At Sadie Coles HQ, artists bring a playful sensuality to lamps

Sadie Coles HQ’s ‘Shine On’ exhibition in London features sculptural lighting by Sarah Lucas, Urs Fischer, and more (until 27 April 2024)

Sadie Coles HQ Shine On lighting exhibition
Installation view, ‘Shine On’, Sadie Coles HQ
(Image credit: Courtesy of the artists' and Sadie Coles HQ)

Sadie Coles HQ illuminates London’s Davies Street with its exhibition of sculptural lighting, ‘Shine On’. Artists including Sarah Lucas, Urs Fischer and Alex Da Corte have crafted a series of lights that are playfully displayed as a lamp supply shop within the window of the gallery.

The inspiration for the show stems from Alex Da Corte’s The Last House on The Left (2022), which references a playful mural on the windowless exterior of Jo Skymer Lighting, a store in Pennsauken, New Jersey, that has since been painted over, but served as an advertisement for domestic lamps. 

Sadie Coles HQ’s ‘Shine On’

Exterior view of Sadie Coles HQ

Installation view, ‘Shine On’, Sadie Coles HQ, London

(Image credit: © The Artist/s. Courtesy the Artist/s and Sadie Coles HQ, London. Photo: Katie Morrison)

‘We all need lights and you can’t avoid the allegorical possibilities they offer,' says gallery founder Sadie Coles. ‘Domestic objects like chairs and tables relate directly to the body, and lights are figurative or gestural appendages too. Artists exaggerate all the possibilities of interpretation, but somehow stay within their own sculptural language, and there is a sense of play or experiment within the show that is a lot of fun.’

Lit up chandelier

Jorge Pardo, Untitled, 2017, 3mm coloured PETG, aluminium and steel fixtures

(Image credit: © Jorge Pardo. Courtesy the Artist and Victoria Miro)

The collection includes a variety of playful and practical lamps, yet they all encompass sculptural forms. A household object is transformed into an eye-catching, sensual item. ‘I think light is always sensual, suggestive, embracing. Illumination is always positive. Our eyes are drawn to it immediately. On a practical level, as Sarah Lucas says, self-illuminating artworks have the added benefit of needing no lighting,’ says Coles.

The exhibition challenges conventional design, and evokes themes that nod to architecture, the human form, and the natural world.

Smiling and frowning faces on colourful ball-shaped lamps

Alex Da Corte, Afterparty (New Year's Eve), 2023, Ikea ‘Fado’ lamps, party bulbs, vinyl decals, power strip, plastic. Dimensions variable

(Image credit: © Alex Da Corte. Courtesy the Artist and Sadie Coles HQ, London. Photo: Katie Morrison)

Martin Boyce’s A Forest (I) (2009) is from a series based on photographs of the Concrete Trees created in 1925 by brothers Joël and Jan Martel. Suspended in mid-air, Sarah Lucas’ Mary (2012) is shaped as a female body from found objects. Early work from Urs Fischer, Clouds (2002), features soft forms with pink hues. A heart-shaped chandelier with hanging lava lamps is a new work from Catharine Czudej, while Alex Da Corte’s mural painting, The House on the Left (2022), which inspired the show, unites consumer culture with modern design.

Hand holding a light

Cary Kwok, Arrival (Jazz), 2017, bronze, wax, chrome, resin, stainless steel and lamp wiring

(Image credit: © Cary Kwok. Courtesy the Artist and Herald St., London. Photo: Andy Keate)

The gallery also showcases work from Cerith Wyn Evans, Peter Fischli, Gelatin, Isa Genzken, Max Hooper Schneider, Martin Kippenberger, Cary Kwok, Jim Lambie, Kaspar Müller, Paulina Olowska and Jessica Segall, Jorge Pardo, Jessi Reaves, Franz West, Fred Wilson, and Anicka Yi.

Coles has considered expanding the lamp collection in the future, telling Wallpaper*: ’I want them all. I will have to get a bigger house. One could also do this show again because there are many artists missing: David Hammons, Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Alina Szapocznikow, to mention some great examples.’

coat hanger with light bulbs and red sphere

Sarah Lucas, Mary, 2012,bucket, hanger, lightbulbs, cable, wire

(Image credit: © Sarah Lucas. Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London)

black chandelier

Fred Wilson,Oh! Monstruosa Culpa!, 2013, Murano glass and light bulbs

(Image credit: © Fred Wilson. Courtesy Pace Gallery)

chandelier with chains draping the floor

Paulina Olowska and Jessica Segall, Electrical Vegetables Chandelier, 2023, metal chandelier and vegetable ceramics

(Image credit: © Paulina Olowska and Jessica Segall. Courtesy Pace Gallery)

lamp with a long brown base and white shade

Gelatin, GELATINARCHIV 2366, 2023, wood, plaster, lightbulb

(Image credit: © Gelatin. Courtesy the Artist. Photo: Arthur Gray)

'Shine On' at Sadie Coles HQ runs until 27 April 2024 at 1 Davies Street W1, London

Tianna Williams is the Editorial Executive at Wallpaper*. Before joining the team in 2023, Williams taught scuba diving for three years before heading into journalism. Previously she has been involved covering social media and editorial for BBC Wales, Ford UK, SurfGirl Magazine, and Parisian Vibe, while also completing an MA in Magazine Journalism at Cardiff University. Her work covers writing across varying content pillars for Wallpaper*.