Light the Barricades

Mint Museum Randolph and Levine Avenue of the Arts | Through July 25, 2021

Light the Barricades is an interactive public art installation that coincides with W|ALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine. The installation, located at Mint Museum Randolph, reimagines the wall as a site for contemplating our inner obstructions. Shining a light on the difficult emotions which thwart our progress, this project is inspired by the ancient I Ching, a philosophical system of diagrams first carved into the wall of a prison cell 3,000 years ago.

By reconfiguring the experience of contemplative Chinese landscape scrolls, luminaries, and private devotional images, Light the Barricades provides a modern ritual for distracting times and offers an engaging opportunity to contemplate walls both physically and emotionally.

Illuminated from within, similar to a photographer’s lightbox, the wall represents an emotional barrier – resentmentjudgment, and doubt – and offers an introspective site for visitors. It begins with a walk along its façade where a short fable on the subject leads the viewer along before they turn the corner to sit and reflect on their experience and emotional wellbeing.

The walls made their collective debut in September 2019 across Los Angeles, at Grand Park in Downtown LA, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in Exposition Park, and the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica. Now, one of the walls is located in the park at Mint Museum Randolph and can be visited at any time. 

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

For over a decade, Candy Chang and James A. Reeves have collaborated on internationally recognized projects that connect storytelling with contemporary rituals for self-reflection. They both grew up without any kind of faith or ritual in their lives. After reckoning with the trials of life and the dark alleys of the mind—death, depression, addiction, anxiety—they began to channel these concerns into their work, pursuing philosophy, psychology, and contemplative practices, both in their daily lives as well as their art-making practice. Their projects are inspired by a range of classical and contemporary rituals which feel increasingly resonant in our distracted age, from the devotional images of Catholicism to the ancient I Ching.

Their work has been described as “a wake-up call in our fast-paced digital age” (Ad Age), a “remarkably poignant, accessible, and affecting brand of art” (Pelican Bomb) with writing that offers a “unique point of view that is quirky, beautiful, disturbing, humorous, and at times unexpectedly and achingly moving” (Photo Life). Their most recent collaborative work, A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful, functioned as a year-long catalogue of the ways in which we relate to the uncertainty of tomorrow and collected over 50,000 anxieties and hopes at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City in 2018.

This Charlotte presentation of Light the Barricades is made possible by Charlotte Center City Partners and is part of the exhibition WALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine on view at Mint Museum Uptown until July 25, 2021. The exhibition is made possible by Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles, California, and

PNC logo circular with three triangles in the middle
Mint Museum Auxiliary logo

Laura and Mike Grace, Deidre and Clay Grubb, Leigh-ann and Martin Sprock, and Betsy Rosen and Liam Stokes.