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Ara Lucidus


Presented by Alteria Art & James Putnam 

In the Chapel of House of St Barnabas


Ara Lucidus is presented in London for the first time this June after its debut at the 56th Venice Biennale last year. It is an enticing and complex visual work that incorporates hand-blown Murano glass, innovative computer programming and Khoos ongoing research into bioluminescence, to create an atmospheric world of changing light and glowing sources. As you enter the Chapel you experience the changing projections and are immediately transported into Dantes world. 


Ara Lucidus is a site-specific installation created by Iyvone Khoo. The work was initiated in response to the theme Gotika for the 2015 edition of Glasstress, a Collateral event of the Venice Biennale between the Palazzo Franchetti and the Island of Murano. Medieval Gothic minds were ruled by many fears; fear of God, of nature and of the unknown. Fireflies were believed to be souls, and their light was seen as a mysterious, magical and supernatural phenomenon.


The installation occupies a juncture where science, art and the spiritual meet. Inspired by a common thread in bioluminescence, the work synthesizes the past with the present. Taking references from Dante’s Divine Comedy the idea crystallized into a dynamic contemporary ‘light altar’ using lasers, LEDs, ultraviolet light and video projection alongside wooden, plastic and hand -blown glass elements. 


Set in darkness, a throne sits on a wooden raft, with monstrous roots that cling onto a prayer pew. On the throne is a screen and within it is an inverted glowing skull, embedded with luminescent pigments that symbolize 'Cold Hell' and Dante's ascension to Purgatory. Growing out of the screen is a glowing glass heart that sprouts from a tree. This relates to Dante's lost love, Beatrice and his quest for Illumination amongst the 'Dark Woods'.


By tracing the origin of the scientific term ‘Luciferin’ (the light-emitting molecule in bioluminescent organisms) the artist’s research has led to the miraculous ‘Liquor Lucidus’, a shining liquid allegedly prepared from flying glow‐worms by the German monk Albertus Magnus (1193‐1280) and undoubtedly the first recorded bioluminescent potion. 


In the hallways leading from the Chapel to the House, further moving image works by Iyvone Khoo will be shown as part of The Collective’s Summer exhibition which includes artists such as Susan Derges, Paul Benney and Tim Shaw. A limited edition print will be produced to mark the occasion, which will also be presented as part of the Summer Exhibition. 


House of St Barnabas, 1 Greek St, London, W1D 4NQ

Friday 17th June 2016

Private View: 6-8pm

Party: 8pm - late (DJ Ross Allen)

RSVP essential: rsvp@hosb.org.uk


18th - 30th June (Ara Lucidus in the Chapel)

18th June - End Oct 2016 (Prints and Video Works as part of The Collective)

Please contact lauren@alteriaart.com to arrange to view the exhibition between these dates. As it is a members club we will need to add your names to te guest list.