Highlights - Gilbert Riedelbauch

6 February – 14 March 2009


Currently showing as part of the 2009 Multicultural Festival, Gilbert Riedelbauch is exhibiting a range of desk and floor lights, exquisite in construction and design. Using a combination of found materials with computer generated components the works exude sophistication while maintaining an organic feel. Through a decisive tectonic approach Riedelbauch’s assemblages celebrate the notion of an elevated light source via a base, middle and a head. This essential order of structure gives the exhibition its unifying signature.

The bases of the works are conceived not only as a functional weight but also with the perspective of the viewer in mind. Many of them are mirrored surfaces giving a glimpse of the undercarriages of forms that house delicate flick switches that resonate. At other times the mirrored surface creates a two dimensional composition of the necessary cabling associated with the light. Where the base incorporates a rapid prototype form, the intricate patterned surface is reminiscent of layering that one would see on the underside of a cuttlefish shell. 

Many artists incorporate what could be described as found or collected objects into their work either found at the manufacturer’s store or on the street. The found objects used by Riedelbauch are specifically sought and include things such as fishing rod blanks without the eyelets and arrow shafts. Other found objects include cockatoo and duck feathers. The feathers create a crown to the works while being an end point of the shafts and arrows made from carbon fibre. The shafts in the works disguise the cabling that powers the light emitting diodes (LEDs) while at the same time acting as the device for lifting the light source from the ground plane.

Hand assembled laser cut components also form part of the works alongside ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) plastic resin and polyurethane film. The film lends itself perfectly for illumination while the ABS and bird feathers both have intricate structures that are transformed under the scrutiny of the bright LEDs. These crowns suggest a parallel between the hand made and existing organic forms.

The design of components created through the rapid prototyper take into consideration the elements that they will be joining with, a shaft of carbon fibre or a sheet of polyurethane. The shape of these junctions are emphasised by the patterning of the ABS plastic to suggest an implantation into the base by the middle section of the work and at other times a connection to the head piece of the work. The ABS plastic resin is often transformed thought the meticulous application of gold leaf. As the lights make a transition from one material to the other it is these detailed and highlighted areas that become an integral part of the overall aesthetic.

The light itself appears monastic, possessing a spiritual quality as it illuminates a range of materials. It slowly diffuses in intensity from the point where it is held in a customised designed holder that has emerged from the rapid prototyper. These plastic elements are exquisitely organic and complement the actual parts of the works. The similarity between the two components lies in the repetitive nature of both processes. On the one hand we see fully designed plastic components that have emerged from plastic resin combined with feathers that in their own right are so complete in their structure and repeating rhythms.

Highlights is a collection of carefully crafted sculptural lights, each with a distinct personality. As a collection they complement each, if they were human they would have shared genes. From the outset the works appear futuristic and extremely high tech, but on closer inspection it is the references to nature, fishing, archery, collecting and repeating rhythms that make this collection of lights so intriguing.

Jas Hugonnet

Executive Director, M16 Artspace

Photo: courtesy of the artist.