Highlights of the four-day spectacle included Javier Riera’s stunning Liquid Geometry, an immersive 270-degree abstract artwork projected onto Durham Cathedral and adjacent buildings.
Inside the cathedral, 4,500 fluttering light bulbs were arranged in a wave-shaped canopy that visualized the pulsating heartbeat of the audience below.
Adam Frelin’s sequentially lit arches for the Inner Cloister evoked the footprints of monks of old, while Ai Weiwei’s four-meter-high illuminated bottle rack, decorated with 61 antique and vintage chandeliers, glittered in the cathedral’s atmospheric Chapter House.
“On Blank Pages” by Luzinterruptus, an interactive artwork made from thousands of illuminated notebooks that invites visitors to share their thoughts on justice, was also a huge success.
Each evening during the event, thousands were added to the existing 15,000 pages containing contributions from people across the justice system, from police and prisoners, to court officials and lawyers, to refugees, young offenders and crime victims.
As part of a biennial spotlight on specific areas of County Durham, Lumiere also included four installations in Bishop Auckland this year.
Spanish artist Daniel Canogar’s Amalgama Spanish Gallery used the Spanish Gallery’s collection to create a beautiful projection that melted across the outside of the building.
Across the Market Square, Phil Supple’s The Drop animated the Auckland Tower with lights, choreographed to a lively musical score composed by collaborator and sound artist Toby Park.
Cllr Amanda Hopgood, leader of Durham County Council, which commissions the event, said: “You just have to see the looks on people’s faces to know how much they enjoyed this year’s Lumiere.”
“It’s an event that always brings so much fun, wonder and joy into people’s lives and somehow gets better every time.
“It attracted tens of thousands of people to Durham City and Bishop Auckland over four nights in November, providing a huge boost to the local economy while shining a global spotlight on our county.
“Events like Lumiere are key to cementing our position as a cultural community focused on harnessing the enormous benefits that cultural activities bring to our economy and our communities.”
The glowing attractions that ended Sunday included 40 artworks from artists from 15 countries, with 18 new commissions and seven British debuts, including Ai Weiwei, Chila Burman and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
316 volunteers, 1,800 residents and school children took part in the community in five projects
The professional program included 50 festival directors and art professionals from around the world.
Artichoke artistic director Helen Marriage said: “Every edition of Lumiere is an opportunity to create a large-scale outdoor art gallery and for me this year’s was the most exciting and impactful yet.
“The idea is to explore familiar places through the eyes of the artists and take our audience on this journey.
With a subscription to The Northern Echo you get the latest news, sport and entertainment straight to your device. Click here
Lumiere has now established itself as the UK’s biennale for light art, and alongside the tens of thousands of visitors who came to Durham and Bishop Auckland to experience this extraordinary exhibition, festival directors and art professionals from around the world also gathered as part of our professional program.
“Hosting an event of this magnitude is not possible without the tremendous efforts of our hundreds of on-site participants and volunteers, as well as the artists, technicians, fitters, projectionists, security and crew members who have all pledged to support our sustainable Lumiere commitment.
“It’s a huge undertaking and I’m particularly proud of how much we’ve achieved in making Lumiere more accessible – no easy task in a dark medieval town with steep cobblestone streets and teeming with tens of thousands of visitors.”