Tinworks Art
Adam Frelin
In Praise of Shadows

500 lb candle tests for In Praise of Shadows at Ymittos Candles in Lowell, MA

PROJECT Description

In Praise of Shadow
two wax candles
20 x 30 x 30 inches each

“For reasons that are not clear to me, no one has ever created a very large candle. Not for a temple, castle, or church. Not for an emperor, sultan, or king. While the technological means to make them has been available since the Bronze Age, I have found no reference to their existence in my year’s worth of research. In Praise of Shadows is a project that aims to correct this historical omission.

In Praise of Shadows is a project that involves creating very large candles. At 10 times the size of a normal pillar candle, they are proportionally scaled to burn exactly like a waist-high version of their smaller counterparts. The title for the project is taken from a book of the same name written by Junichiro Tanizaki in 1933. In it, he praises the quality of candlelight on Japanese art and architecture, advocating for shadow and subtlety over light and clarity.”

— Adam Frelin


Artist statement

Throughout my 20-year career, my focus has been on creating artwork for outdoor locations and public places. My work takes the form of sculptural, performative, and event-based projects. Landscapes and cityscapes are the stage where they are set, often taking place at points where our natural and constructed worlds intersect. While the sites I work in vary widely, my aim is to create work that complements a place, while also attempting to expand the meaning of that place. My choice to make artwork for outdoor locations and public places comes from a belief that art should be a part of our shared world.

My work relies on context. That context can be the physical place where it exists, or may relate to its history, or even what that artwork is created to reference. Although I work in a variety of materials and media, the overall agenda of my artwork is to function like religious art: to be clearly intelligible while also invoking a bit of mystery, and at best, awe.

While considering context is crucial in my inception process, I attempt to simplify––or rather expand––the connotations of any finished artwork. In doing so, my aim is to move away from specific interpretations toward something more elemental. My goal as an artist is to create images, objects and actions that tap into a shared visual vocabulary, functioning as icons of our contemporary world.

Website: www.AdamFrelin.com

Video by Bloomberg Philanthropies "Public Art Challenge"


Additional IMAGEs