Culture under the spotlight as top Euro artists come to Leeds

Light Night 2017
The giant desk lamps that will be on Briggate

Exciting European artists will be lighting up Leeds with a series of captivating creations when Light Night returns to the city this October.

Taking place just a few weeks before the city officially submits its ambitious bid to be European Capital of Culture in 2023, the astonishing arts spectacular will see Leeds host illuminated installations from France and The Netherlands as part of an eclectic international programme.

One of this year’s most striking pieces will see French artists TILT install a series of giant, 12 foot tall lamps on Briggate. The studio’s work explores light and how it interacts with art, architecture and space.

Inspired by architects lamps, the huge structures will be in place on both October 5 and 6 and will be displayed in association with Leeds BID (Leeds Business Improvement District).

TILT’s Claudia Caterin said: “Suddenly facing a giant lamp, people get a new vision of it and feel like they have been transported into a new dimension, with an Alice in Wonderland twist.

“We’ve read about Leeds bidding for Capital Culture and it’s a great project. Culture is a great way to bring new energies to a city and it is important to share it all throughout Europe and beyond. Culture needs to be shared as it get enriched by our diversity and differences.”

The forecourt of Leeds Town Hall will be the setting for the eye-catching POP, which will be brought to the city for its UK premiere by Dutch artists Blauwe Uur on October 5 and 6.

The 12 minute performance will use impressive video projections and music to make a group of mannequins come to life.

Blauwe Uur artist Andrea Dröes said: “When creating POP we wanted to show ideas that replicate, evolve and spread like memes, creating a cultural connection between people. POP is a performance about thoughts and images in our heads.

“We visited Leeds last June to do a site visit in preparation for the festival. Leeds feels like a city with a good atmosphere for cultural expression and it’s always important to exchange creative and cultural energy.”

French video mapping artists Rencontres Audiovisuelles, from Leeds’s twin city of Lille, will also be transforming The Dry Dock on Woodhouse Lane.

The former sand and gravel barge, called The Lambda, is now a popular pub and will be illuminated by the artists on October 5 and 6.

Light Night takes place ahead of Leeds officially submitting its European Capital of Culture bid on October 27.
Sharon Watson, chair of the Leeds 2023 steering group, said:

“Light Night is a truly spectacular occasion which encapsulates the artistic ingenuity and imagination that’s so imbedded in Leeds and its communities.

“As we prepare to submit our bid to be European Capital of Culture, it’s also inspiring that the programme has such a strong European dimension and that people in Leeds will have the chance experience incredible installations by artists from across the continent.

“We’re proud to be a city which embraces and celebrates cultural and creative diversity and Light Night is a shining example of that enduring spirit of inclusion and togetherness.”

This year’s Light Night Leeds will see more than 60 incredible arts events taking place across the city centre.

This year’s event will celebrate the people of Leeds, with other highlights including an illuminated parade featuring performers from Leeds West Indian Carnival and a light maze at Granary Wharf.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“Light Night Leeds is one of the biggest, best and brightest occasions on the city’s calendar, bringing together 80,000 people to experience something truly unique and unforgettable.

“It also makes a powerful statement about what the arts mean to Leeds and how much a successful bid to be European Capital of Culture has the capacity to unlock even more of the city’s vast cultural potential.”

Andrew Cooper, chief executive of LeedsBID added: “LeedsBID is delighted to be working in partnership with Leeds City Council on Light Night Leeds 2017 – an annual highlight of the cultural calendar which illuminates the city centre in spectacular fashion, with buildings, places and spaces brought to life with innovative lighting, activities and events.

“This year LeedsBID’s continued investment sees an exclusive presentation in Granary Wharf, a permanent installation on Victoria Gardens, and work with international artists to shine a giant light or two on Briggate.”

Details on more installations will be released in the coming weeks.

For more details on Light Night Leeds, including how to plan your evening, please visit: http://whatson.leeds.gov.uk/lightnight