Light Journal

Nationale May 15 - June 26, 2020


Amongst the painful circumstances and uncertainty keeping our city and our world sheltered in place, Francesca Capone’s most recent body of work, Light Journal, is intended to give the local community a temporary place for respite and hope. Exhibited in the windows at Nationale—which, as a non-essential business, has been closed since March 14—the show will light up for a few hours nightly starting before dusk. It is presented with an urgency and provides a warm calming glow, an invitation to be present, and a visual reprieve for passersby to see and experience at a distance.  


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Handling soft light conducting tubes as she would fiber, Capone’s new body of work considers luminous exposure as a salve for our disquieted and disrupted present. The window installation Light Journal presents three new works from a larger series, developed alongside a daily practice of recording fleeting and ever-changing atmospheric phenomena in writing. Adapting her text- and textile-based practice to new media, Capone gives material form to light, producing a haptic and contemplative encounter with illumination.


Waning Moon and Moon Fullness, Foggy Halo (both 2020) weave light into loose matrices whose compositions reflect the limitations of the medium: the strips of LED are pliable to a point and they are carefully enfolded within the weave to preserve their integrity. The irregular, whimsical warp and weft form a gridded network of horizontal and vertical lines; their sinuous, curved endings begin new over- and under-passes that frame the negative space within the grid. The works, when illuminated with a warm, golden glow, call attention to themselves and to shifting modulations and intensities along the light lines, but also to the spatial surround, the interstices and absences of a supporting wall, which is endowed with a new function as the site of projection—a host to the light’s haloed and shadowy reflection.


Sky Net (2020) is modelled differently, its schema echoing a fisher’s netting pattern. Variation in the net is introduced by the glow in the dark paracord which knots the thick meshing together at regular intervals. At rest, when the LED is turned off, the paracord emits most vividly, producing strings of horizontal filament across the work and glowing constellations from the dotted knotting. When the work is activated, on the other hand, it conducts pale blue light through its plastic sheathing, while the paracord now goes unremarked, other than as interruption or absence. Whether in the net or the weave, the alternation in states of being and the reversibility of line and space expand the senses and their material referent. Capone’s works encode more than light—they conduct perception toward a momentary reprieve. 


—Rachel Valinsky


Photography by Mario Gallucci

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