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Sensing Singularity 
Johannes Girardoni at Lévy Gorvy, London, UK, 2018

Image courtesy of Lévy Gorvy

Johannes Girardoni (American, b. 1967, Austria) has dedicated the last two decades of his practice to a complex and precise exploration of the limits of perception through material and light. Shifting between disciplines—sculpture, installation art, and photography—his work is concerned with creating new definitions of space through digital and analogue technology.

Johannes Girardoni: Sensing Singularity, the artists first solo exhibition with Lévy Gorvy in the United Kingdom, featured three distinct bodies of work, including new sculptures and a monumental Metaspace, which collectively explore the relationship between material and light. His latest interactive installations incorporate a third element: sound. The exhibition demonstrates Girardoni’s two decade-long engagement with perception, inviting visitors to experience new definitions of space, sound, and colour through experiments with analogue and digital media. As the artist stated: ‘I concern myself with a new reality: we are at a point in our culture where technology and human perception are about to merge—this is a sensory singularity.

About the Exhibition

A highlight of the Sensing Singularity is Metaspace V3 (2013/2018), an immersive colour-soundscape built from raw aluminium, with embedded sensors inside. Blurring the boundaries between art and architecture, this software-driven installation evolves according to the movements of participants, converting matter into light and light into sound. Inside the pod, visitors experience a borderless space filled with pure colour, that cycles through the spectrum at different speeds, converting light into ambient sound through sensors in the ceiling; outside the pod a pixelated surveillance video projects the synced colour changes onto the gallery wall. Whilst the artist James Turrell famously encapsulated the intentions of the California Light and Space movement by declaring, ‘I want you to sense yourself sensing. To see yourself seeing. To be aware of how you are forming the reality you see’, Girardoni pushes this enquiry further, by fitting his installations with artificial sensory mechanisms—Spectro-Sonic Refrequencers (SSR)—so that the environment is also sensing the participant. A virtual feedback loop is created between artwork and viewer, connecting natural and artificial phenomena.

His series of Light Reactive Organic Sculpture, operating at the intersection between painting and sculpture, is also presented. Composed of found wood, beeswax, and pigment, these minimalist objects combine permeable properties with a heavy materiality that absorbs and radiates light. Comprising Dripboxes, Faceboxes, and Colorvoid Troughs, the works shift according to the conditions of the present, maintaining a sense of the past through the fixed history of the wood. The result is a subtle and evolving perceptual event that manifests in a range of compound colours, glowing: Yellow Orange, Dioxazine Violet, and Quinacridone Gold. Their encaustic surfaces sit within a tradition of hot wax painting previously practiced by Brice Marden and Jasper Johns.

The artist’s latest series of chromatic resin sculptures, which will also be on view, extend these experiments with virtual and material content through the use of an application called Resonant Lens. The app maps the visible spectrum onto the sound spectrum in real time, so that viewers can hear what they see. In this way, Girardoni shifts our reliance on biological senses to sensory perceptual experiences through technology. As such, the Re-Frequenced Sculpture forges aural, visual, and virtual connections, converting colour frequencies into choral outbursts which augment our experience of reality.