Light intensifies forces of life; rays of sunlight supported by artificial sources in all day experiences stimulate, release hormones, produce vitamins, improve mood, enable work and organize entertainment. People are absorbed in light, both literally and figuratively. It’s easy to imagine the intersection of tracks of the daily trek of heliotropic and lunotropic plants which follow the energizing glow and turn toward the celestial bodies. Opening the refrigerator, running the computer, switching on a lamp, stopping at traffic lights, posing for photos, lighting a cigarette; in almost every activity people reproduce the movement of plants following the orbits of the astral light sources. In their own way, with ever increasing frequency, speed and intensity.
The apparatus installed in the gallery fulfills several functions. It hijacks the light from available sources, both natural, sunshine, flowing through windows and skylights, and artificial, electric, used every day for the illumination of works of art and to enable employees and visitors to enjoy the convenience of this place. Captured light goes into the chamber where it is subjected to homogenization. Each source provides light waves of different color and intensity; concentrated in one container they shall be harmonized. At this stage the apparatus creates an orderly, clean and monochrome stream from a multi-colored spectrum. Being processed and controlled the ray is stored and pumped further out of the device. Hidden light becomes visible, it illuminates: parts of the apparatus, the room and people staying inside. The artist, with help of a specially-designed device, performs gallery light management operations: takeover, concealment, transformation, transmission and distribution of a steady stream of gently fluctuating bundles of light unique for this place.
Optical economics manages what is (visible) and how it appears, and its most effective tool is lustre. The smooth, shiny surface that obscures the object with light, at the same time attracts attention toward it, raises its attractiveness, testifies about its novelty, excellence, and fosters the desire to possess. Shining is always too intense, always a little too much, slightly over the surface and far beyond the depth, just for effect, regardless of the content, completely by the promise, regardless of implementation, disregarding compassion in the name of wealth, success and splendour. The art world with the well-exposed objects, paintings and photographs, endless projections, glossy papers, magazines and catalogues, whitecubes with lit up walls, strictly follows the industry of shine.
The gently shining surface of Substation 6 reveals existence of a device, the cheap materials from which it has been made have not been hidden, as opposed to the light contained within. Being in a room accommodating the apparatus is far from the solar cult, filled with heliophilia and faith in the blessing of a 24 hours day. Softly fitted in the space of the gallery Jenkins’ work appears as a telluric installation, more hiding and focusing than spreading life-giving shine. The shine is being balanced with darkness, shadow and twilight. The work of light and its correlates perfectly seduce the eye looking for fulfillment, usually carried out in the acute vision of the specified object. However no such thing takes place here. Instead of a strong presence of a radiant work of art, the spectacular luminous kitsch, Bill Jenkins offers sophisticated gameplay of secrecy and disclosure, in which can be found traces of business strategies, analysis of exhibition practices and a unique spatial experience allowing eyes to rest and to strain intellect.
– Jakub Bąk