Acrylic Painted Cardboard and Lamp

The lamp along the lamp shade was part of an installation art project the art students and I completed at school. The theme of the installation art was “The Natural and the Artificial” – which explain why there was a massive pool of dried leaves to the left and some stuck onto the wall. As for the balloons – I forgot why there were there in the first place.

The lampshade was to reflect the artificial side of theme in the installation. The piece was partly influenced by Julie Mehretu’s work, Excerpt (suprematist evation).


From her piece of abstract art, we can see there’s a lot going on: lines and different shapes of different colours and tone flying in one direction. The background is filled with two dimensional negative spaces; line drawings clustering into a cloud of ink, etc. I thought this was quite suitable for the theme as the image portrayed is no where natural, hence artificial.

Taking the formal elements Mehretu has used, the colours chosen to paint the cardboard are mainly primary or secondary colours and all of them shaped as quadrilaterals. To increase the complexity, negative spaces were given to cardboard pieces, referencing the background, by cutting them so that they are quadrilateral-shaped – mainly trapeziums. My comrade and I managed to place the structure together with the glue gun after we realised that cutting slots on them didn’t really work that well. Finally we used strips of leftover cardboard that resemble the flying strips of colours and simply had them twirling around the sculpture.

Here is the lampshade when we just finished it:


My favourite feature of this piece is the use of lighting and its effect on the lampshade. The light source is strategically placed within the structure so that light travel from within out to all the corners of the installation. I like how the shadows created from the lampshade is projected onto different surfaces of the installation – how the light travels through the holes and projects the negative space of the lampshade everywhere and having them overlapping each other, which is far more interesting than the average lamp.

If I were given a chance to do something similar, perhaps I could include different coloured light bulbs or an even more unusual shaped lamp post to work on. Lampshade-wise may be I could use acrylic (make sure the bulbs won’t melt it) and have the shapes laser-cut. It might be interesting to do use green acrylic sheets of different tones to make a lampshade that might resemble a Christmas tree and decorate it with tinsel, ornaments and lights.


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