Luminale – Interview with Miriam Prantl

On course for #LB16

The Luminale is generally regarded as the Biennale of light. The Vorarlberg artist Miriam Prantl will present the "Clasp" light sculpture in the Tristan Lorenz Gallery in Frankfurt for Luminale 2016. Minimalist and yet poignant, Clasp offers visitors the chance to rediscover space and spatiality. Miriam Prantl is seen as a pioneer of a new form of light art, fusing colour, light, movement, time and space into a single entity. Observer can totally engage with a room and thereby discover different perspectives and dimensions.

In conversation with Miriam Prantl who present the "Clasp" light sculpture in the Tristan Lorenz Gallery in Frankfurt for Luminale 2016. © Miriam Prantl and Kunsthaus Bregenz, Photo: Markus Tretter

The 2.5-metre cube, inside which a light sphere is installed, seems to float in the space like a drawing. The light sculpture has been created with the technical support and expertise of Zumtobel. lightlive spoke to Miriam Prantl about Clasp, her fascination with light and the perception of space and spatiality.

lightlive: You initially concentrated on painting. How did light come to be the main focus of your work?
Miriam Prantl: It was the step to try and detach the colour from the object, making it possible to use light as a medium and a continuation in my art. This is a process that has enabled me to harness the sensual qualities with even more directness and clarity.

lightlive: What does a fascination with light mean to you personally?
Miriam Prantl: I am fascinated by both the human quest for light and its immateriality - light is just there. This allows me to work more freely with colour. The great thing about LEDs today is that I can mix them in the way that I would otherwise do with a box of paints.

lightlive: An audio collage with original compositions from yourself, sounds from outer space courtesy of the Voyager spacecraft and other audio features accompany the Clasp light installation in the Tristan Lorenz Gallery. What role do music and elements such as video projections play in your work?
Miriam Prantl: Light, music, and video projections form systems for perception. I am interested in what happens energetically in a room, because every room has its own unique energy level and atmosphere. Light, video projections and sound amplify and transform the vibrancy in a space and thereby influence its perception. They also offer ways of finding a different, calmer rhythm. We can only truly experience the vastness, the expansion and the implosion of space and time when we find inner peace.

How important is it for you as an artist to achieve inner peace and what helps you to find this?
Miriam Prantl: Meditation, concentration, inner peace, testing the balance - these are important requirements for me in my artistic development. Music and sounds also help. It is always about focusing and stripping away layers of ballast to reach the point where my work and my language are genuinely direct and meaningful.

lightlive: What or who inspires your work?
Miriam Prantl: Moholy Nagy, James Turrell, Dan Flavin and the minimalist movement, among others. However, nature, physics and what I perceive around me are also important.

lightlive: What lies behind the geometric lines of the Clasp cube?
Miriam Prantl: Clasp is a series of light installations. The cube is the starting point, it is geometry, it is perfection, it is architecture as a continuation. I used light on the facade of the minimalist glass body at the Kunsthaus in Bregenz. Slim LED lines became light brackets that hold the interior of the building together.
For the sculpture in the Tristan Lorenz Gallery, it is no longer about the outer skin or the light, the spaces and the reflections that radiate outwards. It is in actual fact the reverse – an imploding space that absorbs light. To achieve this depth, I created a darkened room with UV light that has the effect of shining from within and drawing the light inwards.

lightlive: What are you currently working on? Can you tell us anything about other projects that we can look forward to in 2016?
Miriam Prantl: At present I am busy with two projects in Germany - an art construction initiative and preparation for the "Lunapark 2000" light exhibition in Museum Ritter.

First impressions of the forthcoming highlights and the option to make an appointment are available at our Light + Building Website.