Paul Benney: Night Paintings

Paul Benney: Night Paintings

Paul Benney recently transformed the Snape Maltings with a spectacular light display over three consecutive evenings in December. Through ambitious large-scale light projections, Benney created a series of digitally altered projected paintings which spread across the exterior of the facades of the Snape Maltings buildings and cut through the clear midwinter sky. 

As well as the light projections, the display also featured soundscapes by SALLIS (a musical collective led by Paul Benney and including, among others, Nitin Sawhney, who along with Benney and James RIbbans contributed to the Night Paintings soundtrack. SALLIS will release an album, Tree of Ghosts, during 2021.

The exhibition combined technological innovation, architecture, sound art and painting, resulting in an expansive, cross-disciplinary display, both serene and monumental. The show is part of a long term programme of digital painting experiments by Benney, who plans to work more with outdoor projections in the near future.

Quotes about Night Paintings:

"I’ve been to Snape Maltings in Suffolk to see Paul Benney’s utterly wonderful light and sound projections.

Benney has lit up the facades of a large number of the buildings there with digitally altered paintings as projections which change over time. It's not just an enthralling piece of art, it's also at this particular time when the concert hall at Snape is closed, a quite brilliant way of engaging everyone. Clever, clever man." - Lord Stephenson (previous chairman of the Trustees at the Tate Modern)

"Paul Benney’s ‘Night Paintings’ was overwhelming. Huge in scale but yet deeply personal, tender and emotional. The sight of the audience- solitary, distanced figures- watching these vast, beautifully crafted filmic canvases against the Suffolk sky will stay with me for a very long time. It was a highlight of 2020 and a source of much needed inspiration and joy in a brutal year." - Robert Gildon, professional Opera singer.


Night Paintings was produced with the support of ESP, Snape Maltings, Keechdesign UK Ltd and Brittenpears Arts. All photos in this article are by Ian Wallman.

Paul Benney: Night Paintings from Sedition on Vimeo.