Amsterdam Light Festival, a triumph of colours

by Paola Pirovano

© Martina Bertola

Today I love you: a giant neon-light-art stands out in the area of Amsterdam Central Station. The installation was created by Italian artist Massimo Uberti, for the Amsterdam Light Festival. This event will feature 40 artworks filled with lights and colours, spread through the Capital and its canals from 28 November 2015 until 17 January 2016.

On its 4th edition, the festival offers two different routes: the first is for boats, going through Herengracht and Amstel canals, while the second is a walking tour (open until December 10th) in Amsterdam-Oost, among Weesperstraat and the Hortus Botanicus.

The installations are linked to a specific theme, friendship, which, according to the artistic director Rogier van der Heide, has a fundamental role in our contemporary times of conflicts and wars. Additionally, friendship represents a very personal feeling and it may be subject to different interpretations. The semantic variety surrounding this topic is peculiar for each piece: the artists come from different parts of the world and the have been selected based on a public competition.

Van der Heide admits that among a thousand of proposals received, only 350 have been selected as “serious” projects and only 100 presented the necessary technical and financial requirements to be concretely executed.

Among the artists, also two Italians are exhibiting: the aforementioned Massimo Uberti, from Brescia, and Angelo Bonello, from Turin, author of Run Beyond, a real hymn to imagination. Other works, less abstract, present a more concrete interpretation of the theme: Ralf Westerhof’s installation, for example, called Paths Crossing, shows long cables of coloured lights swinging through the bridges and telling a story of friendship.

On the other hand, French designer Géraud Périole prefers to focus on the city and its atmosphere, creating the illusion of a dance hall en plein air, with chandeliers made of light and reflecting on the water surface.

A peculiar piece, finally, is provided by Alaa Minawi, Palestinian artist and refugee in Lebanon. His installation, My light is your light…, is a deep reflection about people escaping towards a better future. This work, realised for last year’s edition, has been presented again this year, given the strength of its message. The Marine Etablissement has been deliberately chosen to exhibit this piece, since here the Dutch semester for the European Presidency will take place.

 

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