Perceptions of Light
Born in 1958, Polish artist Lukasz Skapski lives and works in Kraków. He makes installations, objects, photographs and video art which call into question our feelings about the relationship with the universe, spirituality and art. He is particularly interested in the symbolic importance of light and has created several works on this theme, notably ‘Via Lucem Continens’, a public art commission in a forest in South East England.
Polish artist Lukasz Skapski was born in 1958 in Katowice. He studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, the city where he now lives and works. Skapski works in installation, photography and video art.
Lukasz Skapski worked in England in 2000, commissioned by Stour Valley Arts as part of the ‘Lightworks’ project to mark the millennium to make a permanent piece of work for King’s Wood in Kent. Skapski created ‘Via Lucem Continens’ (‘avenue containing light’ in Latin), also known as TimeWalk. A 40 metre avenue was planted with over 200 yew trees, open to the west at one end and closed at the other end. The avenue is a device for viewing the setting sun and is shaped to frame it on Midsummer’s Day. From the stone at the central observation point, the viewer sees the sun enclosed by the trees as in a tunnel. The commission won the Rouse Kent Public Art Award 2001 and was acclaimed for its meaningful and visionary nature.
Skapski writes on the project:
´Life on Earth exists due to solar energy. Via Lucem Continens is a photosynthetic reminder of our dependency on the cosmic ecosystem. It is a symbolic accumulator, storing solar energy. Via Lucem Continens is a concept of architectural character. You could call it "forest architecture" by analogy with "park architecture". The action of time is essential in this work. It isn’t just symbolic: time is the constructing factor, an actual part of the work. TimeWalk develops slowly in time, during a period whose length is difficult to imagine. The period of the avenue’s development makes people aware of the timescale of their lives; demonstrates the actual relationship between an individual and history; and shows that some things last and it’s worth thinking about and creating for the future.´
Skapski’s fascination with light also led him to create ‘4.00PM’, a series of solar drawings using high quality mirrors and sunlight to draw a sunlight arch or spiral in the air. The drawing was ephemeral, dependent on the weather and only lasted ten minutes per day.
His show ‘Quality Spiritual Facilities’ at Peer, UK exhibited a range of sculptural objects or devices, specially crafted to aid, alter or enhance our perception of the world. The devices take the form of bizarre looking eye wear, elegant tripod-mounted sky watching equipment and awkward contraptions worn on the head. Complete with instructions for use, the devices are designed to produce effects such as a heightened sense of reality or even pure enlightenment. Skapski explains, ´the real meaning of the Devices series belongs not so much to their proposed aims as to drawing the attention of the public to the question, whether and how the proposed values function in society. Naturally one cannot obtain enlightenment with the help of any device. Consequently, the actual meaning of this work is a negation of its nominal function. It shows that certain things cannot be facilitated or bought, that they come as a result of the effort of the entire life.´ Such works call into question the commercialisation of the viewer´s relationship with nature and mysticism.
The installation ‘How Close are you’ (2000) consisted of nine chairs, all facing in different directions. Gallery visitors could sit on the chairs which activated a sound loop, telling the story of the chair. Nine stories narrate the thoughts of different people, who just happen to be in the same area at the same time. An interactive installation, it allows the visitor to comprehend the actual space and the distances between the chairs by hearing the sounds.
Lukasz Skapski has worked as a guest artist at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Aix-en-Provence, France and had a residency at the Artist’s House, Boswill, Switzerland. He lived in Beijing, China from 1989 to 1991. Since 2001 he has been a member of the Azorro group which exhibits at the Display gallery in Prague in 2003.
Lukasz Skapski was born in 1958 in Katowice, Poland and lives and works in Kraków. He studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków (1977-82). He has had several international scholarships and residencies and lived in Beijing, China from 1989 to 1991. He makes photographs, installations and public art works which address issues of time, perception, nature and spirituality. Skapski is a member of Azorro Supergroup (formed in 2001) with Polish artists Oskar Dawidzki, Wojtek Niedzielko and Igor Krenz.
Exhibition / Installation,
´Public Rituals´, MoMa, Stiftung Wien exhibition, Polish video art
´Transmediale 03´, Berlin, Germany, video-art festival
´Everything has been done´, Bunkier Sztuki, Krakow exhibition, post-modern situation in art
Exhibition / Installation,
´Video-Zone´, Tel Aviv, Israel, 1st international video-art biennial
´Centre of Attraction´, 8th Baltic Triennial of International Art, Vilnius
´Around Decade´, Museum touring exhibition, Polish Photography of the 90s
Solo exhibition, Museum of History of Photography, Krakow, minimal photography
EXHIBITIONS & PROJECTS (2000)
Exhibition / Installation,
´Via Lucem Continens´, Stour Valley Art Project, UK, public commission
´Lightworks´: UK tour: Globe Gallery, Newcastle; Rochester Art Gallery; Gillingham Gallery; France: Atelier des Images, Lille (2001).
´Quality Spiritual Facilities´, Peer, London, solo exhibition
´How close are you´, installation on equal rights by visual disabled people, Maidstone Library Gallery, Maidstone, UK
2001-02 Scholarship of Ministry of Culture, Poland
2001 Rouse Kent Public Art Award
1998 Guest Artist at Ecole des Beaux Arts, Aix-en-Provence, France
1985 Art Scholarship in the Artist´s House, Boswill, Switzerland
1982-84 Scholarship of Ministry of Culture and Art, Poland
This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.
(01 July 00 - 26 August 00)
Lukasz Skapski home page
In English and Polish
Polish gallery, represents artist under name of Azorro
Stour Valley Art Project
Project information on Via Lucem Continens public art commission in England.
Rouse Kent Public Art Award
Press release on announcement of award 2001
Performance art in Poland
Review of performance by Lukasz Skapski
Quality Spiritual Facilities