Lights On! Light-based Art and The Making of Space

Gala Castells Puig

Student thesis: Master thesis


In the recent years the increase of artworks made by artists who investigate the relationship between light and space has changed the aesthetic language and consideration of light in contemporary art. The use of light in artistic practices has contributed to a profound experiment that re-maps the boundaries of art while at the same time provokes us to reflect upon the qualities and limits of our perception. How we experience and physiologically respond to illumination and colour has been one of the most researched topics, which has arisen a significant amount of discussion about to what extent light participates in the making of space that directly calls into play our individual perceptual responses. One of the main issues that has not been sufficiently addressed yet is to what extend artistic uses of light may reveal the diverse potentialities of light in the making of space and human understanding of the world. The thesis provides an analysis of the embodied experiences in three immersive installations made by contemporary artists James Turrell, Anthony McCall and Olafur Eliasson. The empirical material was experienced in 2011 and during the summer of 2016. The study explores how engagement and interaction with a light-based work may influence the making of space and the viewer’s surroundings. Such analysis might suggest that artistic uses of light make space explicit, allow the visitors seeing themselves sensing and extremely heightens awareness in a dense, colour saturated environment.

Key words: light art, sensory perception, body consciousness, spatial awareness, colour saturation

EducationsSpatial Design and Society, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Graduate
Publication date27 Sep 2016
Number of pages78
SupervisorsDavid Pinder


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