Blackout is a collaboration with Simon Starling centered around the production of a lamp designed by Poul Henningsen in 1941. Designed for the Tivoli gardens in Copenhagen during the times of the Second World War, Poul Henningsen’s Blackout lamp does not expose any light upwards, which meant that the Tivoli gardens could stay open regardless of the blackout prohibitions during the war. Inspired by this specific lamp, SUPERFLEX and Simon Starling created a new lamp. A 'Blackout-lamp' factory was set up in the exhibition producing one lamp a day to be hung and gradually illuminating the exhibition rooms. For the duration of the 2009 exhibition at Kunsthallen Brandts in Odense, a 'Blackout-lamp' was produced and installed everyday. Alongside this a Heidelberger press was used to print a new photograph documenting the process of the exhibition each day.
Extract of Press release from Kunsthallen Brandts:
On the 29th of January 2009 Kunsthallen Brandts opens the exhibition BLACKOUT. This exhibition is a unique interpretation of the Danish architect, designer, and radical critic Poul Henningsen (1894-1967). We have invited British artist Simon Starling and SUPERFLEX to seek inspiration in Poul Henningsen's ideas on design, art, and society. An engagement with the work of Poul Henningsen is not unusual to the artists but for the first time they are collaborating on an exhibition in which their methods and ideas converge in one artistic expression.
Of central importance to the exhibition is Poul Henningsen's Blackout-lamp designed for Copenhagen amusement park Tivoli in 1941. The design of this outdoor lamp, which does not allow any light to spill upwards into the sky, enabled Tivoli to stay open regardless of the prohibitions on light imposed during Second World War. Inspired by this specific lamp Simon Starling and SUPERFLEX have created a new lamp, which will be produced at Brandts re-establishing the former factory that houses Kunsthallen Brandts as a site of industrial production. To reinforce this essential aesthetic and political perspective Kunsthallen Brandts will be blacked out and only slowly, as the lamp production proceeds, become re-illuminated.
On the second floor at Kunsthallen Brandts a metal-workshop will be established and visitors will be able to follow the making of the lamps. In a second space a printing workshop will be constructed around an Heidelberg printing press. Each day during the exhibition new lamps will be produced and hung on a giant grid of wires criss- crossing the exhibition spaces. Just as with the lamps, the printer press will be involved in the ongoing development of a publication that will track and mediate the evolution of the exhibition. During the week additional new pages will be printed and made available to visitors.