Light Installations Festival at the Stavros Niarchos Park - Εικόνα

Stavros Niarchos Park is transformed into a luminous nightscape vibrating with energy and movement, through the large-scale light installations by four renowned foreign creators and one Greek entry that was selected following an open call in the context of this year’s broader theme for the park’s light installations, Gatherings: People Coming Together.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center is a meeting point for people, ideas and cultures. People of all ages, of every race, free from discriminations, gather in all of its spaces, with no restrictions, on any occasion of their life, in smaller or larger groups, at times to attend the events offered at the SNFCC all year round. At Christmastime, the Cultural Center puts on its festive gear and every nook and cranny of its premises is lit up to welcome and embrace this meeting of people, this coming together, its public, on a great festive occasion: Gatherings.

This year, the SNFCC’s Christmas World is presenting impressive public artworks by Vendel & de Wolf, Tom & Lien Dekyvere, and VOUW (Justus Bruns and Mingus Vogel) from the Light Art Collection (Netherlands); by Jonas Vorwerk from WIREFRAME Public Art Agency (Canada); and by Petros Dermatas – luminous dreams from Greece, inviting the audience to join in the magical experience they create.

Luminous, airy shapes and grids and sparkling compositions make up a choreography of light, provoking interaction with the viewer, while at the same time enhancing, through the embodied experience, the interaction of visitors with public space and the dynamics of human coexistence within it.

All light installations are accessible for people with disabilities.

Great Lawn
Vendel & de Wolf (Netherlands)
Light Art Collection, Netherlands

Bamboo canes, lined with aluminum tape, rise up into the sky, as if swayed by the wind, and transform into a cluster of fiery, light-emitting tongues, a sign of fire. Their rhythmically flashing light seems to be emanating from the earth, rising upwards, spreading a glow across the night. The bamboo poles, both light transmitters and receivers, send out their bright flames into the night sky, expressing the twofold nature of fire: both a force of destruction and of rebirth.

Humans use fire to create things; fire turns sand into glass, flour into bread; but fire also destroys. The installation seeks to reproduce the awe caused by this wondrous element of nature, and to activate the importance of fire as an archetype, as a force that warms but also annihilates, as light and as darkness. Fire awakens the senses and creates a mental crossroads, in which the viewer is asked to choose between destruction and new beginnings. Sign marks a starting point for two different routes.

Paul Vendel (1964) and Sandra de Wolf (1966) have been co-creating since their student years at the Amsterdam’s Gerrit Rietveld Academie. Their works consist mainly of installations in outdoor or semi-outdoor public spaces, and are usually site-specifically designed for these spaces. The artists prefer to incorporate recognizable items and found objects or materials in their works, which are addressed to the wider public.

Tom & Lien Dekyvere (Belgium)
Light Art Collection, Netherlands

Collaboration and solidarity visually translated into a work of art is the idea behind this installation by Tom and Lien Dekyvere. A web of stretched, thin, cord-like ropes forms a multilevel structure that floats overhead and metaphorically reflects the concept of network in the era of modern technology. The fibers extend from one point to another, weaving an evocative abstract landscape, a “cocoon” inspired by the various different ways in which contemporary people communicate with each other, either in person or remotely. They connect different times and places, highlighting the shared need of all people for communication. The project was redesigned for the SNFCC Dome.

Tom and Lien Dekyvere explore the deeper levels of reality and cognition. They focus on the boundaries between nature and technology, robots and humans, the animate and the inanimate. Like modern alchemists, they experiment with new and unexpected connections between the natural and the artificial, the metaphysical and the real, creating installations that prompt an expanded sensory perception.

Mediterranean Garden
VOUW (Netherlands)
Light Art Collection, Netherlands

The Bloomlights are a series of lanterns that respond to passersby like an organic creature. When a viewer approaches, the Bloomlight slowly bends to meet them and “talk” with them by unfurling its blooms to reveal a warm soft light. The tall lampposts with their elegant bright lampshades transform into objects resembling tender alien beings or human-friendly machines. They become the object and subject of viewing, reciprocating the gaze of the spectator. When the passerby walks away, the Bloomlight gradually returns to its upright resting position, closes its luminous bloom and dims its light.

Drawing inspiration from nature, and showing sensitivity about the issue of light pollution and reckless energy consumption, the Bloomlights are designed to shine bright only when needed, thus limiting overconsumption and giving center stage to the starry sky and the magic of nature.

Justus Bruns and Mingus Vogel met at Delft University of Technology and have been working together since 2017 under the name VOUW, based in Amsterdam. Their concern is the use of technology as a tool for cultivating empathy and real contact between people, instead of its utilization only in terms of efficiency and productivity. Observing the evolution of modern reality, they envision the future and propose a public space that is friendly and welcoming for all.

Southern Walks
Jonas Vorwerk (Netherlands)
WIREFRAME Public Art Agency, Canada

The audiovisual installation Loops creates an environment of five luminous rings that produce sound and light in interaction with the viewer. They are essentially simply designed, user-friendly devices that combine analog with digital technology in their operation.

The viewer is invited to touch and handle the circular devices and play with the musical compositions they emit, improvising or changing the pace of the sound. The ring acts like a steering wheel, while its circular shape affords it an element of movement that matches the repetition of music in loops, as well as the movement and color changes of the light as it flows in the periphery of the circle in sync with the rhythm of the music.

With references to the musical experimentations with analog tape recorders of the ’50s and ’60s, which laid the groundwork for the modern way of sound production, the installation combines digital technology and the lived experience, the touch, the presence, the connection with space and materiality, thus fusing an older way of using technology with modern-day developments. Loops create a soundscape that is activated by touch, while at the same time involving the intangible element of musical waves and light radiation. It functions as an outdoor music workshop in which the viewer, technology, sound, light, aesthetics and the natural environment work together to complete the project.

Jonas Vorwerk is a multimedia artist who creates environments made of light, sound and space. He uses the element of repetition, randomness, interaction and variables, to explore ways of osmosis between digital technology and physical reality. He is interested in music and the spectacle in relation to entertainment and the modern mass culture, and wants his works to be exhibited in large public places, busy streets and open landscapes, always in interaction with the viewers and in relation to all their senses. This is the second time a work of his is hosted at the SNFCC, the first being his installation Light Holders , which was presented last year at the Great Lawn.

Planted Roofs
Petros Dermatas: luminous dreams (Greece)

The image of lit lighters raised in the hands of audiences at concerts of the past, as a sign of participation and interaction, formed the inspiration for the luminous landscape created by Petros Dermatas: luminous dreams. If the movement of these lighters can be seen as “echoing” the candles people used to hold during ceremonies, then modern-day mobile phones have taken the place of lit lighters at concerts. In any case, they indicate active participation and convey the warmth created by the connection of an individual with everyone else around.

The lighting installation that looks like a sea of bright spots, each of them unique, speaks to the importance of public gatherings in shaping our individual identity. In a reality where the individual’s alienation from the whole makes the need to belong imperative, the installation Synathroisis uses the magic of light to help the viewer confront vital social issues, suggesting that there is power “in unity.”

The Petros Dermatas: luminous dreams lighting design workshop was founded in Athens in 2022. The workshop uses a research approach that affords each creation a distinct original feature. Showing respect to the inherent characteristics of materials and paying great attention during the production process, the workshop aims for the highest standards and a combination of craftsmanship and artistic design.

01/12/2023 - 07/01/2024


*On 30 and 31/12, LOOPS will not be accessible to the public.

Photographs: Nikos Karanikolas

See also

Saturday 23/12, 18:30

Christmas Stories at the Lighthouse | Burger Project – En Dynamei Ensemble, Santa’s Postal Workers


Friday 01/12, 19:00

The SNFCC Christmas World comes to life


Sunday 31/12, 22:30

New Year’s Eve at the SNFCC