Artist Chris Levine's groundbreaking 3D and light-based portraits of the Queen are to go on display in their entirety for the first time in the 'Lightness of Being' solo exhibition at StolenSpace Gallery later this month.
The portraits were made using state-of-the-art equipment designed by hologram expert Rob Munday: the original holographic stereogram portrait was created using a sequence of still photographs taken from a number of angles. Because of the highly complex nature of the work, Levine was allowed two sittings with the Queen – which is almost unheard-of in royal portraiture.
Levine has spent two years developing the series of portraits. The original commissioned work, 'Equanimity' was a hologram that was very much a light installation. It was originally shown at Buckingham Palace alongside Her Majesty's Leonardo da Vinci collection and her Lucien Freud portrait, but is now housed at the Jersey Museum, St Hellier.
The initial portrait was commissioned by the Jersey Heritage Trust to celebrate 800 years of the islands’ allegiance to the crown. Levine was selected on the basis of his light-based artworks, rather than a history as a portrait painter; however, 'Equanimity' was met with acclaim.
Levine comments, 'The title of the piece I chose with the Queen relates to my experiences in meditation where to achieve a true state of perceptual equanimity is a step towards enlightenment. In my show I will be showing outtakes in some unusual 3D formats and some light works which led to me being commissioned. After the hologram was unveiled in Jersey by Prince Charles, I found myself sitting on these extraordinary images of the Queen. This is an opportunity to share my vision.'
He continues: 'The sentiment for the Queen right now is so strong... I feel a real affection towards her and I don't think I am alone in that! She has a good heart and I am grateful for the trust and support she gave me in producing the work.”
To stage the exhibition, StolenSpace Gallery has taken on 13,000 square feet of extra space to house the hundreds of lasers, and the LED lightworks that project images onto the viewer's peripheral vision. Levine refers to these original works as creating ‘visual echoes’, much like the effects he created for Massive Attack and shown at the Royal Academy last year. Levine has spoken of his hope that the royal portraits and lightworks will create a totally engaging, possibly unfamiliar sensory experience, encouraging people “to question the very mode of seeing – and the lightness of being.”
The exhibition takes place March 14-23 at StolenSpace Gallery in London's Old Truman Brewery.
Text by Digital Arts Online, UK