Parasolstice Winter Light 2011 – James Yamada

23 November 2011 - 18 March 2012

On 22 November 2011, Parasol unit will unveil the first artwork in its Parasolstice – Winter Light series of outdoor projects to be realised by various international artists, each of whom creates sculptural works that address the phenomenon of light. The works will be exhibited throughout the winter months in the foundation’s outdoor space, which will be open to the public free of charge. When invited to collaborate on the first project, American artist James Yamada created a dramatic installation entitled The summer shelter retreats darkly among the trees.

The aluminium structure of Yamada’s installation both shelters visitors from bad weather and offers them some privacy. Integrated into its rooftop are 28 light elements at 10,000 lux, which is the sunlight-mimicking intensity referred to as ‘full spectrum light’. This is the light commonly used in light therapy to treat the symptoms of SAD (seasonal affective disorder). First identified in 1984, SAD affects people in various regions of the world where, especially during the winter months, a lack of sunlight can cause depression, loss of energy and sleep deprivation. Exposing an individual to certain wavelengths of full spectrum light is recognised by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to be a highly beneficial treatment for SAD. The focus of The summer shelter retreats darkly among the trees is to involve visitors in an uplifting and insightful experience. During the darkest months of the year, they are encouraged to enjoy the benefits of exposure to bright light.

James Yamada has forged a reputation for making ingenious constructions that create encounters between nature and technology. In The summer shelter retreats darkly among the trees the artist highlights how recent technology benefits mankind by helping to prevent illness. The issue of satisfying human interest in and dependency on technology is all-pervasive in Yamada’s work and epitomised in The summer shelter retreats darkly among the trees.


The exhibition is generously supported by Arts Council England.

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