Jakob Kvist

Copenhagen, Denmark

Jakob Kvist is a Danish light artist whom with a site-specific approach works primarily with the light's analogue opportunities through the use of light filters, light fixtures and lamps. The light is developed so that the context's historicity and distinctive architectural character is accentuated, explored or challenged.

Jakob Kvist has worked with musicians such as When Saints Go Machine, Mø, Quadron, WhoMadeWho and Reptile Youth, and has previously made light installations for the Copenhagen based festivals Frost Festival and Strøm Festival, where he together with artist Mike Sheridan won the Ibyen award ’The Experience of the year' for their concert at Tietgenkollegiet in 2013. Jakob Kvist has exhibited at Vess Gallery in Copenhagen in 2014, and in Reykjavik, Iceland in 2015 with the light installation "Any Color You like".

Jakob Kvist has made the lighting design for the Royal Stage at Trailerpark Festival in 2015 together with visuals pioneers from Obscura.

Conversation with Jakob Kvist

Where are you from and where do you currently live?

I’m from a suburb to Copenhagen called Herlev. It’s a typical social democratic municipality, a mixture of row houses, villas, projects and apartments, built in the 50’s and 60’s. I recently moved north of Copenhagen with my girlfriend and my 2 year old son, where I have a small restored station house tucked in right between the forest and railway tracks. I like the the contrast between urban sprawl and the calmness of my home. I drive to Nørrebro in Copenhagen each day to work, and I can return home in the afternoon, before everything gets to hectic. Sometimes I miss the city, but mostly I enjoy the quietness of the nature and the forest in our back garden. We even spotted a dear in our garden a few weeks ago. Now it’s mostly mice, running around eating our apples and strawberries ;-)

When did you become an artist and what was your first project?  

Becoming an an artist has been more of a mental journey for me, rather than a material one. I been working with light for almost years now. I started out as light technician at clubs, theatres and event companys, setting up lights, cables, programming and taking it all down again. Real work! Later on I began to work for bands and other artists, also in interdisciplinary projects, where the light would respond to both music and architecture at the same time. In these occasions I would be referred to as a lighting designer. In the past few years I’ve started to develop light installations, for example at Trailerpark Festival. Here I would be featured as an artist, rather than a designer, or god forbid, a technician ;-) But one of the first larger installations that I’ve done, was the pavilion I did for Trailerpark Festival 2014. For this installation I worked with colored fluorescent tubes.

Did you study art in school, if so where?


What inspires you? Any particular artists?

I really like the works of american artists James Turrel and Dan Flavin. Their works are quite different, but they both have a perfect understanding of shape, simplicity and colors in their works. The most simple installations, can be the most challenging to achieve, I know that for a fact! I really admire artists who work from a dogmatic approach, which sharpens your creative thinking and output. Dan Flavin, for example, only worked with one medium of light (fluorescent tubes) throughout his whole life. Unfortunately, I’ve already skipped that mark many times ;-) Also James Turrel, who also only works with rooms and the contrast between colored light and natural light. He was recently sampled in Drakes Hotline Bling Video: http://hyperallergic.com/246789/did-drakes-new-video-get-its-bling-from-james-turrells-light-installations/

What are some of the ideas behind your work?   

Well, I try not to make interactive works, at least not in a traditional way. But I’m very much interested in a some kind of passive interaction between spectator and object. I’m very much interested in the way that objects of light can affect the spectator, and not so much the other way around. I’m very much into light sources, and have used almost every lightsource imaginable in my installations, from light bulbs, LEDs, lasers, fluorescent tubes, neons and discharge lamps. Usually my works starts with the lightsource, and after that comes the design, depending on the light source of course ;-)

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