Martin Ersted

With his custom made laser projector 'Moon Machine' Martin Ersted creates large light installation which he exhibits in the dark and cold north; in Iceland and Denmark. No wonder that he sees the darkness as an essential part of his light artworks.

Martin Ersted is a creative jack-of-all-trades. He has been artistic director at various cultural organizations in Denmark and is operating as a light artist. As a part of the artists' collective Båll & Brand (''fire and fury''), he creates artworks and performances that revolve around fire and light. A central element in his artworks is his custom made laser installation: the Moonmachine.

Ersted: "When I was a 6-year old boy, I saw the thumb sculpture, of a gigantic thumb by César Baldaccini in the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. That made an everlasting impression on me. Like looking through a microscope it opened my eyes to a whole new world", tells Ersted about the artwork that influenced him most. Now, he draws his inspiration through the hard work itself and the conversations and works of other artists. 

“Darkness is just as important as light itself.”

Are there any projects or artists he admires in particular? Ersted: "The works of James Turrell are influential. Turrell's best-known work is the "Roden Crater" - an extinct volcano in the Arizona desert that today is the world's largest work of art. He bought the 400,000-year-old and three-kilometer-wide crater in 1979, and since then the crater has become a lifelong art project. Here he builds an enormous observatory, where one can study the sky's light qualities during the day."

Photo: A part of 'Moon Machine' (Månemaskine) on the sides of Mount Bjófur (1085m) at the List í Ljósi light festival in Iceland. (Photo by Nikolas Grabar) 

Ersted's works of art can be found in colder and darker areas: his works have previously been exhibited at light festivals in Denmark and Iceland. Ersted: "Especially up north, there are so many dark hours in which we long for the sun and the spring." But the one is no better than the other, he adds. "I hope the future of light art will also respect the darkness. We need to hide, and contemplate, so darkness is just as important as light.”

Martin Ersted (DK, 1977) is an artist, radio host and artistic director. His artworks on climate change have been featured in light festivals in Denmark and Iceland.