‘The time has come for sculpture to break out to the speeds of light – to hidden energetic entities of vast dimensions, to intergalactic space.’
Orion’s engagement with philosophical questions concerning human existence, and his attempts to break through the boundaries of material sculpture, led to one of the most significant and radical developments in his work: Intergalactic Sculpture. Orion viewed intergalactic sculpture as a necessary continuation of visual sculpture in general and tectonic sculpture in particular, and developed timeless and immaterial sculptures throughout the solar system. He worked to advance and implement his ideas in this regard from the 1980s till the end of his life. The central of these ideas was to launch beams of light towards the Milky Way: a sculpting act he called Super Cathedral.
On 27 April 1992, as part of the events of International Space Year, Super Cathedral I was performed, launching laser beams billions of kilometers into space from various locations around the world, parallel lines perpendicular to the Milky Way, creating a space cathedral of light: a sculpture that exists in movement, and constantly and forever draws further and further away from Earth. The main launch was performed in Bar Giora, near Jerusalem, and lasted 55 minutes and 33 seconds. Additional laser stations participating in the launch were located in Helwan in Egypt, Simeiz and Zvenigorod in Russia, Potsdam in Germany, and Graz in Austria. The project was supported by the Israel Museum, the Israel Space Agency, and the global Wegener Laser Ranging network. In subsequent years Orion attempted to advance the next stages of the project, but these plans have yet to be carried out.
‘This is the departure of sculpture from its visual, tangible history,’ Orion wrote. ‘It is a departure from matter and mass to which sculpture has been bound from prehistory onward – to an unseen, intangible sphere of huge energetic entities, cruising at the speed of light, through the intergalactic vastness – onto cosmic infinity – -’