Light of Stone

Studio Orta - 004_01
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Date: 1993
Ref: 0004
Catalogued: Lucy + Jorge Orta. Light Works, Black Dog Publishing, 2010, ISBN 978-1-907317-04-0
Exhibition history: Castille-La Manche, Cuenca, Spain
Courtesy: The Artists

Commissioned by the Banesto Cultural Foundation, Light of Stone is made up of a two-part expedition in the region of Castille-La Manche in Spain.

The first light projection experiments with the PAE projectors took place in Cuenca, the capital of the province and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Cuenca, the ‘eagles nest’, is located across a steep spur, whose slopes descend into deep gorges of the Júcar and Huécar rivers. The fifteenth century hanging houses built over a rock above the Huecar River Gorge form an impressive backdrop for a series of twenty-two light murals covering and area of 20,000 metres-squared. The visual iconography is derived from hand drawings conducted in the anthropological museum in the city. The PAE 2500 light projectors positioned across the canyon can project images up to 5,000 square metres and over a distance up to 1,000 metres.

The second Light of Stone experiment was conducted in the Castille-La Manche region of the Cuidad Encadada (Enchanted City), an unusual geological site near of the city of Cuenca, where the erosive forces of weather and the waters of the Júcar River have formed the limestone into distinctive shapes. The fantastical rock formations, the composition of the different minerals in the stone and the effects of the coloured light filters created a mystical series of ephemeral sculptures.

Cuenca. How did you like how drop by drop
the water carved this city in the pines?
Did you see dreams, faces and roads, the signs
and walls of pain where gale-winds whip and chop?
Did you absorb blue slopes made of the broken
moon which the Júcar soaks with glass and trills?
And were your fingers kissed by florid buckhorn
Playing its crown of love on rocky hills?
Did you remember me when you were climbing
up to the silence suffered by the snake,
a prisoner of crickets and black sighs?
In lucid air did you observe a shining
dahlia of joys and pains, coming awake,
Sent by my heart with fire into your thighs? 

Francisco de Quevedo, translated by Willis Barnstone