Luxmuralis are taking their eagerly-awaited
Installation to St Andrews Voices Festival
Hello Peter, first things first, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
I live and work in Lichfield in Staffordshire. After years of living elsewhere I returned to my home city where I am Artistic Director of Lichfield Cathedral, and I live and have my studio now in the city.
Where does your love of the arts come from?
I became interested in art at around 14, firstly through literature and poetry and then through music, both art forms I pursued tentative steps towards involvement in and then gradually moved towards the fine arts. My love for the arts came from a realisation that through art we can understand a lot more about ourselves, our sentiments our emotions and express these in ways that share, reveal, explore and at times bring people together. The fine arts are not what many people image and a career in the arts is not simply a life in the studio, its an intellectual, often the most intellectual pursuit, an emotive and deeply personal way to explore honestly the world we inhabit. The great thing about creativity is that the artist is free to create, to think, to imagine, to make the “new”, be that reinterpreting the world we see physically or exploring and experimenting with the hidden. A love of the arts really just emerges from being honest with oneself and being open to experiences and learning and engaging with the honestly of individuals who for centuries have explored human existence in all its wonderful complexities.
Can you tell us about Luxmuralis & your role?
Luxmuralis isn’t a company or business, its an artistic collaboration between myself and composer David Harper. We’ve worked together for years and this collaboration fits a means of working where the visual and sound world come together to create fine art directly together. The artwork is solely produced by the two of us, however we are supported then by a collaborative Social Anthropologist, Kathryn and a team who come in for different purposes. The main work we do together is light and sound production – sometimes referred to a son et lumiere, on buildings or more commonly inside buildings. Unlike many people who do this, the art comes first, not the technical parts of the production, in fact the use of projectors and amplifier are to me analogous to paint and canvas or clay and bronze. They are the media by which the artwork is made rather then restrictions by which we have to follow set conventions. Luxmuralis create work which changes places, and space, often really quite emotional in may different ways and often not what people think or expect. I am the lead artist and artistic director, so essentially I look after the direction of the collaboration and the creation of the visual elements. David creates the sound and sound artworks, although we do cross over an input on both elements so that the natural flow of the work is maintained.
How did the idea come about, & how long has it taken to bring to fruition?
The project in St Andrews is for the St Andrews Voices festival, and is one of this year’s most exciting. It takes up 5 venues – one main production venue and 4 smaller intimate venues. We have been working for around 12 months with the festival director, looking at the subject of Space and the cosmos and considering how this works not only as an artwork but also bringing in a concert element with a collaborative choir which, although we have worked with choirs before, is in this case directly linked to the artwork. The Space link comes from the Lunar landing anniversary, although its not the only reason – being in a church reanimating the space and the architecture and creating a different visual experience for the festival was also key. This is the first year of a three-year partnership and therefore we have worked hard to really structure a project that is unique in its form and also offers a different experience to hearing live voice.
What is the biggest obstacle you overcame while putting your show together?
Time is a big factor in developing project. But the biggest obstacle is that people don’t always know what to expect and we cant show the artworks and light events until they are complete and inset. So people come not knowing what they are going to see. But that’s also a massive advantage as there is nothing better than watching people sit back and just watch and be consumed in light and sound.
Can you tell your about your use of light?
Light is a great medium but it is temporary. Most of the art forms I use are permanent, as in bronze, steel or oil But when I found light as a medium I realised that it was the perfect medium for allowing people to be in the artwork, within the frame. Its a great medium for bringing people together. I use it as I use paint or a pencil to sketch, I build a light artwork as I would any other artworks, through stitching, structuring building and completing and rendering the final work is like sending a clay to the foundry to be cast. What is great, though, is that the light is portable, and we can take it anywhere and bathe a beautiful building, or stunning interior architecture with artwork, not only bringing the architecture to life but also bringing the artwork to life.
Among performing in many beautiful cathedral across England, Luxmuralis will also be setting up at the British Consulate in Dubai, can you tell us more?
We are working in many Cathedrals this year, possibly 10 in total, and these are stunning place to work. The buildings themselves are laden with hundreds of years of history and one walks in the footsteps of thousands and millions of visitors and pilgrims, but light done in the right way, which can take weeks and months to design and create, reanimates the bare stone and bring colour back where once frescos adorned the architecture. Our project is Dubai is coming up this November and is a really nice project with the Embassy for Armistice Day, where we have create a piece which will be presented at the end of the service. We have many approaches for work and many we choose not to develop. Those we do because they offer artistic opportunities and the project in Dubai offered something artistically which was very exciting to explore.
How much, have you found so far, has offering such diverse & eclectic multi-media pieces connected with 21st century audiences?
Its actually quite remarkable. Many people will have seen light shows – but the way we do it is a quite different, they art animations or films – they are collections or ideas and thoughts combined into linear time bases work. They are artworks not shows, and as such they connect deeply with peoples emotions. People are looking for experiences at present and art and honest art creates moments that people want to be connected to. People also love to photo the light work, and share what they have seen and thats important as when people take photos these days it means they have invested in it and want to communicate their thoughts and enjoyment of the experience. Our work can be challenging, with cultural and artistic reference developed though an intellectual approach, but its also importantly fun and people of all ages to see and enjoy it, so families and people of all ages come and thats great to see because the more we move through the 21st century the more important this sense of sharing will become
Who are the Gesauldo Six?
They are a wonderful vocal consort comprised of some of wonderful singers. Their director Owain Park is is a remarkable composer and artist and we are delighted that this relationship has developed. They will be involved in a unique way – performing 3 live pieces in the main venue Holy Trinity Church in St Andrews, but rather than doing this once, they will cycle the works each hour and repeat the performances bathed in light and intercut with Davids sound works – it promises to be a wonderful event and partnership. (www.thegesualdosix.co.uk)
You will soon be setting up at St Andrews Voices festival, where will you be found & what will you be doing?
Our main venue is at Holy Trinity where the central work is around 15-20 long and repeats constantly, with the involvement of the Gesualdo Six throughout. The nave and side will be bathed in light and beautiful music and visitors can sit and watch once or many times and enjoy the aesthetics of light and sound combined. We are also doing a more medative projections around the zodiac with a sound piece in All Saints Church as well as a light and sound installation looking at the sun and Kepler in St. Leonards Chapel. We also have two further installations in a local gallery and small room just off the high street. People can walk around and enjoy all the venues in which ever way they want. Essentially we are using 5 locations to turn the town into a contemporary gallery and performance venue for 2 nights.
You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show in the streets of Saint Andrews…
This is something St Andrews has never see before, its meaningful yet fun and the whole family can enjoy exploring the streets, from walking into a church where we will take them to the edge of the galaxy and back, standing and watching the sun, the zodiacs, watching the evolution of the universe and remembering the 1969 moon landings, all in one night – now who wouldn’t want to experience that!
Friday 18th and Saturday 19th October
Main installation, Holy Trinity Church, (7-10pm)
Satellite Venues (7-9.30pm)