Answering this question was the goal of ENLIGHTENMENT, an art installation at the Copenhagen International Fashion Fair Spring-Summer 2019 from 8 to 10 August. Located in the Special Project area of the Bella Center, the exhibition included works of art inspired by the power, influence, and beauty of light to raise awareness for Little Sun’s mission of spreading solar energy around the globe.
‘How can fashion and the arts shine a light on important causes?’August 2018
After our arrival in Copenhagen, we met with Stavros Karelis, the founder and buying director of MACHINE-A, who initiated the project. A few months ago, he visited the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, where Olafur had once had a solo exhibition, and came across the Little Sun lamps being sold in the museum shop. Stavros was already familiar with the project and realised it would be a perfect match for the purpose of the art installation: shining a light on the issue that access to light represents worldwide. Together with Sami Janjer, Stavros co-curated ENLIGHTENMENT under the creative direction of Kristian W. Andersen. Stavros and Sami gathered Virgil Abloh, Naomi Campbell, Peter Saville, and Nick Knight to create different artworks, each underpinned by the need to express the importance of benevolence, generosity, and humanitarianism and to empower a new generation.
As we entered the CIFF location on opening day, we first came upon Naomi Campbell’s favourite inspirational quotes designed and painted by Peter Saville Studio on blankets provided by Woolrich. Visitors could walk through the space and admire the stirring and powerful words on black and white fabric, summoning the voices of luminaries such as Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai.
Walking through the next room, we saw Nick Knight’s The Sound of Light’s Own Destruction / 2, a new short film created exclusively for the exhibition with a key focus on light. Guests were able to enter the video and sound installation and enjoy the artist’s interpretation of light.
‘As an image-maker, light is the foundation of everything I do, so I am delighted to have been asked by my friend and collaborator Stavros Karelis to create a film inspired and informed by light for CIFF. It is wonderful to be contributing to this widely international project alongside such an exciting group of creators and innovators!’ – Nick Knight
Last but not least, we arrived in the last room, starring a visually striking installation co-created by Virgil Abloh and Little Sun, including 1,000 solar lamps! People were encouraged to walk through the solar field, explore the stunning play of light and shadow, and experience the power of the sun in the darkness of the space. At the very end, the beautiful limited-edition poster Virgil designed was exhibited to raise awareness for the Little Sun project.
‘LET THERE BE LIGHT’ Little Sun c/o Virgil Abloh is available exclusively at littlesun.com/shop until 22 August. You can join the global movement by getting your very own poster. All proceeds from the posters will go towards the Little Sun project; by purchasing one, you’re making sure to provide more light where it is needed most.
At the opening on 8 August, Olafur and Naomi Campbell walked through the space, slowly revealing each collaborator’s work for the exhibition. As a special guest, Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark, joined both of them, talking about the impact of solar energy. Overall, the event was a tremendous success, and the Little Sun team has been overwhelmed by the support and the enthusiastic reactions.
We think ENLIGHTENMENT was a great example of the positive impact art and fashion can have on the world: those works of art have helped us towards our mission to spread even more clean energy throughout the world and to raise awareness for climate action. We were thrilled by the project’s creative approach, and it has been a pleasure to be part of a movement connecting people worldwide through art, fashion, and solar energy.
We would like to give a big thank you to everyone involved in this project. Their devotion and positive spirit made ENLIGHTENMENT a great accomplishment, and we hope to keep spreading solar love across the globe together!
Video credits: SHOWstudio, Nick Knight
To see more pictures and videos of the event, visit SHOWstudio’s website.