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Irene Barberis Introduces The Tapestry of Light
Project Overview

TAPESTRY OF LIGHT is a new artwork rendered on a breathtaking, epic scale. This internationally significant work is a giant illuminated tapestry, 36 X 3 metres long, first exhibited in Brussels, April 2017.


This internationally significant work is a giant illuminated tapestry, spread across 14 panels, 36 metres long by 3 metres high, made from glowing fibres of threads and light especially constructed using nanoparticle technology developed at the RMIT Design Research Institute.


Four years in focused development and existing somewhere between art, science and design, the completed artwork is an extraordinary illuminated reimagining of the medieval Angers Tapestries of the Apocalypse, one of the only full cycles by a female artists in over 700 years!

Artist's Vision

"As we stepped into a new century, a ripple of apprehension seemed to move out around the globe. It heralded goodwill, hopes, dreams, vast increases in knowledge and technology, a new era -


I stood in front of the Angers Tapestry of the Apocalypse in France in 1998; its scale, complexity and poetry were overwhelming. In that moment I imagined a new work of art, one that would be radiant and glowing, a massive new articulation of the book of the Apocalypse also in tapestry. Something that would envelope and immerse people in light; a work which would be experienced and 'read' in multiple ways, a new uncovering of an ancient text combining lineages of tradition and contemporary cutting edge technology. The time is now here.


One could not get a more highly qualified team in the fields of Art and Science, Medieval Scholarship and Contemporary texts, and the fabricators of the Illuminated Tapestry. I hope that everyone interested can participate in some way in this project, in the artwork, publication and film."

- Irene Barberis

The interplay of colour and illumination has always been at the forefront of aesthetics and perception. This project set out to reimagine the medieval Angers Tapestries of the Apocalypse as a set of artworks through fabrication of a 36m x 3m glowing tapestry in fourteen panels, fabricated from new forms of technology in fibre and light. Repositioning of the Angers Tapestry is particularly relevant to present culture and contemporary thought. 


The completed artwork is a major 'illuminated' tapestry known as The Tapestry of Light: Intersections of Illumination.


Such an enterprise is an essential and important bank of new knowledge in the historical lineage of Apocalypse representation and understanding internationally. This work is one of the only 'known' full cycles of the Apocalypse made by a female artist for over 500 years.  


The Tapestry of Light blurs the edges between art, craft and design, intersecting with science through its materials, especially the cutting-edge Nanoparticle science in its threads. It explores new forms of tapestry that exploit current technological approaches in illumination, and as a restatement of the medieval Angers Apocalypse, interrogates ways cultures record historical context and presence over time. 


         In doing this it addresses the questions:


       How relevant is the story and images of the Apocalypse to challenges and changes in our modern society if these are transformed by new illuminating technology, especially in the context

       of a more diverse and complex society?


       Can new intersections with, for instance, feminist thought or scientific perception, open new domains of understanding through the immersive qualities of such an artwork?


       Can tapestries be made that are not only self-illuminating but that change as the external light environment changes, that is, responsive tapestries in which the perception of the images           evolves temporally to the viewer?


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