Peter Sedgley was born in 1930, in London. From 1944 — 46 he was a student at Brixton Technical School, London, and then worked as an assistant at the architecture offices R. Ward & Partners (1946 — 48), Gollins Melvin (1953 — 54), Clifford Culpin (1955 — 56), and Architects Co-Partners (1956 — 59). Soon, however, Sedgley turned towards the arts. In the 1950s and »60s, he helped to found several artist initiatives and participated in projects along with British Op Artist Bridget Riley. Among these initiatives are the Space Provision Artistic Cultural and Educational (S.P.A.C.E.) and the Arts Information Registry (A.I.R.) that aimed to improve the working conditions of artists, provide artist studios and enable the independent presentation of art and the organization of exhibitions. In 1971 Sedgley received a scholarship provided through the artists« program Berlin and worked in Germany for a year.
Sedgley’s engagement with art is based on painting. He focuses on optical and spatial phenomena. In the 1960s works emerged in the context of Op Art: irritating, segmented, rectangular and round color fields, circular chromatic color gradations, colorful whirls, and perspectival color prisms (Talisman, 1964; Cycle, 1965; Tilt, 1966). The structures of color and shape that appear to move already suggest optical effects that Sedgley continued to work with in his later Kinetics. Works that emerged in this context are Color Pulse (1968) – a pulsating color projection of a circle, measuring almost 2 × 2 meters – or Video Disk (1968), with rotating color circles and ornamental color stripe structures generating irritating effects of color and movement. They are closely related to earlier, static works whose motifs of movement were based on pictorial composition and optical illusions (Blue-Green Modulation, 1964). With the kinetic prism projections (Spin, 1981; Blues, 1984), using filter glass, works emerged that have a stronger spatial focus. The light rays of various colors sometimes lead to kaleidoscope-like, shifting constellations of colors and shapes; sometimes the entire surrounding space is involved. Sedgley exclusively relied on natural forces, on power generated through wind, sun, or sound. The installations Sedgley has created since the 1970s, with their expansive, almost psychedelic projections of colors, figures, and structures (Sound/Light,1972; Soundscreen, 1979), again take up these characteristics. Moreover, they may also include interactive moments in their sound and light Performances (Chain Reaction, 1974). More recently, Sedgley has done projects in public space, for example, at the Haubrich Forum, Cologne, at the Technical University Stuttgart, at the police headquarters Berlin-Tempelhof, or, commissioned by the Tate Gallery, at the London Underground Station »Pimlico.«
Since the 1960s, Sedgley’s works have been shown in numerous solo exhibitions, for example, at McRoberts and Tunnard Gallery, London (1965, 1968), at the Haus am Waldsee, Berlin (1971), and at the Akademie der Künste, Berlin (1978). Group exhibitions have positioned Sedgley’s works especially within the thematic context of optical phenomena as well as constructivist and kinetic tendencies (for example: »The Responsive Eye,« Museum of Modern Art, New York; »Public Eye,« Kunsthaus Hamburg). Recently, his works have been shown at the Centro de Arte Moderna José de Azeredo Perdigão – Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lissabon (1999), at the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva (2005), and at the Museum of Kinetic Art, London (2007).
Peter Sedgley lives and works in Berlin und Sussex.
Summer of Love, Psychedelische Kunst der 60er und 70er Jahre: Ausst.-Kat. Tate Liverpool, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Kunsthalle Wien, Ostfildern-Ruit 2005
Lauter, Marlene (Hg.): Konkrete Kunst in Europa nach 1945 – Die Sammlung Peter C. Ruppert, Ostfildern-Ruit 2002
FarbLicht Kunst unter Strom: Ausst.-Kat. Städtische Galerie Würzburg u.a., hg. v. M. Lauter, Ostfildern-Ruit 1999
Linschinger, Josef (Hg.): Material, Konzept, Konstrukt: Licht und visuelle Texte, 2000
Peter Sedgley, Light – Sound – Movement, hg. v. D. Bartels, Berlin 1977
Optical and Kinetic Art: Ausst.-Kat. Tate Gallery, hg. v. Michael Compton, London 1967
Rickey, George: Constructivism, Origins and Evolution, New York 1967