More than thirty years, the British-born artist Anthony McCall created his now-legendary Line Describing a Cone, the first of his “solid light” films, the elegantly simple 1973 work, a projected white dot that slowly grows over thirty minutes into a circular line on the facing wall, eventually filling the dark space with a conical “volume” whose vivid corporality is a beguiling trick of light and atmosphere.
Light and dark, stasis and movement, substance and immateriality, cinema and sculpture: As with all McCall’s early projections, Line Describing a Cone tests the thresholds between these essential conditions. Like the post-Minimalist program within which they are conceptually situated, the “solid light” works, recalibrate the relationships between audience, space, and “object,” immersing the viewer in an activated matrix that foregrounds movement, duration, and participation. McCall stopped making art for two decades following the “solid light” films but, happily, in recent years has returned to his practice. This year’s Whitney Biennial included Doubling Back, 2003, an installation featuring two projected traveling waves engaged in a graceful curvilinear dance with each other in the darkened gallery space.
You can view these instalations in Serpentine Gallery, where a retrospective display of his work is shown as well, from 30th of November until 3rd of February. Visit the gallery’s website for more information.