About the Artwork

During the Winter of 2010 the cupola of the Victoria and Albert Museum hosted a specially commissioned light installation by British artist, Mat Collishaw. A grand scale zoetrope visible from the street below, created the effect of moths fluttering within the dome around an oversized lantern. A smaller replica of the crown cupola zoetrope in the courtyard was lit during the day, providing a close-up view of the moths in flight.

About the commission, Collishaw said: “As the Victoria and Albert Museum is the world’s greatest art and design museum, I wanted to create a work that reflects the V&A’s standing as a monument to cultural achievement. The illuminated cupola represents the Museum itself as a beacon of light to which objects of beauty, activity and life are drawn.”

Year: 2010

Copyright the artist, courtesy of Blain|Southern Photo © Nick Turpin


Steel, glass, two-way mirror, aluminium, LED lights and motor


235 x 114 x 114 cm

Artist Biography

Mat Collishaw

Mat Collishaw (b. 1966), received his BFA from Goldsmith College, London, in 1989 and began his career exhibiting the acclaimed work Bullet Hole alongside his Goldsmith contemporaries at the legendary show Freeze in 1988, and at Modern Medicine in 1990. Both shows were curated by Collishaw’s long-term friend Damien Hirst and are renowned for the rise to prominence of the YBAs (Young British Artists). Collishaw’s work envelops us in a twilight world poised between the alluring and the revolting, the familiar and the shocking, the poetic and the morbid. With a visual language embracing diverse media, the beauty of Collishaw’s work is compelling – seductive, captivating, hypnotic – yet repelling as we perceive the darker fantasies within. A repulsion triggered not by what we see, but by our innate response to it. Something between beautiful and abject.