SpY’s CONES installation at Ghent University’s Aula Academia is a captivating and unconventional artwork that subverts the solemnity of the historic architecture with a thornily subversive aesthetic. Consisting of 11,984 luminous traffic cones, the artwork transforms the city of Ghent into an ethereal orange glow during the sixth edition of the Lichtfestival Ghent.
By day, the stark orange intervention boldly captures the attention of passersby, enveloping the neoclassical columns in an unexpected and intriguing manner. The juxtaposition of the mundane traffic cone and the grandeur of the historic building creates a powerful visual impact that challenges assumptions and expectations.
However, it is at night when CONES truly comes to life. The luminous traffic cones illuminate the Voldersstraat, enveloping the surroundings in a warm blanket of light. This transformation of the urban space creates an immersive visual spectacle that mesmerizes viewers and invites them to see the familiar in a new and enchanting way.
SpY‘s choice to work with the traffic cone as a symbolic urban element adds an extra layer of meaning to the installation. Traditionally associated with road construction and temporary barriers, the traffic cone is reimagined here as an object of beauty and intrigue. By appropriating this everyday object, SpY challenges our preconceptions and forces us to engage in a new dialogue with our surroundings.
CONES casts new perspectives on the Aula Academia building, inviting viewers to see it in a fresh and unexpected light. Through this thorny intervention, SpY disrupts the assumed solemnity of the architecture, inviting playful encounters and highlighting the potential for transformation within urban spaces.
SpY’s CONES installation at Ghent University is a testament to the power of art to challenge, engage, and transform. By reimagining the traffic cone as an art object and enveloping the historic columns in luminous orange, SpY creates a visually striking and thought-provoking experience for viewers. This artwork reminds us of the inherent beauty and potential for transformation that lies within our everyday surroundings, encouraging us to question our assumptions and embrace new perspectives.
The light festival will take place from January 31 to Feburary 4, 2024, CONES takes its place among the various luminous offerings by Charles Pétillon, Benedikt Tolar, Atelier Sisu, and more.