Behind the scenes of the Lumia” Exhibition

  • Lighting Designer, Scott Rosenfeld, takes you behind the scenes of Lumia: Thomas Wilfred and the Art of Light.

    SCOTT ROSENFELD: Hi. About a month ago, I got to start working with artworks by Thomas Wilfred. Now, Wilfred called these artworks “Lumia”. Wilfred kind of invented light art. And I didn’t know what I was looking at when I first saw these things. I was mystified about exactly what he was doing. It’s as if I was looking at a painting, but I’d never seen a paintbrush. So, let me show you a little bit about how Thomas Wilfred worked. I understood this after I actually looked into his mechanisms, and what I saw was, it’s simply a clear, incandescent light bulb and something shiny to reflect it. That’s all he’s doing. He’s taking the filament in the clear light bulb, and he’s reflecting it onto the wall. So, I’m going to show you that in a minute using these elements and just a little bit of black plastic, and some colored material. Let me turn off the lights and then I’ll show you.

    Hi, I’m back. So, let me show you how Wilfred was working. So we’ve got our clear light bulb, I’ve got something shiny, and there it is. His most basic idea is that I’m shining— I’m just reflecting the filament. But the light bulb itself is washing out that projection, so I’m going to take some black tin foil and cover it up. So now the wall is black, but fancy thing about light is that light only illuminates what it hits. So, the light is still up here, and that filament is still projection-worthy down there. I take the reflector and there we go, and that starts looking like Thomas Wilfred’s artworks, called “Lumia”. That basic reflection of that filament. Now I’m slowly moving the reflector— Wilfred did this mechanically, where he moved either the reflector, or he moved the light bulb, especially in his earlier works, he was moving the light bulb.

    Now, the quality of the film will make a difference. I’ve got a mirror here, and the mirror does quite a different thing, and Wilfred used this as well, he used different quality of reflective materials. And of course he used color, so just by putting some color — this is amber — on top of the light, I’m now projecting amber. One of the things that Wilfred did is that he would move the color. In this case, it’s just the difference between no color and white. So, Wilfred developed this entire vocabulary, but at its most basic level, he’s just taking a filament and something reflective, and projecting the beauty of a filament onto a surface.

    Come see Thomas Wilfred’s work. Thanks.