Thursday Salute to Originals: Un-Decorating with Light

Happy New Year! The season of holiday decorations is quickly coming to a close. Bright lights strung from rooflines, red and green decorations generously plastered on walls, and giant inflatable snowmen residing over front lawns will soon be taken down, bringing these festive surroundings back to status quo.

As you dismantle and put away the holiday paraphernalia, think about how those decorations are completely additive – objects are suspended or tacked on, garnering attention from their gleaming light, vibrant color, or sheer size. These decorations live and breathe with the “more is more” philosophy, shouting at you and overshadowing the most simple (and often underrated) characteristics at their core.

So since we’ve been exposed to this “additive” mindset for the last couple months, today, we’d like to call attention to something a little… less. Today’s “light artist” provides a peaceful relief by stripping it all down to two simple elements: object and shadow.

Plastic Bottle Shadow Art Lighting

Contemporary artist Rashad Alakbarov enlivens surfaces with his light and shadow paintings. The Azerbaijan native arranges miscellaneous objects in what appear to be scattered piles. But when the flick of a switch introduces backlighting, the composition becomes an ordered image shadowed on the wall.

Geometric Light Pattern Projected Shadow Art

Crisis Plastic Pipes Shadow Art Installation

While there are other artists using similar projection techniques, Rashad’s use of translucency and color raises his installations to a new level. In the coastal scene depicted below, layers of translucent acrylic are suspended at precise positions. When backlit, their irregular forms and moody hues cascade into a dazzling assemblage of light and color, and depict an organized and unified painting on the wall.

Multicolored Translucent Plastic Light Suspended

Today, we salute Alakbarov’s work. Following a season filled with “more,” it can be difficult to appreciate and value basic simplicity. With object arrangements and subsequent shadows dependent on one another to reinforce meaning, Alakbarov proves that things can be stripped to their simplest form and still retain their beauty. Much like the new year, a fresh start comes from looking backward at the solid past while projecting forward with goals and hopes – and embracing the interpretation that happens in between.

Image credits: Sensationist