June 13, 1969
|Occupation||Artists, Multi-media, Light Sculpture|
|Years active||1990 – present|
Raphaele Shirley is a multi-media artist whose work spans installation art, light sculpture, video, art collectives and social intervention. Her work deals with questions of space, time, primordial life forces, and the ephemeral. Since her beginnings in New York City (1993), where she currently lives and works, she has been instrumental in the creation of several large-scale social projects such as [PAM] Perpetual Art Machine and the New York International Fringe Festival. She has been awarded several grants recently from the Norwegian arts council for commissioned public and video works. Several of the projects she has been involved in have received international acclaimed awards. She shows her work nationally and internationally.
Raphaele Shirley is the youngest of three children. She moved to Aix-en-Provence in her early teens and began to explore sculpture, photography and other art forms. In the early 90s, she enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux Arts of Aix-en-Provence, France.
Between 1997 and 2002, she worked under Nam June Paik, the US-based Korean artist and founder of video art, assisting him in the development of a number of public laser works displayed at the Olympic Park Lake in Seoul, Korea and in his Retrospective "The Worlds of Nam June Paik" at the S.R.Guggenheim, New York U.S.A. and Bilbao, Spain. 
In 1997, Shirley was a founding member of The New York International Fringe Festival and co-directed Fringe Al Fresco up until 2001, which staged over 100 artists for the first two year's of the festival in public locations all over the Lower East Side in New York. In 2005 she co-founded the project [PAM] Perpetual Art Machine, an interactive installation and video art collective of over 2000 members and video artists.
Body of work
In 2008 Shirley began sculpting in pure light. Light Shot 0910 explores the spirituality of geometry through two mysterious rectangles of light intersecting in mid-air, shown in a solo exhibit at the Chelsea Art Museum. Shooting Stair uses light diodes and high-pressured mist to form a staircase made of light, installed outdoors in a private collection in Southampton, New York.
Light and geography intersect powerfully with community in two recently commissioned public pieces which brought Shirley to Norway, the first a massive outdoor light sculpture, the second a film. Jewels of Kvinesdal, dramatically overlooking the Kvinesdal fjord, consists of an open-air arena from which a diagonal tower of light beams into the night sky, visible to communities many kilometers away. This installation was curated by Torill Haugen at the Utsikten Kunstsenter Art Center in Kvinesdal, Norway.
Stargaze in Sandnes is a 14-minute film combining communal and geologic memory, past and future, utopia and dystopia, employing topographical maps, 3D animation, and old family films provided by the people of Sandnes, Norway. This project was funded by Norway’s KinoKino Art center and the Norwegian Arts Council.
During The Arctic Circle, a residency led by the FARM Foundation, Shirley created a series of immersive earth and light works while sailing the Arctic, documented in a series of stunning photographic prints.
Her Norway and Arctic expeditions were preceded by her similarly experiential ‘’Sunken City’’ projects. For these three installations Shirley used silicone and bronze, bathed in lasers, fog and dense soundscapes, to create a language of architecture and urban space both ancient and futuristic, terrifying and utopian. These were exhibited in Basel, New York, and Brooklyn.
Raphaele Shirley lives in Brooklyn, New York.
2010 - Arctic Lights - Dorfman Projects - New York, NY.
2008 - Sunken City Episode II - Emily Harvey Foundation - New York, NY.
2007 - Sunken City Preludes - PowerHouse Projects - Brooklyn, NY.
- Jewels of Kvinesdal (2009) Utsikten Kunstsenter
- Website of Raphaele Shirley Official Website
- Arctic Circle residency program official site
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