The sudden plunging temperature and a general sense of January malaise had descended over Chez L’Abeille when out of the ether came a glimmer of light – Lumiere London.
For four chilly winter nights the street of London have been bathed in neon lights and beautiful projections. I went along with three equally layered up friends to the Piccadilly, Regent Street and Mayfair section on the Thursday opening night. We were completely enchanted by both the lights and the convivial atmosphere. On this near freezing mid-January night, London behaved like it was on holiday. Everywhere we walked, people helped each other with hard to find locations and just chatted about the artworks. How unlike our usual grumpy selves we all were; there was clearly magic in the air.
The main roads around Piccadilly and Mayfair were closed which meant there was lots of space to stand and wonder at the spectacle and beauty of the installations. My particular favourites were KeyFrames in Regent Street and Les Luminéoles in Piccadilly. Both were mesmerising for different reasons. Les Luminéoles is a floating, dreamlike piece, using more traditional puppetry skills and human operators (who battled well in the brisk wind that was freezing us half to death!). KeyFrames on the other hand was just funny; a story told through the antics of the animated stick people, who danced, somersaulted and chased each other across the Liberty House facade with increasing complexity.
I went back with a different group of friends on Saturday night to explore the Kings Cross section but unfortunately this was a rather different experience. By now the word was out and the very small pathways between the station and Granary Square were almost impassable. We did battle through but felt slightly disappointed. The sheer weight of pedestrian traffic got in the way of really seeing anything for any length of time. It was a shame, as the organisers have clearly tried to manage the event as well as they can but the area just couldn’t cope with the numbers who turned up.
Despite that, I have loved this new event on the London art scene and really hope that it happens again next year. Here are some of my favourites: Enjoy!
©Chez l’abeille 2016
Lumiere london was produced by Artichoke and supported by The Mayor of London.