SCHOTT solutions no. 1/2013 > Art

Photo: SCHOTT/M. Couchman

Infinite Light Loop


Artist Tim Morgan’s latest sculpture captures light with SCHOTT DURAN® glass rods in London’s City of Westminster.


Caroline Zörlein

A stroll through London’s West End leads past famous and historic highlights: Picadilly Circus, Oxford Street and Soho are just some of the numerous attractions. Since 2010, the borough of Westminster has been host to an open-air art gallery. Launched in the build up to the 2012 Summer Olympics and the Queen’s ­Diamond Jubilee, the ”City of Sculpture Exhibition” features dozens of contemporary sculptures on display in Westminster’s squares and parks. The pieces are exchanged regularly and the project’s popularity has led city planners to extend it indefinitely. One of the newest additions to this public gallery is Tim Morgan’s ­”Aurora.” As SCHOTT has provided glass for his sculptures in the past, Morgan approached the company in search of support: ”I’ve always had a good relationship with SCHOTT and their products are of the highest quality.”
The plastic Aurora consists of two belts of rolled steel that have been painted a vibrant yellow. The space ­between the steel belts is filled with thousands of cut glass rods. Photo: SCHOTT/M. Couchman
Aurora is the largest single piece sculpture Morgan has built to date. It stands an impressive three meters high and weighs slightly less than a ton. Aurora exemplifies the elegant engineering complexity that is a feature of Morgan’s work. It is made from two belts of rolled, welded and painted mild steel. Its tense, wound form is balanced by its bright and playful, vibrant yellow paint. Where the belts delaminate the space is filled with thousands of cut glass rods – their combined length spans a distance of over twenty soccer fields. The glass rods capture ambient light from the sun, buildings, and traffic, and focus it into bright eye-catching slivers. In this way, the sculpture’s appearance is particularly dependent on its environment and changes as the day passes.

The circular form of the sculpture subtly displays its engineering. It also suggests common cultural symbols; those of the Greek infinity icon or the originally Egyptian motif of a serpent eating its own tail. In addition, the work pulls off a slight optical illusion: the single belt appears to be two to many viewers. ”Placed in the semi-natural environment of Cavendish Square, the simple steel and glass form of the sculpture contrasts with the fractal complexity of nature,” says Morgan. SCHOTT DURAN® is the same glass used in a wide range of lighting and laboratory applications. ”Its special optical qualities and durability also made it ideal for this artistic outdoor project,” says Klaas Roelfsema, Regional Sales Manager with SCHOTT UK. <