Art & Development, Community

Artist’s Talk: Chris Bell at the Headlands

I’ve been a fan of Chris Bell’s work for a long time. He uses technology and science in experiment-like sculptures that create pleasing metaphors. He presented an artist’s talk at the Headlands last night, which greatly increased my appreciation for the development — from his early sun-based works to feats of electricity to his current video- and sound-based installations. Because his work is so subtle and the viewer’s experience is comprised of many sensory inputs (you have to be there), still photographs of Chris’ work benefit from some verbal explanation.

Sufi Disco, an installation where pairs of light bulbs dangle on rotating ropes, is pretty fantastic.
Chris Bell Sufi Disco

I also really love the delightful metaphor and feeling of suspense in Propeller, in which lightbulbs rotate, rising and setting like the sun.
chris bell propeller

While I obviously share an affinity with lightbulbs, it was funny to hear about how Chris enjoyed working with plate glass after building several water tanks to display submerged electrical items. I had glazed my first window during the installation for Activist Imagination, so it was both serendipitous and inspiring to see Bell’s Passing Through, a site-specific window intervention, extending the gallery’s windows and fan system.
chris bell passing through

All images borrowed from Chris Bell’s website,


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