The Art Fund brings Light Music to Essex

  • 4 November 2009

The University of Essex has successfully secured a significant artwork for its collection of Latin American Art, reuniting a pair of companion installations, thanks to a grant of £17,556 from The Art Fund, the UK's leading independent art charity, and a private donation.

The acquisition of Twilight, by acclaimed Argentinean artist Jorge Luis Macchi in collaboration with Argentinean composer Edgardo Rudnitzky, means that the University of Essex Collection of Latin American Art (UECLAA) has the best holdings of work by the artist in the UK.

Twilight was created in 2006 for an exhibition at firstsite@the minories. It is now to return to Colchester to be with Twilight’s partner piece, Singers’ Room, which was shown at the University Gallery at the same time in 2006, has recently been offered to UECLAA by Macchi and Rudnitzky. Together, they form Light Music.

Twilight was first shown at the minories with a live performance of Rudnitzky’s composition, played on the glass harmonium by BBC Concert Orchestra musician Alisdair Malloy. As Malloy played, the notes were transferred electronically from one corner of the room to the other and a light bulb, travelling along a wire, gradually faded to complete darkness. Members of the audience described the experience as "mesmerising" and "transformational".

Andrew Macdonald, Acting Director of The Art Fund, said: "This subtle yet beautiful work, which appeals to all the senses, belongs at the University of Essex Collection of Latin American Art where it was first commissioned, and The Art Fund is pleased to have helped make this happen. We are also delighted that receiving funding from us has spurred on the Collection to continue to enrich its holdings with new and exciting works by international artists."

Assistant Director of UECLAA, Dr Joanne Harwood, said: "We are enormously grateful to The Art Fund for enabling the Collection to make its first major assisted purchase. We were shortlisted in 2007 for The Art Fund’s acquisition scheme Art Fund International and, although we were ultimately unsuccessful, it encouraged us to apply under the regular grant scheme for Twilight. Following this success, our aim is to establish an acquisitions fund that we can use as matched funding for grants such as those offered by The Art Fund."