Anthony McCall: Line Describing a Cone 2.0
December 5, 2015 to June 26, 2016
The first of British-born artist Anthony McCall’s “solid light films,” ‘Line Describing a Cone’ (1973) set the stage for a ground-breaking career in lens-based installation art. Almost forty years later and now living in New York, McCall has reconfigured this projection work for the digital age.
Using a state-of-the-art digital projector in the place of a 16mm film projector, the installation features a single beam of light that slowly describes a complete circle over the course of thirty minutes. As the beam passes through a dark, haze-filled room, it creates a solid cone of light which the viewer can physically enter. Presented for the first time in Canada, ‘Line Describing a Cone 2.0’ (2010) offers MacKenzie audiences a chance to experience first-hand a classic of expanded cinema—the most recent addition to the gallery’s permanent collection.
‘Line Describing a Cone’ is a landmark work that can be found internationally in collections such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, Tate Modern, and Centre Georges Pompidou. Created in 1973, the projection represented a breakthrough in the development of structural film. According to McCall, “It is the first film to exist in real, three-dimensional space.” As a film that engages viewers as participants, and not merely as spectators, it is an early example of interactive art.
‘Line Describing a Cone 2.0’ was first screened at the Tate Modern in London in 2011. As McCall notes, “the 16mm film original has imperfections such as scratches and unevenness of line, which mark it as a work made in the medium of a film; the re-make has no such imperfections, and is in fact perfect in its digital re-stating of the original idea.”
The presentation of this work continues the MacKenzie’s long history of exhibiting the work of leading international projection-based artists, such as Douglas Gordon, Shirin Neshat, Stan Douglas and David Claerbout, and sets the stage for a major installation of Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan to be presented in 2016.
1. Anthony McCall. “Line Describing a Cone” (1973), during the twenty-fourth minute. Installation view, “Into the Light: the Projected Image in American Art 1964-1977”, Whitney Museum of American Art, 2001. Photograph by Hank Graber. © Anthony McCall
2. Anthony McCall. “Line Describing a Cone” (1973) at the twenty-fourth minute. Installation view, Musée de Rochechouart, 2007. Photograph by Freddy Le Saux. © Anthony McCall