I am interested in the architectural process, and my installation work is always a response to the site. I enjoy taking the measure and feel of a space, creating a design that complements its surroundings, so that it becomes an integral part of the whole.
Materials themselves and their properties inspire and inform my work and I first discovered fibre optic cable in 1994, using it for two pieces in my degree show the following year entitled 'lifeline' and 'communication'.
The use of fibre optics in communication and the ever increasing amount of data transmitted has fundamentally changed the way we live, and we are processing more and more information in our daily lives.
The possibility of 'bending' light and transporting it safely through water, which fibre optic cable can do, I found intriguing, and I have used these properties for several installations.
In addition the play and movement of light in nature is often inspiring. It was the translucence of leaves lit by by sunlight that generated the idea for my mobile installation 'flight' made of transparent acrylic that channels light, casting coloured shadows.
Alongside this work I have been continuing my interest in drawing and printmaking
2015 Trip The Light, Arthouse1, London. Duo exhibition with Amy Petra Woodward
2015 Fabrication of sculpture for private client Paris
2013 Neon installation for private client Bayswater London
2012 Life Drawing exhibition Royal Academy Life room
2010 Life Drawing exhibition Royal Academy Life room
2007 Agora surface design for the John Madejski Academy for Wilkinson Eyre Architects
2003 Sculptural canopies for Land Securities at the Empress State Building Earls court for Wilkinson Eyre Architects
2003 'Conversation piece' acrylic light installation for Vodafone HQ Newbury Berkshire, architects Fletcher Priest
2002 'Lightnet' fibre optic installation for Pfizer at Walton Oaks, Surrey, architects Shepherd Robson
2002 'Lghtspiral' titanium and acrylic light installation for Pfizer HQ Sandwich Kent
2002 'Satellites' acrylic and aluminium installation for BT Bristol
2001 'Mobiles @ the millennium' installations at the Corn Exchange Bristol
2001 'Fresh air' sculpture exhibition Quenington Gloucestershire
2000 Fibre optic light net temporary exhibit on canal at Gloucester Avenue London
2000 'Lightweb' fibre optic installation at Henley Festival
1999 'Lightreeds' commission for private clients Cookham Dean Berkshire
1999 'Mobilization' exhibition Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester
1999 Mobiles for Camberwell Arts Week
1999 'Mobiles @ the RIBA' London
1999 'Flight' acrylic mobile installation Rotunda and Grid at Heron Quay Canary Wharf, Canary Wharf
1998 'Lightreeds' installation for Sir James Dyson HQ Malmesbury Wiltshire
1997 'On the loose' group show at Cable Street Gallery London
1995 BA Joint Honours Camberwell College of Art and Design London
Diana Edmunds lives and works in London. Since graduating form Camberwell College of Arts in 1995 she has undertaken many site specific installations. Clients include Sir James Dyson, Land Securities, Fletcher Priest, Shepherd Robson , BT and Pfizer, as well as numerous private clients.
If this is someting you are interested in discussing, please feel free to contact me by phone or by email.
A PERSONAL VIEW : Text by Graham Anthony
What do you do after a career as a successful international model; running a home and bringing up two young children?
Answer. If you are Diana Edmunds, you become a successful artist.
In 1991, Diana left the catwalk to embark on a new venture and enrolled at Camberwell College of Arts to do a Foundation course. With an interest in ceramics, she went on to complete her joint honours degree in ceramics and sculpture in 1995.
It was during that time she also became interested in the use of light as a medium for her work and created , using fibre optics, a striking model based on Foucault’s pendulum, hanging four floors in the stairwell of the college staircase as part of her degree show. For her ceramics part of the show, she used a combination of fibreglass and porcelain, which allowed light to pass through the forms, creating the ambivalence of a material normally associated with solidity, being light transparent.
The first major work of Diana’s that I saw was a fibre optic light net at Heron Quay, Canary Wharf in 1999.
I remember standing on the quay as dusk descended and seeing this diaphanous net of shimmering light reflecting on the water. Diana said later “Apparently this was exactly the same shape as the nets the fishermen used to use there years ago, though I confess I only found this out when I was installing it.”
It was an image that stayed with me for many years . So much so, that when I completed the European Headquarters building for Pfizer at Walton Oaks Surrey, I knew I wanted Diana to design a light sculpture for the building.
Pfizer had an enlightened policy regarding art in their buildings as being important and under the guidance of Mary Ann Prior, their art consultant, commissioned various artists to provide artworks. Diana was commissioned to design a light sculpture to sit in the lake immediately in front of the building.
Two slim stainless steel masts forming a V, captured the two corners of the light net as it was supported above the water, allowing the remainder to slide gracefully into the lake. It was in a very prominent position, seen from the bridge crossing the lake to the main entrance. Like a lot of Diana’s work, it commands attention and respect not aggressively but by complementing its setting.
This was my first collaboration with Diana and it was a delight.
I discovered in sculpture, as indeed in architecture, that the simplicity of the concept totally belies the effort required to make it so. The attention to detail from the design of the masts to the numerous models and sketches required to get the exact drape of the net right was both labour intensive and a necessary part of the design process.
The art works in the building were awarded the ‘Art and Work Award 2002’.
I also learnt from collaborating with Diana that working with fibre optics as well as other light sources, like neon, is extremely technical. Understanding their limitations, of which there are many, and not allowing that to compromise the design, is essential.
Diana works comfortably with specialists in these fields, which ensures that the balance between the two is always maintained.
Her project for a private client at a Georgian house in Bayswater was a case in point. She was asked to design a light sculpture to be mounted on a brick wall of a Mews house that was separated from the main house by a patio. The sculpture needed to be large but relatively shallow as the size of the patio was quite modest. She agonized for some time about what the light source should be, and eventually chose neon. The sculpture was two complex angular lines of light in different colours, each twisting away from the wall. Proportionally, the tubes needed to be thin and supporting them became a major consideration in the design, particularly when they were away from the brickwork. Neon gave Diana the powerful colours she was looking for and the overall effect is stunning.
Our latest venture, for the same client, is for a sculpture on the seventh floor garden terrace in Paris overlooking the Seine and the Eiffel tower. Made this time in stainless steel, it is called ‘Gingko’. It has two intertwined leaf forms with one side of the leaf polished stainless steel and the other side matt.
Here the strength of the composition relies, not on an artificial light source, but the changing nature of natural light reflecting on the two different surfaces and the way that changes with the form. In the evening the piece is lit simply from small recessed uplighters set in the marble base.
I have primarily concentrated on the collaborative projects done with Diana because it gave me a valuable insight into the way she works, but this in no way represents the wide range of materials and ideas that have been used in her other numerous commissions. For example, her interest in mobiles for ‘Mobilization’ exhibition at the Whitworth Art gallery Manchester and ‘Mobiles’ at the millennium installations at the Corn Exchange Leeds.
She has also worked extensively with acrylic. Drawn to the way light passes through it and its seductive range of colours, she has created several installations such as ‘Flight’ acrylic mobile installation at the Rotunda Canary Wharf, ‘Satellites’, an acrylic and aluminium installation for BT Bristol, and ‘Conversation piece’ an acrylic light installation for Vodafone Headquarters Newbury Berkshire.
In 2014, she was commissioned to design a rug for the Maggies Cenre at Oxford.
In her most recent work she has returned to using neon and acrylic.
Her neon pieces continue to explore the abstract linear forms that characterized the Bayswater project. Utilising the tight bends that can be achieved in thin neon tubes, these lines twist and contort in a complex interplay of light.
In ‘Reclining figures’ in two shades of 10mm white neon, she has developed an abstraction of form that still allows the viewer to imagine two people locked in a sensual embrace.
‘Show yellow’ is a beautiful piece in yellow acrylic, lit so its projected image looks like a complex insect’s wing.
Diana’s interest in light in all its forms, shadows, reflections and the variety of materials which will transmit light will always provide her with a rich vocabulary to explore new and exciting works.
Personally, I can’t wait.