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Publications > Eduardo Coimbra

Rio de Janeiro, 2009

Inspired by Luzboa (see Luzboa 2004 and 2006 in section "Public Art"). The project "Série Light ILUMINA" invites artists to create outdoor temporary installations. Marc Pottier wrote a text for the catalogue edited for the first event with the artist Eduardo Coimbra.


Art in The Open Air or "Social Sculpture"

"As the Artist is part of the public, Public Art is for yourself."

Lawrence Weiner

With Public Art, creation goes down from its pedestal, opening new dialogues and situations, creating a museum without walls or a new artistic vision in the open air. Contemporary creation in public spaces establishes a new and rich conversation between town planners, architects, landscape gardeners, artists, designers, sociologists and the public at large, Creation in the open air is done with and for everyone, concerned or not by Art. Public may realized that Art is not the privilege of a few, also putting off the shyness which can be felt in museums and galleries. It also goes far away from the over present wedding of the mass media and the market. Today, Public Art is no more an art of statuary put in squares, gardens or parks. Public Art is done site specifically and cannot be sold, becoming, when not linked to a temporary event, part of an indefectible patrimony.

Diversity and openness are also key aspects of this adventure. Artists can work on sidewalks or street lamps, in airports, railway or subway stations, parking lots or rivers, use sounds, lights or video projections, paint on different buildings, create an ephemeral or permanent work...everything is almost possible or thinkable.

More and more, artists like and want to intervene differently, look for new challenges having nothing to do with the "objects" of the market. Not to speak about the Bauhaus, De Stijl, Land Art or Earth Art, they regularly have been concerned by the city and the landscape, They even claim the right of Art to be integrated to the day to day life, participating to the urban conception, requalification of a site or conception of public's equipment. Artists can be invited as advisor and may appeal to other competences being responsible for the coordination and arbitration. That way Jean Dubuffet was concerned about the integration of the arts asking himself about music, dance and architecture to wake up and satisfy people.

Like this, Public Art is today a process of thoughts and unlimited experimentations which is in favor of putting face to face citizens and the art from their generation, the individual and the community, the past and the contemporary to create an original artistic project animating public spaces, without any hierarchy between Art and its environment. The artistic "staging production" of the urban space and artists' involvement in the qualification of the city are amongst the more interesting solutions to improve people's quality of life. Many cities and many associations have been working in this direction, amongst them we can quote as example ArtAngel in London and the Public Art Fund and Creative Time in New York.

Participation of the public is more and more often asked and maybe an opportunity of amazing treasure hunting such as exists in Nuit Blanche in Paris offering temporary installations in the different arrondissements of the city. It is the same spirit which has been driving us, Mário Caeiro, President of the N.G.O.]extramuros[ and l, to create in 2004, Luzboa, the first biennale of the art of Light in Lisbon, Portugal.

This first edition promoted a new kind of urban event: the night transfigured by art. Light became art. In the sixties, California witnessed the appearance of a group of artists, for whom the matter of light was to become crucial. JamesTurrell would be the most important, a tutelary personality of all the artists that would commit themselves to this magistral oeuvre, with no beginning, end or materiality, where technology, philosophy and environment meet. Since then, many interdisciplinary experiences have followed, based on presuppositions like the ephemeral or the artificial, offering architecture and urban spaces of the contemporary city the quality of a daily scenography. Spectacular or environmental, light can however become an element of visual pollution. Therefore, not only for artists, but above all for town planners, architects, designers, technicians and politicians, it has now become more important than ever to master its language: from the lighting plans to the design of the street lamps, in symbolical and psychological terms, regarded as a signal in the urban landscape, or finally as the touchstone of the private realm, light is a key-element in a polis of quality.

During the Euro2004, 250.000 visitors had the Opportunity to have a first contact with public work by artists in the main historical location of Lisbon invading mainly gardens and trees, facades and even the Electrico28,famous tramway which got a skin of light by the artist Yann Kersalé. Under the motto "Between heaven and earth we assist to the spectacle of the world" (free translation of a verse by Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade), the project focused on the field of contemporary art but drew the attention of various publics thanks to the seminary on the theme of light, workshops done for students, one specific workshop done with a suburban school of children from poor communities, specific issue in the Portuguese homeless magazine, a pluridisciplinary price and books... a "Social Sculpture".

Hopefully, after the success of the art projections "façades imaginaires" organized by the French Consulate at Arcos da Lapa in 1996 and this number one issue of Série Light: Ilumina opening with Eduardo Coimbra, Rio de Janeiro, "Cidade Maravilhosa", will get the coat of lights it deserves and will enter in the international Public Art events one cannot miss.

Marc Pottier