The nice thing about light is that it can be switched off. That’s what makes it so suited to the elusiveness I want to visualize. When the light is turned off, the whole work of art is gone.
Giny Vos, 2010
Giny Vos belongs to the most prominent media artists active in the Netherlands today. Light is her main material and research object; in the early 1990s she was one of the first artists in the Netherlands that started working with LED-based technologies.
Over the last decades, she has realized numerous computer-controlled light installations, many of which are situated in outdoor public space. However, her works can also be found in indoor spaces such as offices and art museums. A common denominator is their site-specific character, and they tend to oscillate between ephemeral, performative presence (light) and sculptural object (material structure). Installations often highlight a specific set of characteristics of an urban site, be it in text, figurative image, or through abstract patterns of animated movement. Vos exemplifies and analyses existing parameters, but never states them in a factual way; she creates distinct choreographies of light that are always poetic.
As she explores the visual possibilities of both artificial and natural light, they produce an aesthetic experience that can be appreciated by both connoisseurs and random visitors. As effortless as her installations look, so complex is their genesis, based on an extensive research trajectory that is both intuitive and explorative. Projects typically include a wide range of external partners, from the commissioning parties to technology experts and specialized tech companies. Each work is a collaborative effort, based on an intensive process of development, testing, and technological innovation.
The result is visually attractive but also addresses complex issues such as the relations between art, science, and technology. The work often positions itself vis-à-vis the history of media technologies, including cinema and its precursors, and draws connections between artistic genres. It is actively involved in a broader debate on how public art both deviates from and reflects on the white cube – with the museum, western exhibition histories and the post-war art historical and architectural canon as important frames of reference. More recently, her practice has focused on light as a renewable energy source, a topic she hopes to further explore in the coming years.
Giny Vos studied at Gerrit Rietveld Academie and Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam. Her rich and layered oeuvre has gained national and international recognition, and has been exhibited in the Netherlands as well as abroad. Public commissions include works in various Dutch cities, such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Amersfoort, Leeuwarden, Assen, and Groningen. Internationally, works in public space (both commissioned and self-initiated) have been realized in cities ranging from Kaunas, Lithuania, to New Delhi and New York City. Over the course of her career she received various grants and awards, including (multiple times) the Mondriaan Fund Stipendium for Established Artists and the Dutch Witteveen+Bos Prijs voor Kunst+Techniek (2010). A comprehensive monograph about her work has been published by Valiz under the title Singing in the Dark (2010).