Levitated Light

Levitated Light

Dale Eldred

About the artwork

Dale Eldred

Levitated Light, 1986

Clear lexan, Mylar diffraction tape, and stainless steel

Located in Lincoln Hall, suspended near the windows in LH355 dance studio overlooking Broadway

Levitated Light is a "light sculpture" composed of 450 "diffraction elements" of clear polycarbonate and Mylar. The suspended structure is designed so that the elements rock slightly forward and backward with the room's air currents, returning always to their upright angle of repose. The reflecting elements appear to levitate in the space, and respond spectrally to light striking their diffraction surfaces. In the morning, from the east-facing windows, the source of this light is the sun. Sunlight is literally shattered on impact with this surface, fragmented into the component wavelengths of real radiant color—the complete visible spectrums of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. On cloudy days, and in the afternoon and evening, illumination comes from directed interior lighting.

About the artist

Dale Eldred (1933–1993) was an American sculptor born in Minneapolis, MN, renowned for large-scale sculptures that emphasize both natural and generated light. He served as faculty and Chair of Sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute for 33 years. He said of his work, "What is important is not the structures themselves, but the phenomenon which takes place on their surfaces. The materials are merely devices, tools used to break up the light and expose its properties.”


This work was acquired through Oregon's Percent for Art in Public Places Program, managed by the Oregon Arts Commission.

Banner image: Photo by Simon Peter.