Creating an artwork to stand alongside Uluru is a daunting prospect. Rather than try to match the impact of the enormous island of a mountain, though, this artist instead worked to complement it, using 50,000 bulbs – The Field of Light.
Stretching over an area of 49,000 square metres, larger than four football pitches, the piece is made up of a sea of solar powered lights gently swaying in the breeze. As darkness falls, the frosted-glass spheres come to life and light up, sketching a maze of pathways, running along over 380km (236 miles) of optical fibre. Created by artist Bruce Munro, and designed, built and placed over the course of 6,700 hours, the piece is located at the Ayers Rock Resort in Australia, a short distance from the mountain – and it looks amazing from the air.
This isn’t actually the first iteration of the piece. In fact, it has come together numerous times since 2004, in locations in the UK, US and Mexico, including London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. However, Uluru was where it all began, in fact, in 1992.
“Field of Light was one idea that landed in my sketchbook and kept on nagging at me to be done,” Munro said. Having been living in Australia for eight years, he and his then fiancée, now wife, Serena, were on a farewell tour of the country, which took them to Uluru. “I saw in my mind a landscape of illuminated stems that, like the dormant seed in a dry desert, quietly wait until darkness falls, under a blazing blanket of southern stars, to bloom with gentle rhythms of light. Field of Light is a personal symbol for the good things in life… A work conceived in the red desert returns to its birthplace springing from the dry ground.”
As he summarises it, “I dreamed of an artwork that would bloom at night, like dormant desert seeds responding to rain.”
Dubbed, ‘Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku’ or ‘looking at lots of beautiful lights’ in the local Pitjantjatjara, the piece offers a mesmerising new perspective of the landscape.
The piece was created in collaboration with Investec Australia and Qantas – who shipped a staggering 15 tonnes of the 300,000 assembled components from the UK to the site in Australia, over the course of 32 flights.
The installation opened this April and will run until 31 March 2017.
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