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Light art is a form of visual art where main media of expression is light. Light has been used for architectural aesthetical effects and object design throughout human history. However, the modern concept of light art emerged with the development of artificial light sources and experimenting in modern art. such as Minimalism, Bahaus movements and artists using the medium of glass which became commercial available to the masses in the 20th century.
Art critic Hilarie M. Sheets explains that "the interplay of dark and light has been a theme running from Greek and Roman sculpture to Renaissance painting to experimental film. But as technology advanced from the glow of the electric lightbulb to the computer monitor, artists have been experimenting with actual light as material and subject. The 1960s saw a high point in activity, with artists such as Dan Flavin (Jam), François Morellet (Fra), Bill Culbert (NZ), Warren Langley (Aust) and James Turrell(US)creating sculptures and environments out of diffuse light or radiant fluorescent and neon tubing.
The first use of art by light was cave paintings created in deep caves using fires torches. The imagery was usually imagined as the animals, fish or spirits depicted were not in front of the artists.
Other examples of light and object can be seen with Stonehenge, Egyptian pyramids. Also monarchs artifacts such as crowns of jewels or gold.
The uses of light and art in which Stained glass can be used to color transmitted light; examples of this go back to the 4th century. This art form is most prominently seen in churches and mosques with elaborate stained glass windows.
Another use of light in art is in shadow puppetry, where projections of shadows from puppets can be used to create moving images. A form of shadow puppetry is described as early as 380 BC by Plato in the Allegory of the cave.
All visual art uses light in some form, but in modern photography and motion pictures, use of light is especially important. However, with the invention of electrical artificial light, possibilities were expanded and many artists began using the light as the main form of expression, instead of just as a vehicle for other forms of art. László Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946), a member of the Bauhaus who was influenced by Constructivism is regarded as one of the fathers of Light Art. Light sculpture and moving sculpture are the components of his Light-Space Modulator (1922–30), which is one of the first light art pieces which also incorporates kinetic art. Naum Gabo(1890 – 1977) a constructivist artist experimented with the transparent materiality which light reflected on the object. An example is Linear Construction No. 1 (1943). Marcel Duchamp (1887 – 1968) Hat rack 1917 hanging from the ceiling and casting a shadow against the wall — was recorded in photographs of Duchamp's New York studio. In 1946, Gyula Kosice used neon lighting in art-works.
Light sculptures are an intermedia and time-based art form in which sculpture or any kind of art object produces light, or the reverse (in the sense that light is manipulated in such a way as to create a sculptural as opposed to temporal form or mass). Most often light sculpture artists were primarily either visual artists or designers, not having started out directly making light sculpture. The most well known contemporary light artists include, Chul Hyun Ahn, Olafur Eliasson, Spencer Finch, Dan Flavin (in 1963), James Turrell, Bruce Munro and Leo Villareal.  in addition to Gyula Kosice (1946), Lucio Fontana (1949), Martial Raysse (1962), Chryssa (1962), François Morellet (1963), Joseph Kosuth (1965), Bruce Nauman, Piotr Kowalski, Mario Merz or Yann Kersalé.
Also included in the light art genre is the so-called light graffiti including projection onto buildings, arrangement of lighted windows in buildings and painting with hand-held lights onto film using time exposure. A unique project for light art can be found in front of the Osram headquarters in Munich, Germany: Seven LED stelae form as a platform for altering art projects (involving video artists such as Diana Thater and Björn Melhus, film makers such as Harun Farocki or media artists such as Art+Com.].
The Neons Parallax Project
In Geneva, Switzerland, The Funds for Contemporary Art of the City and Canton of Geneva initiated in 2005 a project of public art. The Neons Parallax envisages the achievement of seven luminous installations, each one conceived by a different artist on the roofs of the buildings located at the edge of the Plaine de Plainpalais . The works will be built at the rate of two original creations per year (2007, 2008, 2009 and three for 2012). The project is subsidised by the city and the township and the buildings are graciously lent by their owners for 10 years.
There are already six installations by [Sylvie Fleury (CH), Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster (F), Nic Hess (CH), Christian Jankowski (D), Jérôme Leuba (CH) and Sislej Xhafa (AL). Three additional signs, one designed by Ann Veronica Janssens (BE) chosen as a result of a contest by invitation, one by Pierre Bismuth (F) chosen by public contest and the last one by Christian Robert-Tissot (CH) which is a direct order of Pierre Darier from the Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch & Cie Private Bank. As well as an exhibition, a symposium on public art and a publication will take place in March 2012. See below in the gallery, the works of Sylvie Fleury (Geneva) et Jérôme Leuba (Geneva), Christian Jankowski (Germany), Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster (France), Sislej Xhafa (Kosovo) et Nic Hess (Zurich).
Artists in light
||This list of "famous" or "notable" persons has no clear inclusion or exclusion criteria. Please help to define clear inclusion criteria and edit the list to contain only subjects that fit those criteria. (June 2012)|
- Grimanesa Amorós
- Frida Blumenberg
- Eberhard Bosslet
- Ron Cooper
- Waltraut Cooper
- Ólafur Elíasson
- Annet van Egmond
- Spencer Finch
- Ellis D Fogg
- Dan Flavin
- Lucio Fontana
- Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster
- Richard Harned
- Michael Hayden
- Jasper Johns
- Manfred Kielnhofer
- Gyula Kosice
- Piotr Kowalski
- Lili Lakich
- Gilles Larrain
- Frank Malina
- David Medalla
- Teddy Lo
- Mario Merz
- Victor Millonzi
- François Morellet
- Bruce Munro
- Bruce Nauman
- Bill Parker
- Robert Rauschenberg
- Martial Raysse
- Larry Rivers
- John Rosenbaum
- James Rosenquist
- Raphaele Shirley
- Keith Sonnier
- James Turrell
- Tim White-Sobieski
- LED Art
- Snow lantern
- Light sculpture
- Light Art Biennale Austria 2010
- Lumino kinetic art
- Neon lighting and artists in light
Installation by Rudi van de Wint, Netherlands
Interlux chair by Manfred Kielnhofer
"Light Reading" (2011) by Julia Bickerstaff Glass and light artist
- Weibel, Peter; Jensen, Gregor, eds. (2006). Lichkunst aus Kunstlicht: Licht als Medium der Kunst im 20. und 21. Jahrhundert. ISBN 978-3-7757-1774-8. Catalog for an exhibition "Light Art from Artificial Light: Light as the Medium of Art in the 20th and 21st Centuries" at the Zentrum fur Kunst und Medientechnologie in Karlsruhe, Germany (November 19, 2005 - May 1, 2006).
- Sheets, Hilarie M. "Waves of Light." ARTnews Mar. 2007: 131-33. ARTnews. Print.Web. 1 Feb. 2012. <http://www.artnews.com/2007/03/01/waves-of-light/>.
- Tate bio "László Moholy-Nagy, Tate bio". tate.org.
- "Light Art". Kunstlexikon. Hatje Cantz Verlag. February 5, 2005. Retrieved 2011-01-17.
- Sheets, Hilarie M. Illuminated Void. Comp. C. Grimaldis Gallery. Baltimore: C. Grimaldis Gallery, 2011. Print
- "SEVEN SCREENS". Osram.
- Jansen, J. (1991), 'Het Electrisch': van lamplicht tot lichtsculptuur, Museum het Princessehof, ISBN 978-90-71588-10-5.
- Tahara, Keiichi (2001), Light, Sculpture, Photography, Editions Assouline, ISBN 978-2-84323-262-6.
- JanLeonardo Woellert & Joerg Miedza - Painting With Light: Light Art Performance Photography, Rocky Nook; 1 Edition (April 10, 2011), ISBN 978-1933952741
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Light art.|
- International Forum of Light in Art and Design
- Installations and Interventions in Public Space)
- International Center for Contemporary Art dedicated to multimedia and light art
- Light art at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
- Seven Screens Light art platform in Munich OSRAM
- Light art from Artificial Light
- Smashing Magazine Let There Be Light: Light Paintings and Sculptures
- Interview with visual artist Pablo Valbuena about his investigation on light, space and perception
- Luceonline.it, the cultural portal of light and new technologies