In 2006 Los Angeles conceptual artist Lita Albuquerque ventured to the South Pole and created the extraordinary Stellar Axis land art installation, arranging 99 blue fiberglass spheres of varying size in the Antarctic snow to reflect the configuration of stars in the night sky. Light Carries Information, a new show at the Kohn Gallery, features four large photographs of details from this unique work as well as a wordless eight-minute video presenting Stellar Axis in its geographic context.
Albuquerque has described this project as “a map, an ancient star map perhaps, or a future one,” inspired by the idea of “the earth seen from space” that came to her when she “experienced the first landing on the moon in the Sahara desert.” With no people or footprints visible in the bright whiteness around them, the blue orbs collectively resemble celestial bodies, an effect especially heightened in one photographic negative print that converts the empty snowscape into an inky black night and the blue globes into radiant yellow pinpoints.
At the conclusion of the accompanying video, directed and scored by Jon Beasley, the perspective shifts from an immediate focus on the Stellar Axis installation to an external view of our planet rotating around its South Pole axis.
“Light Carries Information,” which stays up at the Kohn through December 20, is a precursor to the larger exhibition relating to Stellar Axis that USC’s Fisher Museum of Art will present in 2016.