Lighting up Leeds with European style

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The city’s cultural offering will be under the spotlight - quite literally - as the theme for this year’s Light Night is revealed.

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

The ‘piece de resistance’ will see French artists TILT install a series of giant, 12 foot tall lamps on Briggate. When spectators look at the lights, their interpretation is changed totally and given a bit of a fairytale twist.

The studio’s work explores light and how it interacts with art, architecture and space and inspired by architect lamps, their huge structures will be in place on both October 5 and 6 .

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 gets enriched by our diversity and differences.”

Another highlight is set to be projected over the forecourt of Leeds Town Hall, which will be the setting for the eye-catching POP, brought to the city for its UK premiere by Dutch artists Blauwe Uur.

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

Artist Andrea Dröes said: “When creating POP we wanted to show ideas that replicate, evolve and spread 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 will also be transforming The Dry Dock on Woodhouse Lane.

The former sand and gravel barge, The Lambda, now a pub, will be illuminated by artists from Leeds’ twin city of Lille. In total there are more than 60 events across the city centre, including an illuminated parade from Leeds West Indian Carnival and a light maze at Granary Wharf.

Leeds will officially submit its European Capital of Culture bid on October 27 and Light Night is being held in partnership with the council and Leeds BID.

Sharon Watson, chair of the Leeds 2023 steering group, said: “Light Night is a 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 inspiring the programme has such a strong European dimension and people in Leeds will 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.”

Martin Fisher

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