NGV Triennial

Stuart Haygarth
Optical (tinted)



Explore Stuart Haygarth Virtually

Optical (tinted) 2009 is a large spherical light created from more than 4,500 tinted prescription spectacle lenses. Recycled from used optical frames, the lenses have been meticulously grouped according to colour density. The work explores the narratives of time, loss, consumption and modernity. Engaging in the process of collecting and sorting discarded objects, Haygarth elevates them to items of value and beauty through the production of handcrafted contemporary lighting. The more dense and cloudy lenses appear at the nucleus of the chandelier, gradually becoming clear towards the outer layers of the form, where the lenses appear virtually transparent. Illuminated from its core, light is refracted through the many layers of lenses both tinted and clear. The overall effect is a large dazzling crystal-like disco ball, which on closer inspection is composed of optical elements designed to aid and focus human sight. Optical (tinted) belongs to a collection of contemporary art and design works for the NGV Triennial centred around the theme of illumination.

Stuart Haygarth is recognised for repurposing commonplace objects to produce compelling lighting designs and installations. He employs the flotsam and jetsam of everyday life – from manmade debris washed up on the seashore to salvaged objects from thrift stores, Haygarth’s works capture a critical moment in the story of contemporary design, engaging with issues of consumption, disposable culture and sustainability.

Haygarth has exhibited his work widely throughout Europe and North America since 2007 with works appearing at the Venice Biennale, Italy (2019); Victoria & Albert Museum, London (2013); and Design Museum, London (2011). Haygarth’s work is held in both public and private collections, including: Design Museum, London; Museum of Art & Design, New York; Craig Robins Collection, Miami; David Roberts Art Foundation, London; and Museum Fur Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Germany.

The NGV warmly thanks the 2018 NGV Curatorial Tour donors for their support of this work.