John Gerrard: Solar Reserve

About the Exhibition

Displayed on a monumental frameless LED wall on Lincoln Center’s Josie Robertson Plaza, Solar Reserve (Tonopah, Nevada) 2014 by John Gerrard is a computer simulation of an actual power plant known as a solar thermal power tower, surrounded by 10,000 mirrors that reflect sunlight upon it to heat molten salts, essentially forming a thermal battery which is used to generate electricity. Over the course of a 365-day year, the work simulates the actual movements of the sun, moon, and stars across the sky, as they would appear at the Nevada site, with the thousands of mirrors adjusting their positions in real time according to the position of the sun.

This astonishingly real virtual world is meticulously constructed by the artist, a team of modelers, and programmers, using a sophisticated video game engine. Simultaneously over a 24-hour period the point of view will cycle from ground level to a satellite view every 60 minutes, creating an elaborate choreography among perspectives, 10,000 turning mirrors, and a dramatic interplay of light and shadow.

Commuters passing by Lincoln Center on their way to work will see the sun charging the power plant as it rises in Pacific Standard Time, while visitors to evening performances might view a sunset before local Nevada constellations emerge and floodlights illuminate the solar tower at night.



Josie Robertson Plaza at Lincoln Center

"Solar Reserve" is on view in Josie Robertson Plaza at Lincoln Center on Columbus Avenue between Broadway and West 62nd Street in Manhattan's Upper West Side.

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About the Artist

Gerrard is best known for his commitment to large-scale works that take the form of real-time computer simulations, created in painstaking detail over the course of many months or years. Often exploring geographically isolated locations, as in his work for the 53rd Venice Biennale that featured large-scale projections based on documentation of the agrarian American Great Plains, the works frequently refer to structures of power and networks of energy that have made possible the expansion of human endeavor in the past century.

John Gerrard (b. 1974, Dublin, Ireland) lives and works in Dublin, Ireland and Vienna, Austria. Recent solo exhibitions of his work have been presented by Kistefos Museet, Norway (2014); Manchester International Festival, Manchester (2011); Ivorypress, Madrid (2011); Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (2011), Void Gallery, Derry, Ireland (2011); Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2010); Art on the Underground, Canary Wharf Station, London (2009 / 10); Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C. (2009); and 53rd International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, Italy (2009). In 2011, Gerrard was commissioned by the Royal Ballet to create Live Fire Exercise (in collaboration with Wayne McGregor), which premiered at The Royal Opera House, London in May 2011 to widespread acclaim. John Gerrard received a BFA from The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University (1997) and undertook postgraduate studies at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago (2000) and Trinity College, Dublin (2001). John Gerrard is represented by Thomas Dane Gallery, London, and Simon Preston Gallery, New York.