Daniel von Sturmer, Luminous Figures

Starkwhite is pleased to present Luminous Figures by Daniel von Sturmer from 2 – 30 September 2017. The exhibition is presented in association with Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne.

In Electric Light (facts/figures/starkwhite) a single robotic light scans the room, tracing the space and highlighting the features and facts of the architecture.

Galleries are charged spaces, framing objects, events and activity within them as art. The space is usually intended to recede while the art-object of attention comes to the fore. Electric Light (facts/figures) points to the space itself as object. Conceived as an expanded video, where the viewer’s own agency effects the editing of the narrative, and the gallery becomes a set, the space is rendered a dynamic form; an active stage.

The work projects a series of figures – a line, a square, a circle, a dot – to interact with the given conditions of the space as found. These drawings in light animate across the space, aligning with surfaces, corners, edges and ornamentation. They articulate the facts; details, features and qualities which conspire to produce a particular experience. They draw attention to what is always there, in the background, quietly supporting the main event. 

The viewer is choreographed along with the work. We look up, across, around the space. Our agency is shaped, constructed and formed into play. Humour, surprise and interaction are key components of the work. At first it might seem the space is empty, no show to be seen, no art in the room. But then, as it becomes apparent that the stage has already been set,  an experience of event is made manifest. We attend to the ephemeral, immaterial qualities of the space. As noted in Electric Light (2016), a “circle of light, slowly panning or abruptly appearing only to fade again, carries associative meaning, evoking the cosmic or the banal; perhaps both at once.”

Similar to the way the gallery space frames the art, video always exists within a boundary, a (usually) rectilinear edge. In Luminous Figures (line left) and Luminous Figures (line right) this edge is described by a revolving ribbon of light within a barely discernible box.  

Presented side by side, the videos perform a dialogue of movement which renders the pictorial plane unstable and in flux. They make evident the constructed nature of our seeing; a mode of engagement we write anew, moment to moment, to conform our model of the world with what appears to be there. 


Daniel von Sturmer’s practice involves a range of media and approaches including video, photography and installation. His works orchestrate a field of relations between things and people, light and space, video and time, where the encounter between audience and artwork tests the ways in which we conventionally view artworks in a gallery.

In 2007 he represented Australia at the 52nd Venice Biennale, showing in the Australian Pavilion. He has exhibited at numerous public venues including the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; The Gothenburg Museum of Art, Sweden; and the Hamburger Bahnhoff Museum, Berlin. Recent solo exhibitions include Electric Light at Anna Schwartz Gallery (2016), Focus & Field and Camera Ready Actions at Young Projects Gallery, Los Angeles (2014), These Constructs at Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne (2014); Video Works, Karsten Schubert Gallery, London (2010) and Set Piece, Site Gallery, Sheffield (2009).

Recent exhibitions include: Electric Light, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne (2016); Camera Ready Actions and Focus & Field, Young Projects Los Angeles (2016); The Brain, Te Uru Contemporary Art Gallery, curated by Christina Read (2015); An Imprecise Science, Artspace, Sydney, curated by Alexi Glass-Kantor and Talia Linz (2015); Optical Mix Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, curated by Juliana Engberg (2014); After Images, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne (2013); Production Stills, Courtenay Place Lightboxes, Wellington (2013); Shape-shifters, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, curated by Lauren Gutsell (2013); Contact, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, curated by Aaron Kreisler ((2012); Old Genes, curated by Tyler Cann, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery (2011); and The Object of Things, Australia Pavilion, Venice Biennale (2007).





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