Matthew Schreiber

After your Fine Arts Degree in Painting, you choose to continue exploring laser light, and in particular holograms. Which aspects about manipulating light are fascinating you? 

Light is the material of vision. As a painter I want to know how I see. Not just the structure of our eye, not just the structure of light, but also the structure of how we perceive this small sliver of the electromagnetic spectrum.

You invite the viewer to get physically involved and perceive your work from different angles. You are changing the way a viewer witness an installation. How do you manage to activate the audience senses? 

I allow the audience to build their own experience by the static and silent quality of most of my installation. This way I am not controlling time. This method creates focus and meditation.

The intrinsic fusion of science and art allows you to make the immaterial to appear tangible. Can you introduce us to the technical process behind this concept? 

Technically most of my work just involves focused light and the use of atmospheric haze. This is a theatrical effect that is very commonly used. It’s the context of my installations that help the audience focus the materiality of the work. 

Give us please your personal definition of illusion.  

I am interested in illusion for its often-misused power to distract. I am interested in framing spectacle.  

For a long period you worked as a light expert for the master, James Turrell. What imprint has left this experience in your life and career? 

I worked with James Turrell for nearly a third of my life. I travelled the world, honed my skills, met amazing people and worked with some of the greatest art institutions. It was amazing.   

In one of past interviews you stated that you spent hundreds of hours of conversation in the dark with James talking about light. It is a nice visually metaphor. How light and dark are linked in your installations? 

The basic starting point to manipulate light is with darkness.   

During the creative process, from the concept to the final work, the artists pass through a wide range of feelings. What creating makes you prove? 

I make work to see something I start with as a feeling. Almost like sound.  

What stimulates your creativity? 

Quiet, family, science, death, history, the last work, the last show informs the next.

You are one of the first artists to start studying holograms about three decades ago. How do you perceive the art scene changed during the years? 

In terms of the medium of holography the amount of people doing it has drastically reduced. But there still is a core of really great artists making holograms! 

“The artist is always beginning. Any work of art which is not a beginning, an invention, a discovery is of little worth”, wrote the great poet Ezra Pound. To what extent does Art prepare society for the future? Is the role of artist spurring development? 

I think I have heard the quote somewhere that “art is a monument to the future”. I like that.  

Today art is turning into a sort of investment with fairs, auctions and galleries dictating many of rules in the system. Do you think art, by becoming too commercialised, will lose its true essence in the future? 

It is a problem right now. I have also heard the term, “Fair Fatigue”. I get a sense it’s already changing where the obvious commodity nature of art is not very interesting anymore or is running out of steam. I also think that these things move in cycles and waves.  

Ask us a question. 

Can you see a difference between art that is related to science, versus art that is related to technology? What examples can you think of?

All images, courtesy of Matthew Schreiber