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Milton Komisar

Built on the Spot

Milton Komisar began creating light sculptures in 1973. His works employ sophisticated computer controlled lamps in combination with solid acrylic rods. The acrylic rods extend from “nodes”, which give the light and color. Each node contains a red, a green, and a blue lamp, and these colors can be combined in varying amounts to make all the hues of the spectrum. The physical constructs provide a canvas on which the artist has choreographed an everchanging rhythmic and harmonious display of color.

Artist Statement:
This work is formal but not strictly intellectual. It can best be understood by thinking in terms of orchestration. As a visual medium it reveals itself through time using several of the perimeters accessed in a time based medium. These pieces should induce the viewer to sit and spend time as the work unfolds and reveals different patterns and themes. One needs to stay with it for a coherent grasp of it to occur.

The constructions are made of Plexiglas rods bound together with polyhedron-shaped modules. Each module holds a set of light sources in the light spectrum RGB. I use propitiatory software and electronic hardware to build the composition’s timeline.

Having worked with light and computing since 1974 I can’t help but think of myself as something of an expert if only in the field of programmed light. Perhaps that is a reward for one’s obsession.

I am sure that developing a vocabulary of time based 3D colored light with a tonal range comparable to pigment has and continues to be the motivating force behind this work. There is usually a gap between the idea and the means of actualization. This certainly is true when the work possesses a material presence. Finding the appropriate means for controlling the colored light was the problem in the beginning. How could I move color through space in time with a complete palette at hand? This led me to on the one hand to the computer and on the other to a system of rods and joiner modules that would allow the construction the construction of a 3D unit.

In the time arts there is usually some kind of narrative taking place, a story, be it abstract (music) or literal (writing). This art is not simply one of effects, one randomly following the next. There is a compositional integrity to each piece. The shape and movement of the light form the story. Just as one sits quietly listening to a musical composition so one can sit quietly and look at a programmed light piece.


Collection, Technology


Milton Komisar
(1935 - )


Built on the Spot




Computer programmed light sculpture-Plexiglas, light filaments, electronic system