Experience the world of ‘Beyond’ at 15th annual PULSE Art + Technology Festival

Greg Finger, Zhou Fan, Beyond Tomorrow, 2022, interactive video, projector, Kinect

The Telfair Muesums’ annual PULSE Art + Technology Festival returns to the Jepson Center for its 15th year with two exhibitions exploring illusion and introspective functions of technology in art. 

The exhibitions will open to the public on January 13 but organizers say all of the planned in-person programing has been postponed to the first week of March due to covid precautions.

“I really hope that we can do these programs in person. That is the reason for postponing, because we really have some great things planned and we want to be able to offer them the way that we intended to,” said Harry DeLorme, the Telfair Museums’senior curator and director of education.

PULSE is organized by Telfair Museums and curated by DeLorme. DeLorme is grateful for the investment provided by the City of Savannah and the Georgia Council for the Art which makes this programing possible. DeLorne revealed this year’s theme is “Beyond.”

“We used the theme ‘Beyond’ because we all want to try to envision a place beyond the pandemic and the other challenges we’ve been living through lately. We are hitting that theme of looking beyond in a lot of different ways,” said DeLorme. 

The exhibition Chul-Hyun Ahn: Beyond focuses on the illusionistic light sculpture of Baltimore-based artist Chul-Hyun Ahn, whose work invites viewers into contemplative infinite spaces. 

Ahn’s pieces are light boxes made from LEDs, one-way mirrors, and sculptural materials create the suggestion of infinite space, whether the illusion of a railroad track curving into the darkness or geometric abstractions in vibrant color.

“Chul-Hyun Ahn makes these incredible Infinity mirrors, but that’s really kind of not doing them just as they are these light sculptures that have this really incredible illusionistic quality to them, and it’s really hard to get them from a photograph. You have to actually walk past them and see what they do because they’re just amazing,” said DeLorme describing Ahn’s work.

“At the root, my art is about space,” said Ahn. “Without light, the space was not visible, so I brought light to my artworks so people would experience a sense of deeper space in the direction of the fading light.”

Zen Buddhism is also reflected in Ahn’s work providing otherworldly experiences that connect to the spiritual as well as the language and history of abstraction.

“Some of his work looks like endless tunnels, or like you’re looking down a railroad track into the distance or looking down this kind of endless illusion. It is something people of all ages will enough,” said DeLorme.

Complementing Chul-Hyun Ahn’s work Telfair Museums presents installations by artists exploring light, space and illusion in videos and installations with and without physical elements. This installation is called Beyond: Light, Color, and Illusion.

“We’ve got a variety of different artists. Some are from out of Savannah, one from Florida, one from Brooklyn and we’ve even got international artist participating,” said DeLorme.

The complementing installation features Ryan Buyssens’ prismatic light sculpture Chromatica, Aidan Lincoln Fowler’s video infinity mirror, and video sculptures and other works by artists including Max Almy, Teri Yarbrow, Greg Finger, Zhou Fan, Kelley McClung, Guanzhi Kou, and Skye Hu.

Greg Finger is a local artist who created work about eradicating covid.  Chinese artist Zhou Fan created a game-like interactive video installation in which participants can unpack “worlds” that look like Buddhist prayer wheels and then use their hands to wipe covid off the planet.

DeLorme hopes to give audiences a virtual tour of the exhibitions in late January. Chul-Hyun Ahn: Beyond and Beyond: Light, Color, and Illusion will be up in the Jepson Center until August 7.  

All PULSE programs are free admission thanks to investment by the City of Savannah, and by the Georgia Council for the Arts.

For more info about Telfair’s annual PULSE Art + Technology Festival visit telfair.org