Art | Void-Non-Void | by Gabriel Lester


From February to the beginning of May 2018, Gabriel Lester’s light art work Void-Non-Void was on display. The work of art, placed on a vast square in the middle of the NDSM site, makes both light and darkness a penetrating sensory experience.


In a glowing city like Amsterdam, darkness is scarce. At the NDSM shipyard, however, it can still be quite dark. It’s a double-edged quality because it can cause both unease and enchantment. From the dark bank on the river IJ, the NDSM offers you one of the most beautiful views of the city, with thousands of lights glistening on the other side. Void-Non-Void is a work of light art that makes the darkness palpable. White light flickers against the inside and outside of the six by three meter high walls. In the blink of an eye the object changes from a white cube to a black box, from an empty shell to a filled core and from a blind spot to a penetrating afterimage. After the bright incidence of light, your eyes glow in the dark for a while.


Gabriel Lester (1972) makes architectural installations, performances and videos in which time, space and memory are central. Recent solo exhibitions have taken place at the Groninger Museum (2017), de Appel arts centre (2016) and Museum Boijmans van Beuningen (2011), among others. His work was also shown at documenta 13 (2012) and the Venice Biennale (2013). Lester grew up in Pieterburen and lives and works in Amsterdam.


Gabriel Lester started his career as a street-artist, hip-hop artist and art director for music videos by Gotcha and Postmen, among others. For Void-Non-Void he is inspired by the early days of hip-hop. The title of the work is derived from the oldest hip-hop track The Message by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. Now you’re unemployed,all non-void  / Walkin’ round like you’re Pretty Boy Floyd’ is the rhyme that describes hard life in American cities. The artist connects this with a legendary anecdote from the same period. During popular house parties in The Bronx, the DJ’s pulsating breaks were amplified by someone cutting the light switch on and off at the stroke of the beat. Appropriately, Lester directed the music video for the track Binnen by Amsterdam hip-hop formation Yung Internet with Void-Non-Void as a backdrop.

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