Malaysian artist Jun Ong has pierced a former warehouse in Kuala Lumpur with light. Titled STAR/KL, the site-specific work features 111 LED beams that are fashioned into a starburst and penetrate the center of the building and outward past the chainlink fence and into the greenery. To create the illusion of one giant burst, the lighting is placed at different points in the structure. They are mostly concentrated at the bursting point and taper the farther they are from the center—just as you’d imagine the real thing.
This piece was installed in 2021, but its genesis was years before in 2015. Then called Star, the first iteration of the work took place in the industrial town of Butterworth in Malaysia. That star eventually “dissolved and disappeared into dormancy” before reappearing last year. “Its new host, known as the Air Building, is a composite of raw concrete and shards of metal situated on the threshold between nature and city,” Ong writes in his artist statement. “Molded by time, materials, and energy, the new ‘Star' takes on a starburst form created by an accelerated fusion of various surrounding elements. As a result, intense trajectories of light are formed, extending beyond its host and onto the textured, cultural tapestries of the city.”
STAR / KL is guided by the idea of planting metaphorical “stars” in different places. “Each star is beyond a visual object,” Ong tells My Modern Met, “but an accelerator and incubator for collaborations, experiences, and conversations to take place. I hope people will see lights, architecture, and environments differently and find a humanized connection with each of the 111 fragments.”
STAR / KL is on view until March 26, 2022. It is, however, growing dimmer each day until its light completely fades and is simply a memory.