By Luciana Suppicich and Sophya Acosta
Since the beginning of time Light and Art have been connected. This connection was never symmetrical, though, and, most of the time,light served other artistic disciplines. Representation of light is one of the most developed themes within the visual arts, theater, literature, cinema, and photography, but light as the main material of artistic work is recent, usually controlled by other technique.
The great revolution produced by the postulates of Quantum Physics in the 1920s brought with it a radical change in the ways of perceiving the creation of matter, space, and time. The art world echoed these postulates, and many artists began to wonder about the parameters that govern reality and its perception. The industrial revolution favored artificial light and, together with the framework of thought that emerges from the postulates of quantum physics, became the propitious ground for what we currently call Light Art.
One of the characteristics that define Light Art as a particular artistic expression is the interaction that it produces between the surrounding environment and the audience. Ambiguous in nature, Light Art creates a visual experience with visual sensory as the main tool and light as the main compositional element.
The two great axes that constitute Light Art are space and time with their corresponding developments. By immersing ourselves in the exciting world of Light Art,we discover that the art pieces possess an intagible and physical duality which makes an impression in the viewer’s imagination.
This duality correlates conceptually with physics of light as a wave-particle composition Each artist explores the possibilities of light, whether he is creating works that include material elements of artificial light or working without light sources utlizing light states as the main character. The dual development of Light Art pieces between the material and the immaterial implies the creation of mental spaces and physical spaces.
The immaterial aspect of the Light Art piece can occur both within a mental space (joint creation with the public) and in a physical space (working with the strictly physical aspects of light). Consequently, mental spaces are immaterial, and physical spaces can be simultaneously both material and immaterial.
In our professional practices, we have observed that in art there is a superposition of temporal layers that flow at different rates and over which we have certain degrees of control. Then, we would speak of a physical time that happens in everyday life, and a conceptual time that happens in the artistic event. To these two temporal planes, we can add the viewer’s time, which is usually a time of contemplation.
Time is an essential piece to take into account when creating light art pieces. Being able to conceptualize and analyze time allows us to become aware of it in order to achieve its manipulation. For us, light exists as a function of the time that light itself inhabits.
The study of the temporal element invites us to investigate the processes that lead us to configure the light changes, thinking not only of the image that is created but also of the transitions themselves as the subject of study and the creative element of the light composition.
One of the main ways of understanding and learning about art is through categorizations that help us to classify and cut out different periods, movements, and artistic movements in an accessible way.
There are different approaches to the work of the light-space-time relationship that has been developed over the past decades and that we would like to categorize in order to understand its temporal-spatial composition and interaction with the public.
Our proposal for the study of Light Art is its analysis through the following categories: format, compositional artistic trends, and sensitive sensory pieces. In turn, each category includes subcategories that we name below.
- Categorization by format: Large installations, Immersive installations, Interactive installations, and Luminous objects.
- Categorization by compositional artistic trends: Light Baroque, Light Minimalism, Phenomenological pieces.
Categorization as sensitive/sensory pieces: artworks that explore the physical-perceptive phenomenon as their central axis. These first approximations are categories that we would like to develop in detail in future articles.
Through this paper, we wanted to account for the broad development of the artistic universe of Light Art. The conceptualization of light as a material of creation is relatively recent and there is still much to explore within this specific field.
As a personal premise, we believe that, whenever the light is the main and original element of creation, it is constituted as a piece of Light Art, regardless of whether or not light-emitting elements are found in the piece. The sole inquiry about light is a convening reason for reflection and the composition of art objects.
Luciana Suppicich started to study Lighting Design at the National University of Arts of Argentina in 2006. Since 2007, she has been working as a Lighting Designer Assistant and as a Lighting Designer. She has been working as a Lighting Coordinator in the El Excéntrico de la 18° theater since 2012.
Sophya Acosta graduated in Lighting Design from the National University of Arts of Argentina. She studied at the Institut del Teatre (BCN). As a Lighting Designer, Sophya worked in Argentina and Europe. Her Light Art Installations have been part of different events such as La Noche de Los Museos (Bs As), la Nit dels Museus (BCN), and museums and galleries from Argentina and Spain.
About the Studio
Sophya Acosta Lighting Design Studio is a partnership between Sophya Acosta and Luciana Suppicich, a team oftwo Argentinian artistic lighting designers. Our studio has as its main axis the artistic union, allowing us, project by project, to create together with various collaborators that nurture our work. Some of them are Lía Bianchi, Alvaro Valdecantos, WiL Argentina, Martín Fernandez Paponi, among others.
Our artistic search led us to investigate the field of Light Art and to create pieces where light was the main core and the main element of construction both in LATAM and Europe. Some of the companies that have worked with us are Opus 40, Pablito no Clavó Nada, Compañía Sin Domicilio Fijo and more recently, Fundación Épica La Fura Dels Baus.
In 2021, we also had the honor of having our own virtual stand within the prestigious CIFTIS 2021 International Fair, in which we represented Argentina in the Cultural Services Pavilion with the support of the Argentine Foreign Ministry, Santa Fe Exporta Digital, and Rafaela Emprende. Currently, our Firm is part of the Startup program of the Federal Investment Council of Argentina.
We are passionate about light in all its shapes and colors. We truly believe that light can transmit emotions and drive us to different worlds. We want to be ambassadors of the light and share the beauty of our profession.