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Installations of Pure Light by Anthony McCall

A photo of a New York installation by Anthony McCallDoubling Back, Installation view at the 2004 Whitney Biennial. Photo by Hank Graber

Anthony McCall is an artist who creates sculptural installations of pure light. Born in England and currently based in New York, McCall has exhibited his volumetric light objects all over the world.


An installation by Anthony McCall at Sean Kelly GalleryFace to Face, installation view at Sean Kelly Gallery, New York


I’m really amazed by McCall’s use of a medium that few would consider for this type of art practice. The artist’s works mainly consist of a series of well-placed lights in darkened rooms. The light diffuses across a predetermined layer of space, creating cone-like shapes that appear to have volume and solidity but can be disrupted by viewers walking past or through them.


McCall’s practice reminds me of other artists working with light, such as James Turrell and Carlo Bernardini. Where these artists focus on how light interacts with an existing space, McCall manipulates the space to suit the light – using smoke machines and previously, existing dust and cigarette smoke to allow the light to take on a larger form. 


A photo of an Anthony McCall installationBetween You and I, sixteenth minute. Installation at Peer/The Round Chapel, London. Photo by  Hugo Glendenning

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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