I am inspired by light!
As Scott and I have worked on our recent light box series, I have become really excited about the possibilities of using LED lights in our art. We are currently working on some new light box designs, as well as some new ideas that primarily use light as the medium and the element (without the painting or wood). Light powerfully conveys emotion, energy, and meaning.
Before the invention of electric light, art and architecture that used light had to be carefully oriented to and choreographed around the Sun’s path throughout the year. One such ancient art piece is the inner chamber at the Temple of Abu Simbel.
The Temple of Abu Simbel was built in the 13th Century BCE, over 3,000 years ago, to commemorate the power and reign of Ramses II. The temple was carved out of solid stone and compared Ramses II to the Egyptian gods, which was a common practice by an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh, asserting how his power was of a divine origin and nature.
The Temple of Abu Simbel is a fascinating example of how light has been used in art throughout the ages to convey meaning and power. On February 22nd and October 22nd, the morning Sun lights up Ramses II statue in the inner chamber. It is written that these dates commemorate his coronation and birthday, respectively. The statue of Ramses II is seated among other important Egyptian Gods, including Amun Ra, Ra-Horakthy, and Ptah. By design, Ptah’s statue to the far left never gets lit up. Ptah is the god of the underworld and therefore remains in shadow.
I personally think this is a stunning example of using light in art illuminating the power of Ramses II and his divinity. Additionally, Ptah's power and meaning is associated with the underworld; it is equally significant that he remains in shadow. Light as a medium in itself and an element of art has ability to convey meaning, beauty, and emotion in mysterious ways.