For its second exhibition, Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo is very happy to present the American Artist Alyson Shotz. While her piece “A Curve in Space and Time” has been installed at Louis Vuitton Kobe Maison since 2010, Shotz’s work is almost entirely new to Japan.

When she visited Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo, Alyson Shotz was impressed by the abundant natural light in the exhibition space. The work in progress she went through to create GEOMETRY OF LIGHT was made in response to it, with a desire to offer something intrinsically new to Espace’s visitors. “What would it look like to see light stopped in time”, encapsulates Alyson Shotz starting point.

Powerfully combining long-lasting experiments with light, a deep passion for Japan, and a particular sensibility to space, GEOMETRY OF LIGHT gives us a rare occasion to better understand the uniqueness of Tokyo's sky light. The installation indeed offers to the public of Espace the best of the recent research on natural environment. Deprived of sentimentalism her pieces work at the interface of sensation and reflection on natural process, while acknowledging contemporary materials and media.

For this poetic and even sensual experience, five new artworks have been conceived for the exhibition with the support of Alyson Shotz’s gallery, Derek Eller gallery (NYC) and Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo. Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo is very grateful to the artist for her complete and sustained devotion to this project.

For the past decade, she had created sculptures and installations for public and private spaces, working across mediums and creating new, unexpected and often striking visual perceptions. The misleading solid appearance of the floating reflections of her “Shape of Space” shown at the Guggenheim museum (New York) in 2007, was actually a very light a flexible sculpture, made of thin plastic and staples.

Interested in physics, Alyson Shotz uses industrial material, mirrors, stainless steel, to visualize invisible forces like gravity, space and light – the basic elements of our physical world. Materials that proved no less important when it comes to Art. “Questions about what the universe is made of (what is space, what is matter) seem primary to what sculpture, or art, should be about”, says Shotz.

GEOMETRY OF LIGHT is the title of this exhibition composed of four sculptures, a unique wallpaper and an animation, but is the main installation of this exhibition as well.

It is primarily about the structure and dual nature of light. Light exists as both a particle and a wave simultaneously. We experience light as a sort of all over, almost invisible element, but what if we were able to see it stopped in time? What would it look like? How would it look coming towards us from long distancess? The lenses strung at intervals along a glass cord seem to stop light, focusing and amplifying it. Because our experience of space is filtered through our perception of light and our own movement, Geometry of Light also becomes about space and perception.

Views of Tokyo, surrounding the glass cube of Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo will be focused into the lenses in a repeated pattern, but changing slightly from lens to lens. The and focus will also change each time a viewer moves in relationship to the sculpture. Geometry of Light will have a very different appearance whether one sees it in the morning, afternoon or evening. Different types of light and varying weather will change the piece dramatically because light will refract through the lenses at different angles and at different color temperatures.

Transitional Object (figure #1 & #2)

The title refers to the idea that the piece exists somewhere between drawing and sculpture; it is both and neither. It starts as a virtual drawing of a three-dimensional object that is then translated directly into a sculptural form, so it becomes a literal 3D version of the virtual drawing instead of a solid shape.

Because of the nature of the material it’s made out of, Transitional Object seems to dematerialize in and out of perception. It subverts its own physicality through intermittent transparency and the play of light and color on its structure. The sculpture seems to be in transition in space as one moves around it.

Diffraction Spiral, 2010

This sculpture is part of a long-term series in which the artist explored the use of a repeating form in rotation and variation. The sculpture has a mathematical structure based on the idea of rotation around a central point, which is a phenomenon that occurs throughout nature: in the shape of galaxies, sunflowers, shells, etc. The overall shape is created by the physical rotation of the parts that make up the whole in combination with the stepped increments in size of each piece, but its form is also reminiscent of a section of a wave seen in profile.

The surface of the sculpture diffracts light, creating a perception of color, depending on the viewers’ angle in relationship to it. This changeability encourages the viewer to walk around the work and experience it from all angles and at different hours of the day.

Coalescent, 2011

Shotz uses digital means to create imaginary structures in the computer using her own photographs and sculpture as the source material. This image is about the coalescing of matter of various types. Organic matter and inorganic matter converge to make up this large skull-like shape. Flowers bloom out of netlike geometric forms that wrap in and out like a cocoon unraveling. There is simultaneously a macroscopic and microscopic viewpoint.

Shotz tries to create a confusion of perspective and density of imagery that compels the viewer to look closely and repeatedly. The scale of the imagery is also intentionally varied; hence the viewer is left not knowing whether he/she is looking at a photograph of something large or small, real or imaginary.

Fluid State, 2011

Day breaks and we see a vast turbulent ocean made of reflective steel balls. After some time passes, two island shapes emerge from the sea. Plumes of silvery lines flow upward from this, along with a vapor of steel balls and clear water droplets. From this strange and beautiful formation, life grows in the form of flowers and plants. The sun sets and the cycle is repeated.

The animation takes place over the span of one complete day-dawn to dusk, and it’s about the idea of matter and life coming into creation.


Geometry of Light, 2011
Cut plastic fresnel lens sheets, silvered glass beads, stainless steel wire
157 x 336 x 360 inches (398.78 x 853.44 x 914.4cm)

Transitional Objects #1 and 2, 2011
Acrylic with dichroic film
63 x 45 x 31 in. (160 x 114.3 x 78.7 cm) and 63 x 45 x 34 in. (160 x 114.3 x 86.4 cm)

Coalescent, 2011
inkjet print on vinyl
30 ft. x 20 ft.

Fluid State, 2011
Digital animation
2:45 min.

Work with Support by Espace Louis Vuitton, Tokyo

All photos: Jeremie Souteyrat