5 Light Artists You Should Know


1. Dan Flavin (1933 – 1996)

Dan Flavin was an innovative minimalist and Op artist of the 20th century well known for his signature practice working exclusively with fluorescent lights. His medium, which was commercially available to him as readymades, consisted of four standard lengths of fluorescent tube in ten colours with four variations of whites. With his practice Flavin focused on light not just as a medium but also as the artwork itself by observing its affect and how it transforms space.


James Turrell

2. James Turrell (b. 1943)

James Turrell’s artistic practice with light explores its interplay with colour, space and our perception. Through natural and artificial light his practice has developed a focus towards site-specific light installations that interact with its surrounding space. One of his most iconic site-specific works was done in 2013 at the Guggenheim, New York where he transformed the museum’s rotunda into a voluminous space of shifting lights.



3. Tracey Emin (b. 1963)

Tracey Emin molds neon lights in the form of hand written text illuminating her thoughts and feelings. The neon writing, which mimics the artists own hand writing expresses, among other sentiments, passions, love declarations, and disappointments. The subject of these creations are typically of Tracey Emin herself as she places her life at the focus of her art.



4. Leo Villareal (b. 1967)

Leo Villareal’s practice is focused on the elements and foundations of systems that underlie their structures. Simple forms and lowest common denominators like pixels, zeros and binary code are central elements and concepts to the artist’s practice. Villareal begins his work by using these simple forms within a framework to eventually build his masterpiece. It is within this practice that the physical, spatial and temporal dimensions of his artwork are revealed.


Olafur Eliasson, portrait.© 2015 Olafur EliassonPhoto: Heike Göttert 2013

5. Olafur Eliasson (b. 1967)

Taking a different turn to the practices of other artists mentioned is Olafur Eliasson’s artistic practice which focuses on perception, movement and experience. His practice, which extends beyond the sole use of light to sculpture, painting, photography, film and other forms of installation beholds universal relevance where immersive environments inform and affect our perception. His work is made more relevant as it brings about a greater awareness of the way we engage with the world.

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5 Light Artists You Should Know

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