Grotesque Arabesque - CODAworx

Grotesque Arabesque

Submitted by Dan Corson


Client: Suyama Space

Location: Seattle, WA, United States

Completion date: 2011

Project Team


Dan Corson

Art Consultant

Beth Sellers

Suyama Space


GROTESQUE ARABESQUE is an immersive art environment transforming Suyama Space into an otherworldly, light-filled cave created by turquoise-colored electroluminescent tape on meticulously bent, contour-drawn flat bar steel. The glowing cave ceiling is amplified by and reflected in a large reflecting pond below. A saturated indigo illuminates the space through dark blue filters covering the gallery skylights, while a 25 foot wide mirror multiples and further distorts the experience.


Transforming the white space into something entirely magical and evocative.


There was quite a bit of collaboration between the artist and fabrication/installation team. While being a clean "raw" historic space, there were lots of idiosyncrasies of the space that needed to be worked around. That on-site troubleshooting and collaboration became very important throughout the installation.

Additional Information

The word grotesque comes from the word grotto, the distortion or warping of an image that is reflected in the water of a cave. The title is further defined with the addition of Arabesque: an elaborative application of repeating geometric forms that often echo the forms of nature. Here the arabesque framework articulates a repeating pattern of contour lines that define the interior of the cave, complete with stalactites. The contour lines glow with electroluminescent ribbons of aqua colored lighting mined from rare-earth phosphors. Dripping water distorts the architectural arabesque into a grotesque dance of light and dark.