Material Light: Michael Hulls



Michael Hulls’ work is based around a tightly choreographed relationship of light as a living, pulsing material contained in halogen bulbs. Once the staple of the dance hall, these simple warm bulbs are being gradually erased from commercial activity. His works are in some ways in the paeons of all great art, a soliloquy on the act or process of dying. The words of Dylan Thomas seem to glow within his works: ‘Rage, rage against the dying of the light’.

Over the last twenty years Michael Hulls has worked almost exclusively in dance, largely in partnership with choreographer Russell Maliphant, establishing a reputation as a ‘choreographer of light’. His break out year in 2016 saw the first ever non-dance installation at Sadler’s Wells, a work later displayed at Messums Wiltshire. For his return he joins an elite group of artists including Judy Pfaff and David Spriggs who have been invited to make a solo response to the unique setting of our thirteenth-century tithe barn.

This exhibition continued our annual winter survey of artists working in light. Hulls’ work, centred aesthetically and conceptually around the filament’s intrinsic heat.

Michael Hulls’ installation was part of our second MATERIAL: LIGHT exhibition, which featured a survey of pioneering American glassblower Dante Marioni in the Long Gallery and a solo presentation by avant-garde British glass artist Elliot Walker.


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