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Robert Irwin, Light and Space (Kraftwerk Berlin), 2021. Commissioned by LAS (Light Art Space). Photo: Timo Ohler. VG Bild-Kunst, 2021 © 2021 Robert Irwin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Museum Exhibitions

Robert Irwin

Light and Space (Kraftwerk Berlin)

Dec 5, 2021 – Jan 30, 2022
Kraftwerk Berlin

Light and Space (Kraftwerk Berlin), a major site-conditioned installation at Kraftwerk Berlin by pioneering American artist Robert Irwin brings one of the most prominent figures of the Light and Space movement to the center of Berlin. Commissioned by LAS, the installation will be the largest work by Irwin to be exhibited in Europe to date and will form part of the artist’s Light and Space series.

Over his prolific, six-decade career, Irwin has become best known for site-conditioned artworks that use the effects of light to explore human perception and use of space. An early proponent of site- specific installations, he creates large-scale experiential works, using minimal means that challenge our perceptions and reimagine our environments. As the artist puts it, "My ambition is, in a sense, to make you see a little bit more tomorrow than you saw today." For Light and Space (Kraftwerk Berlin), Irwin intervenes in the impressive, industria- list architecture of Kraftwerk Berlin, taking over the entire space to fully immerse visitors in his ongoing experiments with light and space.

Irwin is a seminal figure of Light and Space, a loosely affiliated art movement, which originated in southern California in the 1960s as part of the radical cultural scene that was emerging on America’s West Coast over that period and that is characterised by its interdisci- plinary approach, convergence of art and science and stepping away from object-centric practices. From the 1970s onwards, Irwin favoured a strictly site-specific approach in which he perceived art as closely shaped by the conditions of the surrounding space. It is this core tenet of his site-conditioned practice, favouring experiential relation- ships with built environments, that Irwin brings to Berlin’s former power station.

Irwin’s Light and Space series was first conceived in 2007 and commonly features fluorescent light tubes arranged in rhythmic yet undecipherable abstract patterns on white walls with high finishes. Light and Space (Kraftwerk Berlin) uses blue fluorescent lights for the first time, in combination with the artist’s traditional white, positioned on a monumental freestanding wall measuring 16 x 16 metres. In another diversion from Irwin’s usual practice, Light and Space (Kraftwerk Berlin) is double-sided, making use of both sides of the freestanding wall. This new installation will fill the former power station with light, prompting visitors to interrogate the very notion of perception itself.

Learn more on (opens in a new window) LAS's website.

  • Museum Exhibitions — Robert Irwin at Kraftwerk Berlin, Dec 5, 2021