‘Light Matter’

“Light Matter” was a commission from The Lowry to produce new work resulting from a 2-year Residency at the metal-processing factory, Magnesium Elektron, in Salford.
Jill Randall made  a new body of work celebrating process over product, and in response to the material properties, casting, and manufacturing processes of magnesium, liaising with metallurgists and working with the experimental casting foundry to recycle aircraft magnesium alloys to make new sculptural objects.
“Light Matter”, an alternative name for magnesium, the lightest of the elements in the periodic table ,was a site-specific exhibition created especially for the Deck Gallery at The Lowry, comprising 61 works in metals, steel and paper.
“Light Matter” explored the relationships between the spheres of the domestic, scientific and the magical, and used processes on material as metaphors for time. It drew parallels between home baking and alchemy, the hand made human artefact versus the manufactured and ‘perfect’, and the anarchy of useless aesthetic objects which contradict functionality.
One sculpture was a direct intervention with the fabric of the Lowry building ; another work comprised 32 plates of different metals placed at 9 locations in and around the River Irwell for 9 months and then retrieved. Another series of work recycled vintage blueprints found in an abandoned workshop and given new life as a series of objects cast in lead.
”Light Matter” developed Jill Randall’s preoccupation with revealing the secretive, closed world of the factory, and focusing on abandoned and forgotten eras, objects and places within its environment.

Funding: Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, National Lottery through Arts Council England North West, Millennium Commission, Heritage Lottery Fund, University of Salford, Magnesium Elektron.

Photography: David Bennett.

David Bennett was commissioned by the Lowry to make a digital catalogue,  “The Making of Light Matter”, documenting the process and progress of making the work for the exhibition.

The Lowry had 37,000 visitors to the exhibition, with major features on BBC Radio 4’s “Women’s Hour” (10am 23/10/03) and BBC Radio 4’s “Front Row”(7.15 7/8/03).
Listen to the recording on www.bbc.co.uk