Let there be light

05 May 2016 | by Joanna Moorhead


First things first: the lift. Up you go, at the Ikon Gallery, to the sound of a heavenly choir; what a smart idea is this. The piece you are listening to is an installation by Martin Creed, the Quaker artist who won the Turner Prize in 2001; the piece, Work 409, involves the recorded choral voices, which rise as the lift ascends and descend as it falls. It is delightful, simple, fun; and of course, it puts you in mind of a church and its music.

So it is no surprise to find yourself in a show that is clearly ecclesiastical. First, the setting: the Ikon Gallery, an arts and crafts building in Birmingham city centre, is all clean lines, white walls and arched church-style windows. Then there is the light, or the lights, of Dan Flavin’s works, which usher you through spaces made sacred by the presence of, in some cases, just one single fluorescent tube of light.

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