A pilgrimage to the Lightning Fields Page
Overview of Voyage D'etudes
Janina Joffe is the founder of East of Mayfair , an online destination for art and design shopping. A gallery concept she explains is aiming to set the precedent that “Art collecting does not need to be complicated, pretentious or expensive.” She works internationally with emerging and established artists to source and produce affordable and beautiful works of art for collectors worldwide. The East of Mayfair site has been conceived as an artwork in its own right and created in collaboration with renowned illustrators Pierre Le-Tan and Thibaud Hérem. It takes the form of a virtual Georgian townhouse with six rooms, which are regularly curated by her to sell paintings, drawings, photographs, and prints “off the (digital) wall” of each unique room.
The american conceptual artist Walter de Maria died in July 2013 at the age of 77. Our long scheduled trip to his monumental work The Lightning Field was booked for one month later. The Lightning Field is a work of Land Art commissioned by the Dia Art Foundation in 1977. It is situated in a remote area of the high desert of western New Mexico and consists of 400 polished stainless steel poles installed in a grid measuring one mile by one kilometer. All visitors spend one night in a small cabin at the installation and under certain rare conditions lightning converges on the poles in a unique display. Witnessing this is not, however, essential to experiencing the installation in full effect. I have often thought that museums and art exhibitions are a modern day, middle class equivalent of churches and destinations of pilgrimage. Today, both believers and the agnostic worship and ponder in silence in the echoing halls of cultural institutions. They congregate at gallery openings, in the packed aisles of art fairs and wait in endless lines to view priceless works of art in blockbuster exhibitions worldwide. Although I avoid these queues as best I can, I do find myself joining many people in feeling compelled to visit certain artworks and shows. In light of Walter de Maria’s recent death, it seems almost necessary to make my way to his most famous artwork.