Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Eno Installs 'Lightness' At the Russian Museum

ST. PETERSBURG -- Musician and record producer Brian Eno opened his much-awaited exhibit at the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg on Monday, despite problems with customs that kept much of the equipment held up until the last minute.


Eno, who has led a semi-reclusive existence in St. Petersburg since spring, first announced he would hold the installation, or multimedia exhibit, four months ago. But much of it was constructed in the last 60 hours because of the customs delay.


"Some of the material in this installation, probably about 50 percent of it, was made here during the last week," Eno said in an interview. "The remainder is the stuff reused from previous exhibitions."


This was not a problem, Eno added, since "every show I make is a mixture of new work and existing work."


Eno described the installation, titled "Lightness," as a blend of "cinema, fireworks display, environmental music and installation," culminating in his feelings toward cities.


"When I make these pieces, I want to make something that I think cities need to have in them," he said.


The show is a mix of cutting-edge technology and ordinary items. Vague colored images and hypnotic music -- played from three CDs simultaneously -- fill the darkened White Hall of the museum's Marble Palace.


"I spend a lot of my time working with new technologies, and I'm always trying to strike the right balance between [technology] and its possibilities and me and my possibilities," Eno said at a press conference prior to the exhibit's opening. "What that means is that I always end up using very mixed things. For instance, this show uses spotlights which are old-fashioned, slide projectors which have been around for a very long time, and a computer program which is quite sophisticated and quite new."


The music from the installation is available on a CD, also called "Lightness," that was released at the opening party.


Eno, a British citizen who first came to fame as a synthesizer player for Roxy Music in 1972, is widely known as a producer for such performers as David Bowie, Talking Heads and U2.


But he is equally famous in some circles for his installations, which he has been showing in cities around the world for about 25 years.


In an interview earlier this year, Eno said he had come to St. Petersburg to escape some of the pressures he faces in the West.


"I suppose I came here on a sabbatical really," he said. "I wanted to be somewhere else where I could spend some time thinking about what I was doing, and at the same time be stimulated in a different way by the environment that I was in."


Eno added that the feel of the city and its world-class collections of art also greatly appealed to him.


"I love paintings actually, and that's always been the big source of inspiration for me. And I love architecture as well. So this city offered a very concentrated form of inspiration on those two levels. That was the positive reason for coming here," he said, continuing "the other reason was that I really felt like I wanted to get a way from London for a little while."


Alexander Borovsky, the director of the Russian Museum's Department of Contemporary Arts, said Eno's show was a first for the museum.


"We have had video installations. We had the exhibition "American Video Art." But of course we have never had such a profound combination, with music specially written [for the exhibit]. I think it's a unique project. It's not commercial, it's not a show, it's something which requires long-term meditation."





"Lightness," an installation by Brian Eno. Through mid-December. Daily except Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Marble Palace, 5/1 Millionnaya Ulitsa, St. Petersburg, metro: Nevsky Prospect.