Robert Irwin

Light and Space

Light and Space (Kraftwerk Berlin) is a major site-conditioned installation at Kraftwerk Berlin by pioneering American artist Robert Irwin.

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.’1 For Light and Space (Kraftwerk Berlin) Irwin intervenes in the impressive, industrialist architecture of Kraftwerk Berlin, taking over the entire space to fully immerse visitors in his ongoing experiments with light and space.

Installation view, 2021

Installation view, 2021

Installation view, 2021

Installation view, 2021

Installation view, 2021

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.

Ever looking to the future, invested in the possibilities of interdisciplinary collaboration and a proponent of experiential relationships with built environments, Irwin’s practice and career mirrors LAS’s mission that foregrounds experiments and strives for radical approaches.

1

Milton Esterow, ‘How Public Art Becomes A Political Hot Potato’, Art News 85, no.1 (January 1986): 79.

Robert Irwin
Light and Space

LAS, Berlin
5 December 2021 – 30 January 2022

CREDITS: Robert Irwin, Light and Space (Kraftwerk Berlin), 2021.
Commissioned by LAS (Light Art Space).
Photo: Timo Ohler. VG Bild-Kunst, 2021.