John Gerrard: Solar Reserve

Resnick Lawn
July 12, 2018–September 3, 2018

A recent addition to LACMA’s collection, John Gerrard’s public installation Solar Reserve (Tonopah, Nevada) 2014 is a digital simulation, displayed on a large-scale LED wall, that recreates a Nevada solar thermal power plant and the surrounding desert landscape. At the center of this virtual world is a tower encircled by 10,000 mirrors that adjust their positions according to the location of the sun in order to reflect light on the tower to generate electricity.

Unlike a film or video, there is no beginning or end to Gerrard’s work. Programmed to correspond to the real time conditions of the actual Nevada site, the work continuously changes over the course of 365 days due to the changing positions of the sun, moon, and stars across the sky. Though modern in appearance, Solar Reserve references historic representations of the sun in its spiral composition, and points to the primacy of the sun as an ancient energy source. By linking past and present, Gerrard explores both the legacy of energy consumption, and the ambiguous future of energy production.

This installation was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in collaboration with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

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Sponsored by:

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Image: John Gerrard, Solar Reserve (Tonopah, Nevada) 2014, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Leonardo DiCaprio. Photo credit: Installation view, John Gerrard, Solar Reserve (Tonopah, Nevada) 2014, presented by Lincoln Center in association with Public Art Fund, artwork © John Gerrard, courtesy of Simon Preston Gallery, New York and Thomas Dane Gallery, London, photo © James Ewing.