About LIFA

Electric light experienced an unexpected increase in importance in the art of the late 20th century. Artists used light in drawings, paintings, sculptures, installations, interventions, and performances. The examination of light as material, medium and metaphor stimulated not only technical innovations but also new artistic and scientific findings.

In the meantime, the field has been expanded further, both medially and thematically, by contemporary phenomena such as digitalization, ecological and political crises, and new technologies such as the LED. Large-format mappings at the interface to projection art are causing a sensation everywhere. Artists explore light as information, reflect on the production of artificial light against an ecological background or implement it to draw attention to political grievances in activist interventions. The medium of light seems to have a special potential to make political, ecological, or digital interdependencies physically perceptible and intellectually reflectable by directly relating light, space, and body of the recipient.

LIFAresearch wishes to offer a platform for this development by building up an archive that documents important positions taken up by light art of the 20th and 21st centuries. The database is available to all cooperation partners for teaching, research, and investigation within the framework of copyright regulations. The image material is initially displayed in pixelated form. After a free registration and the corresponding agreement to refrain from commercial use, the image material is displayed without pixels for the logged-in user. When accessing the image and text resources, authorship, and previous publication sources (as far they are known) are indicated.

In cooperation with partners, LIFAresearch regularly organizes conferences on the topic of "Light in the Visual Arts". Under the name "LIFA Colloquium", this conference accompanies the most diverse aspects and areas of the discourse on light art. The currently planned conference date and past events are listed here: Colloquia I to (planned) VIII


LIFA (Light in Fine Arts) sees itself as a network of cooperating institutions, art scholars, artists, curators, and others who investigate, discuss, and work on further developing the medium of light in art. Within the framework of the LIFA colloquia, various cooperation partners invite you to attend lectures and rounds of discussion on 'Light in Art'. LIFAresearch has been the result of this initiative - an online database that records international positions, from pioneers of light art to contemporary artists and their works, according to scientific standards and makes them available on a digital platform.

The selection of positions is curated by the LIFAresearch editorial team to guarantee the focus on the medium of light in art and is being expanded constantly. Qualitative criteria such as:

1. the use and proportion of light as a material and medium in the overall work must be primary.

2. the preoccupation with light must be recognizable as a continuing question in the work of the artist or group of artists.

3. the questions most vital for inclusion in the LIFA-Archive are the degree of stringency of its artistic question, to what degree the approach is innovative and how lasting the effect of the work will be in the professional world.

The database is available to private individuals within the framework of copyright regulations, but also to all cooperation partners for teaching, research, and investigation. The image material is initially displayed in pixelated form and can only be viewed by registering free of charge. For the purpose of documenting information on the artists as accurately as possible and particularly for the registered works, we are dependent on assistance. Reliable information enables us to provide even more qualified information. We are therefore pleased about every work of art submitted here and every direct contact.

LIFA guide for editors as PDF download Is currently only available in German.