A large chandelier glass is a mixture of clear, blue and orange colours and the lights look like candles

Cerith Wyn Evans
Astrophotography…The Traditional Measure of Photographic Speed in Astronomy…’ by Siegfried Marx (1987) 2006
Glass chandelier, flat screen and morse code unit
Overall display dimensions variable
Purchased with funds provided by a private donor, Tate Patrons, the Yuz Foundation, Caldic Collectie, Wassenaar and Samien and Nina Wisnia 2012
View the main page for this artwork

This work provides a spectacular preface to DLA Piper Series: Constellations, a new collection display which opened at Tate Liverpool on 3 May. Wyn Evans’ work typically exudes an immediate sensual appeal while containing multilayered references to literature, philosophy and the nature of language. This large-scale chandelier, hand-made in Venice, creates a sense of theatrical occasion and the pulses of intermittent light are triggered by a hidden Morse code unit. They spell out an extract from a book with the same title as the artwork while the text is displayed simultaneously on the nearby monitor.

Siegfried Marx’s book examines research relating to the beginnings of astrophotography, a specialised type of photography which records the night sky and astronomical objects. The research revealed that microscopic inconsistencies in the photographic emulsion used in the process, caused for example by dust, had led to mistakes in recording and naming of stars and galaxies. Wyn Evans’ use of linguistic slippage and elliptical meaning opens up a range of possible readings. By orchestrating a range of apparently unrelated elements and phenomena, the artist traces affinities between astronomy, photographic process and classical ornament using the apparently ‘dead’ language of Morse code.

This artwork will be on display in foyer at Tate Liverpool from 11 May.