YUAG visitors gazing into Luccata, Op. 162

Seeing Things

A photo essay. To view all 25 shots, check out the email version.

Lumia, a new exhibit at the Yale University Art Gallery, is a show of light, and to make it work, everything else has got to be dark.

But your eyes adjust. During a visit this week, silhouetted visitors told each other what they saw in the artist Thomas Wilfredโ€™s pulsing, flowing abstractions: neon flames, deep-sea creatures, cosmic phenomena, spirits in flight.

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Other viewers will see something different, literally. Most of the works are looping compositions that last a specific amount of time. Among the shortest is a piece that repeats every 5 minutes and 15 seconds. Among the longest is one that loops every 5 years, 359 days, 19 hours, 20 minutes and 48 seconds. Others go days or weeks before repeating. One piece, Luccata, Op. 162, is purportedly infinite. It was Wilfredโ€™s โ€œfinal attempt to render infinity intelligible,โ€ a nearby placard says.

Thereโ€™s a lot of fascinating context like that to soak up, if you like. But you donโ€™t have to think too hard to get a lot out of Lumia. Itโ€™s enough to simply bask in the light, and see what you see.

Lumia: Thomas Wilfred and the Art of Light
Yale University Art Gallery โ€“ 1111 Chapel St, New Haven (map)
Tues-Fri 10am-5pm (Thurs 10am-8pm Sept-June), Sat-Sun 11am-5pm
(203) 432-0601

Written and photographed by Dan Mims.

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