“It’s about connectivity between people”: Bruce Munro illuminates time, memory and connection

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For over four decades, the acclaimed English-Australian artist Bruce Munro has held an enduring fascination with how time, memory, and transience are experienced individually and collectively. From Sunrise Road, the artist’s first Australian museum exhibition, returns to the beginning of this: Sunrise Road in Sydney’s Palm Beach was where Munro was living when he began creating in the 1980s.

Celebrated for his experiential, immersive lightbased sculptures, Munro is exhibiting a series of intimate indoor artworks that are embraced by a large-scale installation, Cadent Spring. This all-encompassing piece arises from Munro’s critically acclaimed Field of Light, envisaged in 1992 after visiting Uluru and installed in 2016, where it can still be experienced today. Cadent Spring—a 50-meter-wide installation—also emerges from the concept of warming your hands around a fire and passing along this warmth into the palm of another. “It’s about connectivity between people,” explains curator Kendrah Morgan.

A core piece within Cadent Spring is a convex positioning of stainless-steel waterlilies and abstract clockfaces. Adorned with shimmering fibre optic lights, it echoes the cyclic, and at times incomprehensible, nature of past, present, and future. “Light is my medium,” says Munro, “and a beautiful quality of light is that it captures the ephemeral… [it] has a spiritual essence about it and makes it ideal as a medium to express abstract concepts.”

Munro’s dedicated archival practice, which weaves literary and philosophical references, also informs From Sunrise Road, alongside the practicalities of shipping work internationally in these times. The exhibition was delayed by Covid-19 and the 2021 Suez Canal obstruction, and Munro responded to such events by generating new two-dimensional works that are “based on his photographs and relationship with light and colour”, says Morgan.

It’s Munro’s poetic engagement with light as a means of conjuring a circulation of memories and shared experiences that unifies the works in the exhibition.

From Sunrise Road
Bruce Munro
Heide Museum of Modern Art
25 June—16 October

This article was originally published in the July/August 2022 print edition of Art Guide Australia.

Autumn Royal