United Illuminations

Moritz Waldemeyer sculpts with light

Text by Henrietta Thompson

Tank _vol 7issue 14

Still from Mercedes-Benz CLS Showcase (2011) courtsey Moritz Waldermeyer 


Moritz Waldemeyer sketches with LEDs and microchips as if they were any other material in an artist’s palette, and his elegant ways with lasers have helped many a star, from Kylie to Bono, shine brighter on stage and screen. Long interested in painting with light using long-exposure photography, Waldemeyer is now exploring an even more impressive technique: sculpting with light. The idea was born out of a performance he worked on in Beijing, in which he equipped kung-fu artists with lightsabres. “You can see an image in the air when these are moved very quickly,” he explains. “I wanted to take that further, to the next level, using more than one camera, all shooting on long exposure at the same time.” First revealed in Mercedes-Benz’ new advertising campaign, and then in a video for pop singer Ellie Goulding, Waldemeyer’s technique creates a sort of three-dimensional sculpture that other things, and people, can move through. For Mercedes, he called upon his kung fu-fighting friends again. “It opened up a new world for me, seeing this group of people being so creative with their body motion,” he says. For Goulding, he developed very different effects: compact patterns ebb and flow around her as she dances. Now, Waldemeyer is keen to develop the technique further – perhaps branching out into a range of hi-tech weaponry. “The technologies that have emerged over the last ten years or so, with LEDs and microchips in particular, offer so many new artistic possibilities and creative freedom, which surprisingly few people are really exploiting,” he says. “It’s very exciting to imagine where we could go with this, given the right opportunities.” §