Light Artist Showcase: Bruce Munro

Bruce Munro is an artist based in Wiltshire, England, who is known for creating immersive light art installations around the world. He seeks to capture his responses to various stimuli with his installations, finding inspiration in stories and literature, music, and sometimes more spiritual themes. Munro’s pieces tend to be larger-scale, experiential installations using optical fibers and light sources, arylic, and glass. Many of his pieces draw light through translucent mediums, or reflect light off of components.

Predominately featured below are several works from a recent exhibition at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California, called “Stories in Light”. While the exhibition contains several more pieces than are shown here, those selected offer a good taste of Munro’s style and approach (In fact, the spectacle features the largest number of Munro’s works ever gathered at a single venue). The collection was inspired by C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, beloved by Munro from a young age. Munro’s hope was to bring the lands of Narnia to the already beautiful grounds of Montalvo.

Gathering of the Clans, Acrylic, UV light, Sound. Colored acrylic clips represent the colors of native cockatoos in Sydney. Inspired by the talking animals of Narnia and the constant audio backdrop of Munro’s time in Sydney.
Silver Sea, Optical Fiber, Glass, Acrylic, light source. A take on Munro’s classic Field of Light, Munro transforms the lawn into a beautiful freshwater sea of lilypads from the book The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Reflections, Animated Projections, Sound. A series of media presentations are cycled from Munro’s Light and Language series, representing themes and information such as Morse code, meditation practices, and the equation for photosynthesis.
Reepicheep’s Wave, Optical Fiber, Animated Projections, Sound. An impressive display of 12,000 filaments of optical fiber and 18,000 cast mussel shells form a standing wave accompanied by a seeming continuously rising sound track. Inspired by the mouse character Reepicheep (again referring to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader) whose adventures bring him to an enormous, unmoving wave.

Dawn Treader, Animated projections, Acrylic. The base of the piece is a stained glass window present in the Montalvo Arts center itself, depicting the San Salvador galleon. Munro’s first encounter with the window was actually the confirming experience for his decision to put together the exhibition. Munro transformed the window in an homage to Peter Blake’s psychedelic works, and to bring the magic of the Dawn Treader itself to Montalvo.

Snowball, Glass, Stainless Steel, Optical Fiber, Steel, light source. Now apart from Montalvo’s exhibition, Munro conceived this piece after passing a shop of Christmas baubles. Wondering what they would look like all strung up together, he bought out the entire stock of the shop. The final piece uses optical fiber inside of glass spheres, suspended from up high. The colors are inspired form another story, namely Raymond Briggs’s The Snowman, in which snow men and women dance under an aurora.
Mettabhavana, Conceptual Structure. Conceived in a dream, Munro hopes one day to be able to build this structure as a meditation space for all people. Lit naturally during the day and by beeswax candles at night, Mettabhavana is focused on the unity of people and on drawing light back to the world in both a spiritual and literal sense.

Bruce Munro is masterful in creating not simply beautiful things to observe, but wholly wondrous experiences for the viewer. Visitors to Munro’s installations emphasize that photographs simply don’t do justice to the true appeal of the displays. Having personally had the pleasure of touring the Stories in Light exhibition, I can attest to the tremendous emotional pull of each piece. I found myself drawn to take part in each experience created, be it standing in the shapes projected by Reflections or walking the gardens of the Gathering of the Clans. Bruce Munro works to capture emotional reactions, and truly his creations successfully evoke the same in the viewer fortunate enough to wander into his world.


Delaney, B.(2016, March). ‘Seeing Uluru changed my life’: Bruce Munro’s lightbulb movement. The Guardian. Retrieved from The Guardian website:

Goldfarb et al. (2018). Bruce Munro at Montalvo: Stories in Light. Retrieved from:

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