and boy was it bright.
The thing that draws us to these night-time light festivals is that they are pure photogenic eyecandy. Two installations stood out at Canary Wharf. The first was the swirling light blips of “Submergence” by Squidsoup. This required a little patience as the show starts with some low key surges of light trails like fog drifting around the park before it goes all out full on nuts with the drowning-in-light thing.
The second one which sticks in the memory was radical new twist to the selfie, seeing your face cast up in light patterns in hanging spray. Whale snot fountains erupt out of a dockland pond while you stand in front of a camera some 30m away on the quayside and if you stand still enough the swirling plasma ghost shapes resolve themselves into your face projected 20 times lifesize into the middle of the spume, as demonstrated in this video by Lady NoLions.
Aura – Ronan Devlin
We were particularly taken by the illumination of the Cabot Square Fountain which ironically is presumably by groundstaff or something as the handy leaflet does not credit this one to an artist, and to be honest it was more the breathtaking brilliance of Lynn Chadwick’s Couple on Seat in the foreground that drew us to this.
In the imaginatively named Roof Garden, the Enchanted Connections by Tine Bech Studio at least were very enchanting.
Whale Ghost viewed side on was quite mesmerising as it mimicked the motion of a whale ploughing through the waves…whilst deceased. Two Hearts by Stuart Langley in the background reminded me of those clever building hackers who rig office lights to play Tetris.
Julius Popp’s Bit.Fall felt a bit familiar due to having seen it in 2012 at the Olympic Park, the words are meant to be random and probably don’t repeat but aqua-printing the word billions in London’s second financial district had a sense of context.
Sasha Trees by Adam Decolight would remind you of Christmas on acid. Possibly.
While the Canary Wharf Lights may lack the scale of say, projecting colours onto the façade of Westminster Cathedral or animating the façade of a Regents Street shop terrace, the Canary Wharf arrangement scores with its greater compactness, you can easily cover the whole lot in an hour and a half as they are all in close proximity, in fact you could if you wished do it quicker if you aren’t fannying around with tripods and exposure times. The other is the crowds… my god the crowds at the West End festivals have been almost soul destroying but the Canary Wharf Winter Lights was characterised by the relative calmness and space.
Runs until 26th January – next Saturday night.
All photos: Dave Stuart