By IRIS CONLAY
TPto now paintings have to still, with the artist endeavouring to catch the disappearing moment and pin time down for ever. Some years ago sculpture escaped, by way of the mobile, from the static. The mobile has now sunk down to Christmas cards and advertising in the grocery store, but is important. nevertheless.
With John Healey's 'luminous pictures' and something called 'programmed art' front a group of artists front Padua and Milan. wall decoration is now definitely on the move too. And curiously enough some of the movement from the Italian group is not unlike the whirligig advertising contraptions seeti in the grocer's shop-window.
And that is where the difficulty is going to arise with these new forms of art. So easily technical fascination can eclipse aesthetic judgment and before long awful little constructions, trivial or boring, will be churned out by craftsmen who will be able to invent new cliches faster than the artist can build imaginative works of art.
Probably Giotto thought this kind of thought when hc broke the first kind of static barrier and replaced the stiffness of the Byzantine world with the illusion of reality. It is a pity to dBell too long on this aspect because these ncw experiments at the Royal College of Art have immense potentialities and some of thorn for the church.
What IS *a luminous picture'. As seen now it looks like a black box
with a screen through which shine moving coloured images. The viewer sits in a darkened room entranced by wavering forms which swell and dissolve and mix and disappear. The colours, so far, are still a little obvious and the effects tend to resemble the kind of sunsets Turner wished he'd seen, but the possibilities—abstract or represen
tational -as-e ithout limit.
Sir Hugh Casson, introducing this revolutionary new form, (which incidentally (tees as much to its technical adviser, P. A. H. Elliot and its engineers, Jack Barden and Cyril Rollins. as to its artist) describes its uses "to stimulate or to soothe, to beguile or to inspire".
"The images" he says, "can be projected to virtually any size almost over any surface—as small as a post card or as large as the side of a sky-scraper. Imagine the spectacular possibilities of colourimages projected upon floating screens moored on gala evenings off a seaside promenade, playing on fountains. in parks or private gardens, reflected in water or transforming the banal facades or urban entertainment centres, or even on suitable occasions upon a snowscape, a cliff face or a cloud.
"Orthodox flood lighting and conventional sky-signs have remained too long the same. Here is a new technique to challenge the field."
Here, too, is a technique for churches to challenge stained glass, to animate Stations or the Cross. Can any architect resist investigating its possibilities? 1 he Royal College would co-operate