Light Fantastic

Light Fantastic

Chris Levine’s work is celebrated for going “beyond the physical.” Now, the light artist is bringing his fantastical creations to one of England’s grandest estates, Houghton Hall
Chris Levine’s work is celebrated for going “beyond the physical.” Now, the light artist is bringing his fantastical creations to one of England’s grandest estates, Houghton Hall

L ight artist Chris Levine is perhaps best known for his holographic portrait of Queen Elizabeth II – Equanimity, 2004 – and its sister work, Lightness of Being, 2008, which shows the monarch with her eyes closed, apparently lost in thought. This autumn, his connection to British history and culture will go even further with the unveiling of an exhibition in England’s 18th-century landmark, Houghton Hall. Chris Levine at Houghton Hall: 528Hz (Love Frequency) will see works from his eclectic oeuvre installed throughout the house and gardens.

A man bathed in purple light
Chris Levine. Photo: Michael Fung

“It’s a great honour and a dream come true,” says Levine. “I remember vividly meeting James Turrell, the master of light, on the lawn in front of the hall on his opening night and thinking, ‘One day I’m going to do something here.’ At the exact place where we met and where that thought came to me, the centrepiece of the show, Molecule of Light, is positioned.”

A group of people walking towards and standing around an art installation featuring lasers and with a cross of red light in the middle
One of Levine’s light creations at the Dark Mofo festival in Tasmania, 2017. Photo: Dark Mofo

The exhibition’s main sculptural piece immerses the audience in light and frequency. Molecule of Light is 20 metres in height, a spherical orb of light, seemingly floating above the earth, with integrated 3D ambisonic sound. Also on view at Houghton Hall will be a selection of new handmade prints inspired by sacred geometry and laws of physics, new light-based installations such as laser work The Laser Cross, and a collection of the artist’s famous portraits displayed in an entirely new format.

A woman wearing a silver necklace, bathed in light
One of Levine’s portraits of fashion icon Kate Moss, sold in Chris Levine: Be Light at Sotheby’s in 2019. Photo: Courtesy of the artist
"Light, my medium, is a way to access a deeper sense of reality"
Chris Levine

A woman wearing a hat, bathed in purple light
Levine has created video works with cultural figures such as Grace Jones. Photo: Michael Fung

Since discovering meditation in 2000, which he credits with saving his life, Levine dedicates an hour a day to the practice. “Stillness is a portal to the divine, and light, my medium, is a way to access a deeper sense of reality,” he says of the relationship between this routine and his art.

In Levine’s contemporary approach to portraiture, he applies technology such as holographic and advanced light techniques to his photography. And in harmonising art, science and technology, he aims to access his audience at a higher level. “My work is about exploring frequency and vibration beyond the physical,” he says, “and where it overlaps into the realm of consciousness.”

Chris Levine at Houghton Hall: 528Hz (Love Frequency) runs from 22 October–2 January, and is proudly sponsored by Sotheby’s. See houghtonhall.com for more details

Tickets on sale from the 27 September at www.houghtonhall.com
@houghton_hall @chrislevine_light

Chris Levine: Career Highlights
Sotheby’s Magazine

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