Umbra, l’obscurité et l’absence de lumière

Pavitra Wickramasinghe

Installation, 2024

For the eleventh edition of the winter biennial, Avatar is partnering with Manif d’art and the Grand Théâtre de Québec to co-produce and co-disseminate Umbra, l’obscurité et l’absence de lumière by Pavitra Wickramasinghe. The work is presented at STUDIOTELUS from February 28 to May 28, 2024.

Bearing forms similar to kites, three giant mobiles hang and rotate above our heads in the vast space of STUDIOTELUS. Thanks to directional lighting, the moving sculptures take on an unexpected dimension, composing a shimmering play of shadow and light on the surrounding surfaces.

The term “umbra” refers to the blackest part of a shadow cast by an opaque object. With this kinetic installation, Wickramasinghe explores the relationship between darkness and light and its effect on our perceptions. The artist wishes to shift away from negative ideas of the dark by revealing its redemptive and transformative qualities.

Motors slowly turn the three mobiles—whose rigid frames are covered with dichroic film, a kind of translucent polyester film that can change colour and create different reflections depending on the lighting conditions and viewing angles—creating shadowy silhouettes of translucent colours and shimmering reflections that expand and disappear on the four storeys overlooking the space.

In line with this year’s theme of Manif d’art – The Quebec City Biennial, The Strength of Sleep, the Cohabitations of All the Living, and inspired by the darkness of winter and the pace imposed on humans and nature by the longest nights of the year, the work evokes the regenerative potential of the cold season. Through its forms, reflections, and rhythm, it recalls a childhood world marked by games, dreams, and peaceful sleep.

Ethereal and monumental all at once, Umbra, l’obscurité et l’absence de lumière combines the real world with that of dreams, inviting viewers to pause in wonderment and enjoy a moment of rest and contemplation.



Concept and creation: Pavitra Wickramasinghe

Curator of Art and Technology – Grand Théâtre de Québec: Ariane Plante

Co-produced and co-disseminated by Grand Théâtre de Québec, Avatar, and Manif d’art 11 – The Quebec City Biennial

Photo credit: Vincent Drouin – Le Grand Théâtre de Québec

Opening dates and hours
February 28 to May 28, 2024
Free entrance:
Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. for everyone
During shows for ticket holders

Vernissage February 28

Grand Théâtre de Québec
269, boulevard René-Lévesque Est
Québec (Québec) G1R 2B3

Pavitra Wickramasinghe

Pavitra Wickramasinghe is interested in the conventions of the gaze and new ways of conceiving the moving image. Her current work explores travel, the fluidity of place and memory. She uses light and shadow as extensions of the projected image to create installations where the viewer, instead of observing the work from the outside, occupies a cinematic space within it. His work has been exhibited at Fondation PHI pour l’art contemporain (Montreal), OBORO (Montreal), Kunst Kraft Werk (Germany), Galerie Leonard et Bina Ellen (Montreal), Yeosu International Art Festival (South Korea), Centre des arts Enghien-les-Bains (France), Cable Factory (Finland), Centro Cultural del Matadero (Spain) and Galerie B-312 (Montreal), among others.

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