160 mirror-finished stainless steel LED embedded rods; total of 19,200 lights
40 x 30 x 90 inches
Leo Villareal uses modern materials and advanced computer technology to do what art has done for centuries: amaze, astonish and astound. Awe and wonder are among the most moving experiences art can deliver, and Villareal’s three-dimensional grid of flickering lights does so with grace and elegance. At a time when aggressive special effects and number-crunching analytics seem to be squeezing the mystery out of life, his work gets visitors to see the world with fresh eyes: surprised and delighted by the beauty of what is right in front of us and thrilled by what it suggests about our place in the cosmos.
In Villareal’s hands, stainless steel rods, light-emitting diodes, sophisticated software and complex algorithms generate a dazzling display of ever-changing patterns that recall firework displays, elaborate chandeliers and the flashing lights that guide airplanes to land safely. Twinkling stars, sci-fi force fields and supercomputer circuitry also come to mind, reminding visitors how powerful art can be when it sets up a situation in which we are free to understand it on our own terms.
There’s no single way to interpret Villareal’s open-ended work. Because of the non repeating sequences he has set up, it will never look—or be—the same. Each moment is unique and fleeting. That uniqueness is multiplied by the number of people who see it—each differently from every other. Bringing infinity down to earth and up to the minute, Villareal brings us face to face with an experience that can only be described as sublime.