Bruce Munro has been commissioned by the Northern Territory Government to create a unique exhibition for Darwin that activates outdoor spaces across the city's central business district. Bruce Munro is internationally renowned for his site-specific light-based sculptures and installations, though Bruce Munro: Tropical Light is a development with a collection of eight works, marking his largest city-wide exhibition in Australia.
The artist based the concepts of these works on his personal history of visiting Darwin, allowing the viewers to discover a blend of Darwin experiences, nature and history in each one.
Bruce Munro: Tropical Light is a collection of eight illuminated sculptures that are connected by a self-guided path to wander along. The works are intended to inspire interest during the day for viewers, though hold special significance when illuminated at night.
We don’t want to give away all the surprise, but here is a special preview of what to expect….
When Munro was 21 years old, he read a book called ‘Gifts of Unknown Things’ by Lyall Watson. In it the author describes a young girl who possesses the gift of seeing sounds in color, called synesthesia.
The idea inspired Water Towers. Each is made of stacked recyclable water bottles, illuminated by optical fibre, like enormous liquid batteries of light.
Music emanates from the towers and a rainbow of colours moves with the sound. Wandering among them, the visitor experiences sound translated into colour, just as Lyall Watson’s heroine Tia did.
Photographer Louise Denton. Copyright NTMEC.
The sculpture is named after an optical phenomenon that sometimes occurs during sunset or sunrise, for only a second or two. Green flashes occur because the atmosphere causes sunlight to separate into different colours. The green flash has been one of those naturally occurring light events that captured Bruce Munro’s attention and imagination as a child. Later, whilst living in Australia in his twenties, he spent many sunsets (and occasional sunrises) attempting to capture the elusive green flash with a camera.
Photo credit: Bruce Munro Ltd.
In the early 1990s, Munro and his girlfriend (now wife) Serena lived north of Sydney in a house located above the beaches, surrounded by gum trees and the raucous bird calls of the bush. Thinking back, the artist imagined similarities between the birds and a group of Scotchmen in kilts, as both show flamboyant markings and speak in a dialect difficult to understand. For Gathering of the Clans, the bird form has been abstracted into the shape of fluorescent clothes pegs, colour-coded by species. Each species is perched on a Hill’s Hoist rotary washing line, another icon of Australian life, and united in sound.
Photographer Mark Pickthall. © 2019 Bruce Munro Ltd.