Karolina Halatek: The power of light
In her immersive site-specific installations, Polish artist Karolina Halatek uses light as the main medium. Minimalist in design, the works invite to a unique and complex experience of a new spatial dimension inserted within the space of reality, but silencing any noise from the outside and gently slowing down the passing of time until one becomes fully aware of his own self and of the other if he/she is not alone. While inside, a gradual disconnection from the overwhelming pace of life occurs. Even the shadow, this last trace of a once familiar identity, is now invisible, allowing for a complete assimilation of light in an introspective manner.
In Terminal, an end is subtly suggested in the title, the work being inspired by the stories of near death experiences. Yet, on the contrary, this radiant tunnel gives the impression of continuity, of infinity and wholeness. In Scanner Room, any kind of boundaries are once again erased, but in this particular case one may feel both observer and observed, since the simulated process of scanning can be perceived as an exchange of knowledge between the participant and light itself. In Enter Me, an installation corresponding with the artist’s interest in scientific methods and theories, light restlessly moves around the subject, and a bright blue aura enriches the body.
In a world in which the experience of light is rather chaotic and aggressive – traffic lights, neon signs, flashy billboards and so on – limiting the ability to focus, Karolina Halatek introduces a moment of serenity and builds a refuge for contemplation – of life, death and the endless possibilities in-between or beyond.
2016, PE, LED, aluminium, wood, 6m x 3m (diameter)
»It is important to me,« says the artist in an interview for Stuttgarter Nachrichten, »that the people, who experience my light-sculptures, will be a piece of my work, so it isn’t only something for them that they see and forget again«. As a noun, »terminal« is a synonym for final stop, final station, end station, or concourse. As adjective, »terminal« marks a border and denotes the end, especially the phase immediately before death. In the same interview with Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Karolina Halatek goes into the meaning of the word »terminal« and explains how she was inspired for this work by the near death experiences of people, who, returned from unconsciousness, reported their experiences at the threshold of death. In near-death-experiences there is actually often the speech of an enlightened tunnel. But it isn’t Halatek’s intention at all to imitate this experience through artificial means. Much earlier it provides a jump for the spectators into the immateriality of the light, an immersion into a space, in which you, ladies and gentleman – like in Chamisso’s fairytale »Peter Schlehmihl« – will lose your shadow for a short moment.
Excerpt from the speech given by Jean-Baptiste Joly, director of Akademie Schloss Solitude, at the opening of Karolina Halatek’s light-sculpture Terminal on September 17th 2016, Gerlingen
Read more on Schloss-Post.com
2014, kinetic, site specific installation designed for Centre of Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, LED, aluminum, engine, 760 x 740 x 480 cm
Space has been created for people to be inside it, and in this case, the visible is only the beginning of an individual experience that may be coloured with different emotions and states of consciousness. Usually, scanning is used to represent images or to read encoded, written messages. Therefore, overexposure to light may be treated as a kind of a potential introspection, a state of concentration, a meeting and exchange with one’s own self. Its intensity develops with time and may get you close to meditation, but it can also take the form of a momentary flash of light, a transient feeling or image.
Text: Kaja Pawełek (excerpt) | Curator: Kaja Pawełek
Coordinator: Katarzyna Tomczyk-Wysocka | Images: Bartosz Górka
2011, neon glass, steel, diameter: 240 cm
Enter Me is a light-kinetic installation inspired by the structure of a photon, a light particle that is in constant movement. The work refers to personal zone, stillness, nature of time and experience of space. Monotonous, repetitive movement of blue light creates contemplative atmosphere and transforms space-time of the room. This new dynamic yet calming situation invites to participate and stand inside.
Text via the artist’s website
Images © Karolina Halatek