Hologram Artwork Lights Up Rugby Art Gallery And Museum

By Anita Isalska | 11 August 2008
A human shape with glowing eyes surrounded by orange and red flames

'Lightman' by Ken Harris: one of the striking hologram artworks on display shows a humanoid haloed by flares of light. Courtesy Rugby Museum

Exhibition Preview - Holograms: the first sixty years - at Rugby Museum and Art Gallery until August 31 2008.

We see them on everything from credit cards to DVD cases, but few of us consider holograms to be an art form. To open our minds to the possibilities of holography, a major international collection has arrived at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum.

‘HOLOGRAMS, the first 60 years’ celebrates the 60th anniversary of the first hologram and gives visitors a glimpse of the latest full colour and animated images.

Holograms were invented in Rugby in 1947 by Hungarian scientist Dennis Gabor, who later won a Nobel Prize for his work. These shimmering 3-D images, created using lasers to record an interference pattern of light, can be practical or decorative.

A green-tinged photograph of a bald, bespectacled man smiling sternly

'Portrait of Dennis Gabor' from pulsed laser transmission master by MacDonnel Douglas Corporation: the man behind hologram technology. Courtesy Rugby Museum

‘HOLOGRAMS’ draws mostly from Britain’s leading collector of holographic art, Jonathan Ross, who devised the exhibition in association with curators from Banbury Museum and the Oxfordshire Museum.

‘One of the reasons for maintaining it is to make holography accessible to a wider audience,’ said Jonathan Ross of his extensive collection.

While parts of the exhibition focus on holograms’ use on identity cards and mobile phones, a number of the images on display challenge the functional notion of holograms. Margaret Benyon’s ‘Tigirl’ shows a woman’s feline features enhanced by the background image of a tiger.

A greenish photograph of a smiling woman with a faint tiger image super-imposed over the top

'Tigirl' by Margaret Benyon: this hologram mingles images of a menacing tiger and a smiling woman to unearthly effect. Courtesy Rugby Museum

Ken Harris’ ‘Lightman’ is even more experimental, depicting a fiery humanoid who wouldn’t be out of place in Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’. This abstraction shows how the medium can be used to create passionate and harrowing images.

The exhibition will certainly spark nostalgia for those who remember holograms’ popularity in the 1970s and 80s, and the intriguing work on display could even lure a new audience of art-lovers.

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