top of page



SPECTRA – Color in Light

08.11. - 20.12.13 (05.01.2014)


SPECTRA – Color in Light is a time-based light art project, which is constructed with artificial light equipment as its material. Time-controlled structural light elements and natural light elements changing hour by hour make an abnormal ‘Lightscape’ in the ordinary space. The phenomena light and color can influence a human’s spirit psychologically. Each time has a specific combination of colors to represent it. The balance of the primary colors in light, Red, Green and Blue, makes delicate gradations and innumerable colors on the surface of objects. But their equal combination is separate from spectra: instead it makes white. The color pattern is created and altered by the combination of different factors like time-control, infrared sensors and an environmental light change.


Different layers of light, which have different light sources and control systems, make more complex variations in color, sometimes giving an accidental visual surprise. Also, in the separated objects the light changes mutually related to each other occur at the same moment. The color is represented, in this work, as a metaphor for the beauty of nature. It recreated is, developing in a specific space and interactively reacting with viewers’ minds.


Since the creation of life, organisms have evolved by adjusting themselves to various environments through a several billion-year history. Humans’ biological rhythm including their body clock has also been inherited from DNA, controlled by changes in surroundings based on the rotation of the earth. In other words, before the concept of ‘Time’ was defined by numbers, like a year divided into 365 days and a day into 24 hours, it was decided by the movement of the sun, moon and earth. Time was nature itself and also a movement of “Light”. Looking up at the Prussian blue colored sky, ancient people must have thought about the separation of a day and the life cycle. Even nowadays, some Arabian countries fix the time based on the color of the sky, the day beings as the sun goes down.


The light of the sun makes a variety of sights depending on the different conditions such as weather, latitude and position of the sun. Before the sunrise and after the sunset, the atmosphere that covers the surface of the earth has an influence on the visible spectrum. It produces a range of colors from scarlet to violet. The northern lights show a mystic and beautiful emerald green in the sky, only when several conditions are satisfied. We see “peculiarities” in the landscape, such as sunset and aurora, because the phenomena occur only in specific situations under natural conditions.


Human beings essentially feel relief in “Light” and discover the sublime and the beautiful. This means a life starts with finding light and ends with it disappearing, just like the sun repeats rising and setting.

Masaki Umetsu is Artist in Residency at USF Verftet in Bergen, November-December 2013.

At the Winter Solstice, on 21th December, when the sun turns, 3.14 will also turn Masaki Umetsu´s Spectra - Color in Light. We make it into a project in public space which will be visible on our facade from 11:00 to 23:00 every day at Vågsallmenningen until 5th January, 2014.

Article in Bergens Tidende:

Negation of the Sublime: on SPECTRA – Color in Light 


Light is not so much something that reveals, as it is itself the revelation.

                                                                                                 - James Turrell


Umetsu’s series of works were illuminating in their tranquility. Their front surfaces of Spectra – Color in Light were fields of various colors of light. The duplex piece near the entrance radiated gradational colors of green and blue, on the top of which a magenta contrasted with the colors behind. Another piece displayed gradational colors of indigo and magenta in contrasting with a yellow on the top. All the lights radiating from the work were, in some way, atmospheric. At the same time, there was something irresistibly natural about the work, despite of their stern appearance. After a while, the silence was broken with an automated click, by which each color of light altered to another one. At once I became confronted with totally different concordant colors of light.


The light colors of violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red in Spectra – Color in Light refer to the colors of the spectrum of visible light. Yet, what the beholder would perceive from this artwork is more than a simple visual experience of color compositions of natural light. It is a physical experience without a tactile sensation and also a spiritual experience without sublimity. In this time-based work, Umetsu intends to embody “an abnormal ‘lightscape’ in an ordinal space,” by bringing in phenomena of changing natural light colors in abstract forms that transform with the passage of time. This lightscape is the condition that the artist establishes with a view to appeal to the inner nature of the beholder and evoke primeval emotions of him or her. Above all, it is the sphere to become one with the whole, in which distinction between self and other melts away. The sublime, the aesthetic notion being developed most importantly by Burke and Kant in the eighteenth- and the early nineteenth century, which has indissolubly been intertwined with the condition of duality of subject and object, cannot intrude into it. The lightscape that Spectra – Color in Light creates stands for the antipole of, or rather negation of the sublime.


- Takako KONDO



Spectra – Color in Light

The installation is constructed of three differently sized artificial light elements and includes the changeable natural light falling through the twelve windows of Kunsthall 3.14. Emphasizing the three different directions of the windows, I decided to give each side a specific background color (Red, Green and Blue). Each window space contains a light sculpture with a specific color composition. Inside the sculptures, there are 2 to 7 fluorescent tubes that are covered by color films. As a result, the color gradation shows a wide range of the color wheel. I composed color combinations to create a comfortable feeling, avoiding strong halation and glare. The viewer is invited to experience a further variation of light by moving inside the exhibition’s space and to perceive an afterimage effect, which means keeping the light pictures in mind.

In Bergen, the period of November and December can be dour due to the short daylight hours. It is in the nature of things that the people living in Bergen have special emotions about light. I hope visitors will enjoy the experience of light and the discovery of their own specific time and space in Kunsthall 3.14.


For the exhibition, I started to carry out research on the climate conditions in Bergen and its particularly remarkable differences in daylight hours between summer and winter. It was important to understand how the local people view light in their life and how it affects their mental activities. After visiting Bergen a couple of times, I discovered things not found in the data: that people in Bergen have a comparatively open mentality to weather conditions than residence of other cities. This fact became one of the reasons why I would like to communicate to the inhabitants of Bergen through a Light-Scape.


As a visual artist dealing with phenomena as material, I consider any space to have a specific history making its own aura in space. What attracted me first when I met the space of Kunsthall 3.14 were the windows. The 12 wide windows were openly designed facing in three directions from north-east to south-west, as if it is able to accept everything from outside in the heart of the city. This means the windows not only have a function to separate inside and outside, but that they also play an important part in connecting inside and outside. I am deeply touched by this architect's consideration of lighting. Thus, it is possible to say that my light project is also a collaboration with the architecture and its surrounding environment.

- Masaki Umetsu

bottom of page