Light: Installations by Bruce Munro at Longwood Gardens
As night fell on last Friday in the eastern states of the USA ‘Light: Installations by Bruce Munro at Longwood Gardens’ was unveiled to the US press. On Saturday, visitors poured in to see the much-anticipated artworks, and they were not disappointed. The heart-stopping 23-acre show marks the first time Munro installations have been seen outside the UK, and his debut large-scale one-man-show anywhere, with the Longwood commission set to run until September 29.
Munro’s ‘LIGHT’ consists of six large-scale outdoor installations, two installations within the 4-acre Grand Conservatory, and a small collection of illuminated sculptures in the Music Room. There are many new works by the Wiltshire-based Munro as well as never-before-seen views of Longwood at night. “The unmatched beauty of Longwood Gardens inspired me in so many ways,” said Munro. “It’s been an exciting artistic challenge. I hope that guests will see in these works the beauty of melding light and landscape to become one.”
FOREST OF LIGHT is a serene forest of 20,000 illuminated stems scattered along a forest walk. WATER-TOWERS is a monumental maze of 69 towers in the water meadow, which seem to move in a monumental glowing dance as they change colour in synchronisation with music. In WATERLILIES, Munro pays homage to Longwood’s iconic waterlily by floating platters of shimmering CDs onto the Large Lake. Nearby on the banks, the 7,000-stem FIELD OF LIGHT beckons visitors toward its enchanting glow. ARROW SPRING artfully mixes the horticultural splendour of Salvia plants and sparkling LEDs to create a meandering hillside stream. For CANDLELIGHT, in Longwood’s tree house, Munro has placed ceramic candles lit with xenon along the beams and angled mirrors to refract their glowing light.
Inside the Conservatory, the Orangery is hung with six SNOWBALLS suspended from the ceiling. Each chandelier is more than nine feet in diameter and encircles 127 glass balls. LIGHT SHOWER rains more than 1,600 drops of twinkling light over the flooded Fern Floor, creating a magical reflection that intensifies the luminous shower.
Finally, the Music Room features a collection of 6 smaller sculptures by Munro (Beach without Sand, Restless Fakir, Gnasher’s Big Raspberry, Boogie Woogie Tower, Rapunzel’s Towers and Mettabhavana).
One of these small pieces – Mettabhavana – is a model for an extraordinary building. “I saw it in a dream. I couldn’t tell where the light was coming from, it seemed to shine through the walls,” said Bruce. A special website at Mettabhavana.com explores Munro’s passionate hopes of finding a patron to build this sculptural edifice. Surrounded by water channels and lit by candles, its sole use is for practicing the ‘Loving Kindness’ meditation.
‘Light: Installations by Bruce Munro’ is at Longwood Gardens now until 29 September 2012.