INTRODUCTION TO THE WORK OF MICHAEL HULLS
11 February – 5 March 2017
Saturday 25th Feb 11:00am – talk by Michael Hulls. RSVP
The emotive powers of light are explored in works by Olivier award-winning Michael Hulls on show at Messums Wiltshire from 10 February to 5 March. Internationally renowned as a ‘choreographer of light’ Hulls is one of only four lighting designers listed in the Oxford Dictionary of Dance; his lighting adding movement and a fluid sculpture to the stage. Two light installations entitled Castor and Pollux are built from a mixture of five sizes of 500w, 300w, 200w and 60w tungsten lightbulbs – 48 in each – creating the effect of constellations of stars. The filaments in each bulb dim and flare according to instructions from a computerised lighting programme, while an accompanying sound score by composer Andy Cowton is simultaneously played through embedded speakers.
“My pieces are requiems for the tungsten bulbs that are fast disappearing from our world,” says Hulls. “It is a great pity as there is nothing as beautiful as a piece of tungsten wire glowing in a glass bulb.” These works which combine the magic of early electricity in the tungsten wires that fizzle and spit and the 21st century minimal industrial aesthetic are energy made visible. The light they emit is warm and inviting and has a colour rendition of 100 percent meaning that it does not flatten or distort the colours of objects around them as LED lights can do – producing instead the glow of firelight.
Born in Trowbridge, Hulls trained in dance and theatre at Dartington College of Arts. During the 1980’s he made site-specific performances in derelict buildings in London, Nottingham, Brighton and Copenhagen, animated by sound, light and performers that the audiences moved through. Over the last 25 years he has worked exclusively in dance, particularly with choreographer Russell Maliphant; a collaboration hailed by The Daily Telegraph as ‘possibly the most important Michael has also worked over many years with acclaimed choreographer Akram Khan and such luminaries of stage and screen as Juliette Binoche, Robert Lepage, Sylvie Guillem and Mikhail Baryshnikov. In 2009 he became an Associate Artist of Sadler’s Wells Theatre and in 2010 his contribution to dance was recognised with his entry into the Oxford Dictionary of Dance. In 2014, he received the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance. He has also received the prestigious Knight of Illumination Award for Dance on two occasions and in June last year he presented his immersive light installation LightSpace, the first ever show on the Sadler’s Wells stage without any dancers or performers. Most recently, Michael worked with Russell Maliphant at Messums Wiltshire, lighting his contemporary dance Conceal|Reveal with ‘chiaroscuro genius’ according to one of Britain’s leading ballet critics.