Winter Lights, UK

OVO by OVO Collective. Pic: Matt Alexander/PA Wire.

January’s dark evenings were illuminated throughout London’s Canary Wharf by angels, glowing graffiti and floating poetry, revealed by state-of-the-art light technology. These formed part of the free Winter Lights exhibition, which opened on 16 January 2017.

For the third year running, Winter Lights brought spectacular artworks, installations and experiences to Canary Wharf, many of them interactive or responsive. As a collection, the 30 pieces showcased works by some of the most inventive and exciting international artists working with Light Art today.

Visual Arts curators of Canary Wharf Group plc, Keith Watson and Sally Williams said: “This year’s amazing Winter Lights festival was our best yet, surpassing last year’s spectacular award-winning offer. The roster of artists we attracted this year are some of the most imaginative creators working in the field today.”

Some of the pieces on show – Angels of Freedom, Luma Paint, OVO (OVO Collective), Horizontal Interference, Digital Skin, Nonotak, Origin and Water Wall – had never been exhibited in the UK before, making this year a truly unique experience for visitors.

Angels of Freedom, by Merav Etan and Gaston Zahr, contained a deep underlying message discouraging discrimination through interaction. Five giant wings with white halos invited people to turn into angels in a few simple steps through the power of photography social media.

OVO (OVO Collective) immersed visitors in unique and beautiful light structures whilst Marcus Lyall’s On Your Wavelength was a mind-powered laser and sound installation of over 20,000 LEDs. Lyall’s structure used participant’s brain activity to choreograph beautiful light patterns.

Visitors were invited to put their painting skills to the test in Mateo Mounier’s Digital Skin, creating compositions of bright colour and pattern. Meanwhile over the weekend of 20 –22 January, live graffiti crafted from light was on show with Luma Paint Light Graffiti (Lichtfaktor feat. Helge Bomber Steinmann), transforming any object in to a live painting canvas. Bringing a further element to the fore, Water Wall (Gregory St. Pierre) used a mist screen to interact with visitors as they created beautiful patterns on to a wall of water.

For contemplation, The Garden of Floating Words by Elisa Artesero evoked a peaceful note, giving the impression that a cluster of glowing neon words floated in the foliage of Jubilee Park, creating a poem of transience. BLOOM (Squidsoup) also had a calming effect made up of a thousand spheres of light each bobbing gently in the wind. One piece drew attention to world issues, created by Mike Stephen and school children, Liter of Light, which highlighted the need to give light to undeveloped countries.

In conjunction with the Winter Lights festival 2017, an exhibition by artist Lillian Lijn featuring spectacular sculptural works using light will be on display in the lobby of One Canada Square from 8 January to 17 March 2017.

Winter Lights Festival 2017 was free to the public and could be seen across the Canary Wharf Estate from 16–27 January 2017.