World-renowned light sculptor Anthony James will install ‘Constellations’ on Oxford Street this spring.
Though the plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street were nixed by Westminster Council a few years ago, there are still plenty of plans to elevate London’s busiest shopping street to new heights. Handily, the street is getting a temporary glow-up this April, as a temporary artwork named ‘Constellations’ will use 33 million LED lightbulbs to illuminate the Flannels flagship store in a blaze of mesmerising light patterns. The change is planned for April 12, to coincide with the return of non-essential retail, and here’s what you can expect.
For those not au fait with Flannels, you’ll find it on the western end of Oxford Street, next to the big Marks & Spencer and opposite Sports Direct. The exterior of the three-story shop will be covered with 36 digital canvases, which will use those millions of LED lights to display a series of futuristic light patterns. It aims to provide public access to art, even as the capital’s art galleries remain closed, and creator Anthony James reveals that “it reminds me of bright stars creating constellations.”
Though James is perhaps best known for setting his Ferrari on fire and entombing the remains to create ‘Kalos Thanatos‘, his reputation as a light sculptor has made him a popular fixture in London, having displayed pieces at Masterpiece London in 2019, and at Mayfair Sculpture Trail in 2020. ‘Constellations’ is amongst his most ambitious works yet, and uses state-of-the-art kit, including an 8K resolution system (nope, me neither, but it sounds pretty baller) to create the most optically powerful screen in London.
‘Constellations’ will make use of the artist’s favoured materials, including glass, steel, and LED screens, to invite viewers into a tumbling, hallucinogenic world of shifting patterns. James expresses the hope that we’ll see “patterns in the stars, patterns of light, representative of something more – something bigger”, which would admittedly be quite the intense reintroduction to the art world after a year of lockdowns. Meanwhile, you’ll find even more of his eye-catching works at Mayfair’s Opera Gallery, which will reopen to the public on April 12.
The piece will form just one part of a global public art initiative to showcase spectacular art to the masses, who might not yet be allowed back to galleries and exhibition halls en masse. You’ll find ‘Constellations’ on Oxford Street from April 12 – 26, and it’ll be free to enjoy. The shopping sprees happening all around it, however, will not…
Find it at 161-167 Oxford Street, W1D 2JP, from April 12 – 26.
Also published on Medium.