Nathaniel Rackowe is a London based artist from the UK represented by MTArt Agency. His often large-scale urban referenced structures, and light sculptures are designed to recreate the experience of navigating the city around us. His works are abstracted impressions of today’s metropolitan experience evoked through the vicissitudes of light as it fluctuates throughout the city. Influenced by Modernism, film and video games, Rackowe uses the mass manufactured derivative products of the modernist era – glass, corrugated plastics, concrete, scaffolding, breeze blocks and strip lights – to recreate the collective experience and visual sensations of urban contemporary life, while incorporating a deeply personal emotional response to flowing through built space.
Rackowe uses light to structure space by emulating the way it delineates buildings, city blocks and streets. In this way Rackowe departs from the aesthetics of the use of light of American minimalists such as Flavin and Judd. By decoding these experiences his works capture the chromatic sensations of desolate streets at dawn, the atmosphere as daylight fades into night and the shadows created by obtrusive cranes, scaffolding and skeletal buildings. The resulting sculptures – striking geometric shapes and dramatic shafts of light – combine vivid beauty with the grimness of industrialisation, perhaps offering a true representation of the disparities of contemporary life.
Rackowe’s art practice spans public art, installation, sculpture, photography and painting, and in the last 5 years an increasing focus on performance, collaborating with choreographer Angela Woodhouse.
Square Prism is a time-bound, sequenced light installation that was specially designed for a unique vantage point of Hildesheim. The luminous lines of light in Square Prism are gradually illuminated until the composition shifts and gains speed, and the work forms a cube, a square light prism, at the end of the sequence. The work picks up on the geometry we encounter in the urban environment and refers directly to the famous square church towers, which can be seen from its point of view. The piece draws attention to the often hidden beauty of cities and the basic forms they contain.
The piece combines raw materials and light, creating associations with the built environment and exploring the transportive power of light. The form is derived from a platonic solid, a cube, but described by intersecting planes. LP46 quotes from a formal language of sculpture, but inhabits a contemporary context with its raw finish and refined lines echoing the paradoxes in the cites that Rackowe observes. (Photo credit: Letitia Gallery, Beirut)
LP48 is a large scale sculptural installation combining a galvanised steel structure, semi transparent yellow roofing sheets, and cool white fluorescent light. Cutting across a space, it forces the viewer to navigate around it, while the lights spills out into the space, creating a gradient of white to yellow, bathing the environment in a subtle yellow hue. (Photo credit: Letitia Gallery, Beirut)
Origin uses the hexahedron to create a frame for the natural, while its firm lines echo the urban space just beyond its boundaries. The artwork suggests a fictional third space, an impossible intersection of city and nature, the two layered perfectly upon each other existing as cuts in reality. Floating in this third space above the water, Origin invites people to reflect on their own spatial position, their body as a kinetic element linking city to nature, and relates directly to Aarhus, and how the city itself quite visibly floats between sea, sky and landscape. (Photo credit: Aarhus municipality and Martin Schubert)
‘Luminous Territory’ is a new series of site specific installations by Lawrie Shabibi artist Nathaniel Rackowe, developed for Alserkal Avenue, taking inspiration from the ever changing urban landscape of Dubai. Vertical towers of light and colour will activate the Avenue, combining common materials like scaffolding netting and fluorescent light into a new refined aesthetic.