Home » Anthony McCall and his motes of dust

Anthony McCall and his motes of dust

I’ve just seen Anthony McCall’s current show at the Hamburger Barnhof in Berlin.

Anthony McCall, Vertical Works (2004-2010). All images via Sprüeth Magers.

Walking into the Hamburger Bahnhof was treat enough, for this former railway station now contemporary art space is architecturally impressive. The adaptive reuse is highly effective and the extensive use of white succinctly defines both delicate and forthright features of the building’s architecture.

Little did I realise what more was in store for me until I entered McCall’s pavilion. There, surrounded by black you experience McCall’s cones of light. These 3D geometric shapes are defined by projected light falling on particles of dust released into the air. Each shape is drawn in dust and is cast like a laser beam on the floor. The shapes are constantly in motion; they dissect themselves, separate and rejoin to create themselves anew.  It’s slow paced and fascinating to watch.

A word of warning though. Being inside the pavilion has a dusty smell, not altogether pleasant, so to interact with the light you have to be prepared to mix with the dust motes. If you have breathing problems it might not be worth it.

I had never heard of this British born artist even though he has been well-known since the 70s due to his involvement in the film as art movement. I’ll certainly look out for him in the future.


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