Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Light Art in Unna, Bonus Art Nearby

Unna, Germany, July 6th 2016, and several other cities and dates

For a light art enthusiast, a visit to Centre for International Light Art in Unna is like Himalaya for mountain climbers, just not dangerous at all and really easy to get to. Light art is usually quite approachable, so I strongly recommend the place for all art minded people – and those too, who have heard about art but haven't dared to try it yet. It's a good destination for professionals and beginners alike. Even for kids. Professional and beginner kids.

Unna is a nice small town, easily reachable, surrounded by other culturally inclined cities like Düsseldorf, Wuppertal, Essen, Münster and Cologne. In Unna, there really isn't much to see in addition to Light Art Centre. I know, I asked, and was offered a straightforward answer: Nothing. So, it's a good chance to include some nearby art to your one day itinerary.

Düsseldorf has a wonderful metro line with art included from the beginning of the planning of the stations. A refreshing metro trip break on your way to Unna is highly recommended. Münster, on the other hand hosts an acclaimed art festival every ten years. Unfortunately, the next one is nine years away, but save the date, it's definitely worth it. Some of the art works from festivals past are permanently retained in Münster, so there's a lot to see even between festivals. In Cologne, there's a superb Sculpture park and a lot of small galleries to visit.

Düsseldorf metro station – no commercials, just art
Detail of Hito Steyerl's piece in Skulptur Projekte Münster 2017.
Says all I want to say about the festival.
Sou Fujimoto's magrittesque work in Skulpturenpark Köln

The Light Art Centre's permanent collection has an all stars cast, including works from James Turrell, Olafur Eliasson, Christian Boltanski, Keith Sonnier and Brigitte Kowanz. The works are skillfully curated to the Centre's premises, a former brewery with some of the old walls and constructions still visible. With light art it's pretty hard to hide the surrounding space, and here it has been included instead. Especially in Keith Sonnier's piece the space plays an integral part. There's also temporal exhibitions on display, presenting themed group exhibitions, new names and known masters of light art.

Joseph Kosuth's work welcomes the visitors
with a text by Heinrich Heine
Mischa Kuball shatters the writing and
stops the speed with his mirror balls
Keith Sonnier's neon are boldly colourful and one with space
François Morellet is known for his elegant, space defining neon works

At the time of my visit there was a temporal exhibition called Switch on display, by the students of Hochschule für Bildende Künste Saarbrücken. Very promising students.

Maria Elena Schmidt (detail)
Ingo Wendt
Daniel Hausig
Nicole Fleisch

The visit to the exhibitions is by guided tour only. There are three tours daily from Tuesday to Friday and six on weekends and holidays. You cannot reserve a ticket for the tour, just show up and hope there are places left. Usually there are. The tour takes about an hour and a half and at the time of writing costs 10 euros.

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