Light in Fine Arts | LIFA

Electric light experienced an unexpected increase in importance in the art of the late 20th century. Artists used light in drawings, paintings, sculptures, installations, interventions, and performances. The examination of light as material, medium and metaphor stimulated not only technical innovations but also new artistic and scientific findings.

In the meantime, the field has been expanded further, both medially and thematically, by contemporary phenomena such as digitalization, ecological and political crises, and new technologies such as the LED. Large-format mappings at the interface to projection art are causing a sensation everywhere. Artists explore light as information, reflect on the production of artificial light against an ecological background or implement it to draw attention to political grievances in activist interventions. The medium of light seems to have a special potential to make political, ecological, or digital interdependencies physically perceptible and intellectually reflectable by directly relating light, space, and body of the recipient.

LIFAresearch wishes to offer a platform for this development by building up an archive that documents important positions taken up by light art of the 20th and 21st centuries. The database is available to all cooperation partners for teaching, research, and investigation within the framework of copyright regulations. The image material is initially displayed in pixelated form. After a free registration and the corresponding agreement to refrain from commercial use, the image material is displayed without pixels for the logged-in user. When accessing the image and text resources, authorship, and previous publication sources (as far they are known) are indicated.

In cooperation with partners, LIFAresearch regularly organizes conferences on the topic of "Light in the Visual Arts". Under the name "LIFA Colloquium", this conference accompanies the most diverse aspects and areas of the discourse on light art. The currently planned conference date and past events are listed here: Kolloquien  Colloquia I to (planned) VIII

Site-specific artworks in the archive

All artworks in the archive that are permanently installed in a certain location (e.g. in public space) are shown here as dots on a map. When zooming in, the work title appears. Please note: the map is only visible to logged in users.

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