Chromotopia, St. Stephen’s & Chromophonia by Victoria Coeln


Vienna’s landmark, St Stephen’s Cathedral will be filled with colour and light for the second consecutive year along May and June 2012 with the light art installation Chromotopia St. Stephen’s. Created by Viennese light artist Victoria Coeln, her Chromotopia light installation attracts thousands of people to the Cathedral to admire this vibrant colours’ experience inside such a time-honoured old edifice.

(Light Artist: Victoria Coeln, Photo: Peter Reischer)

“Light, even sunlight, is just as precious as time. To look at light is to receive the gift of time.”
–Victoria Coeln

(Photo: Victoria Coeln)

Derived from the Greek chroma/colour and topos/place, Chromotopias are light sites that have no visible boundaries, but – with their multi-layered light surfaces – are experienced as three dimensional phenomena. Victoria Coeln draws on the results of Newton’s research on the principles of light, layering colours to create polychrome shades which generate a seamless threshold of colour and light.

(Photo: Victoria Coeln)

For Chromotopia St. Stephen’s the artist inspired her work on the history and symbolism of the building. In 1945, the cathedral was nearly burned to the ground when sparks from a nearby act of arson set fire to the building. Nearly all of the old windows were destroyed, but later on, during restoration, they were replaced with new pale coloured glass windows.

(Photo: Victoria Coeln)

But, for one month only, between 12th May to 13th June 2012, taken by the impression of the Middle Age’ stained glass windows, every architectural detail will be illuminated by “dyeing” sunlight and floating colours. Sunlight and daylight will be filtered through the coloured gels that are covering all 25 windows during this period and according to weather changes and different times of the day this sacred space will carry diverse atmospheres.

(Photo: Victoria Coeln)

Coeln’s approach was to recall the ancient spirit that inhabited the cathedral for centuries before its destruction and to re-animate the space with that same spirit but with a contemporary twist on the colour concept: “My goal was, furthermore, to restore to the cathedral that sense of lightness which likely prevailed there in the Gothic period, prior to the installation of the Baroque elements”.

(Photo: Victoria Coeln)

The artist will also make light projections that adapts to the architecture and along with the colours of the moving sun, the aim is to revive the architecture and the human sculptures in the cathedral and get them closer to the secret of the ancient light. This ‘ancient light’ can be seen from dawn to 10PM everyday throughout this one month period.

(Photo: Ziga Jereb)

Additionally, there is a particular mathematical logic to the cathedral: the number 3 represents the spiritual and 4 represents the earthly dimension; the combination of these numbers into 7 or 12 results in sacred numbers.

(Photo: Ziga Jereb)

Victoria Coeln’s visual response to this symbolism is to adorn the four-paned windows with three colours each, and to design a screening surface measuring 7 X 12 m in front of the main altar where she will be projecting ‘light’ images.

(Karl Ritter: Sound Rituals. Photo: Victoria Coeln)

Chromotopia St. Stephen’s will open on May 12th along with the light and sound installation Chromophonia St. Stephen’s. This is a visual concert in the Chromotopia in which light and soundscapes/improvisations will contain 4 movements to parallel the system of the Symphony: throughout 4 hours, 7 acclaimed musicians will be improvising with live light projections by Victoria Coeln and visual artist Lia on the background and Gert Jonke’ poems declaimed by Ena. Visitors to this installation will embark on an expedition in which new discoveries are revealed. Light is life.

Team (von links nach rechts)
Markus Landerer, Domkapellmeister
Arch. Wolfgang Zehetner, Dombaumeister
Victoria Coeln, Lichtku?nstlerin
DI Harald Bekehrti, Wien Leuchtet
Toni Faber, Dompfarrer von St. Stephan

(Before: Photo: Victoria Coeln)

More details: Victoria Coeln

Chromotopia St Stephan
12th May until 13th June 2012
Daily until 22.00PM

Chromophonia St. Stephan
12th May 2012
20:00 – 24:00
22:00 A Moment of Silence
Free Entrance

Light & Video Installation
Victoria Coeln & LIA

Sound Installation:
Ena alias Verena Pruka, Voice
Melissa Coleman, Cello
Peter Herbert,  Double bass
Otto Lechner, Accordion
Pia Palme, Bass flute
Karl Ritter, Guitar, Sound Ritual
Ernst Wally, Organ
Poems by Gert Jonke

Dompfarre St. Stephan
+43 1 51 552 – 3530

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