MILAN – More than one hundred years ago Marcel Duchamp, enormously influenced by painting and sculpture, showed the world that even the most improbable object could be transformed into art. He did this through the idea of the "found object", which he defined as a "ready-made" object. This is any common object that is deemed suitable for creating a work of art. The ready-made objects Duchamp used, like the glass vial full of Parisian air, are seen as a fundamental contribution to 2oth century art. Today plastic replaces glass and porcelain. Artists like Bruce Munro can draw from these new types of ready-made objects. Munro combines the power of natural light with the use of ready-made objects such as plastic, as with the Light in the Garden, one of the works installed at six locations in the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.
Plastic bottles as main characters
In the "Beacon" and "Water-Towers" works, the ready-made objects used by Munro could not have been simpler and more omnipresent: transparent plastic water bottles. The choice connected to using the bottles was defined by Munro as a pragmatic choice, taken not so much to recall Duchamp as many claimed, but due to the fact that they were cheap. But the choice of the plastic bottle was also a decision based on the moment when the artist discovered the beauty of a stack of bottles in a retail store.
The works of art
Munro creates what could be called "bottled light". Filling the water bottles with the same type of fibre optics used for the "Light in the Garden". The coloured light of fibre optics is transported and diffused through the plastic to give the entire bottle a rich glare. In "Water-Towers" the bottles are stacked in 20 six foot tall separated cylinders. During the night each column is illuminated by lights that change various shades of colours. "Beacon", located near the Great Lawn Garden, operates both during the day and at night. Its structure is made up of a large dome, 15 feet in diameter. The triangular spaces are filled with about 3,000 water bottles pointed inward which contain fibre optics. During the day visitors can look through the bottles to admire the internal design and if they take a step back the structure looks like an enormous multi-faceted diamond. At night, when the various shades of the fibre optics are visible, it becomes a gem.
by editorial staff