Robert Irwin, Light and Space (2007) Collection Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; Museum purchase with funds from the Annenberg Foundation, 2007 © Robert Irwin. Light & Space Copenhagen Contemporary, 2021. Photo: David Stjernholm

Light & Space


– 04.09.22

Step into a world of light, colour, and gigantic installations in Light & Space, when CC for the first time in Europe brings together a rich array of art-world luminaries in an expansive 5,000 m2 exhibition on the American art movement known as Light and Space.

Explore historical artworks by James Turrell, Doug Wheeler, Helen Pashgian, Robert Irwin, Larry Bell, Bruce Nauman, Mary Corse, and many others – alongside works by contemporary European artists inspired by the pioneering art movement, among them Anish Kapoor, Olafur Eliasson, and Jeppe Hein.

The singular exhibition, CC’s biggest to date, sprawls across all five exhibition halls and ends in CC studio’s interactive laboratory where you can experiment with light, colour, and space and build with transparent LEGO and light.

In B&W’s old gigantic halls you will meet magnificent artworks, which vary in scale and materials and experiment with the art experience: From Robert Irwin’s over 16-metre-wide and 8-metre-tall work illuminated by 115 fluorescent tubes to Anish Kapoor’s renowned light-absorbing void. From Connie Zehr’s delicately sculptural landscape of sand mounds arranged across the floor to Doug Wheeler’s dome-shaped installation with a diameter of more than 20 metres erasing spatial boundaries into a luminous horizon. From Larry Bell’s human-sized glass cubes inspired by the fog rolling in over Venice Beach to James Turrell’s immersive Aftershock – one of his celebrated Ganzfeld works, made specifically for the exhibition at CC.

Light & Space features both historical and new works from the American light and installation art movement that emerged in Los Angeles in the 1960s. At the time, a number of young artists were experimenting with making art out of light and new materials inspired by Los Angeles’ mix of sun, surf culture, Hollywood glamour, spirituality, and endless traffic jams.
The artists worked separately but are collectively known as the Light and Space movement, and several of them have become some of the most coveted in the world.

The new materials that became available after WW2 triggered explorations of space and light. In turn, the Light and Space artists in various ways contributed to a radical shift in art, away from a focus on object and meaning to an awareness of how art and space are experienced with the body.

In their search for new artistic opportunities and expressions, the artists entered collaborations with the growing space industry and researchers from the University of California, where collaborative experiments with light, space, and materials were made.
Fibreglass, epoxy, and coated glass made it possible to create sleek, reflective surfaces, paving the way for a new style of art that expanded the traditional categories of painting and sculpture, changing how we experience art.

The innovations and experiments that the Light and Space artists introduced in the second half of the 20th century have inspired many of today’s leading architects and artists. The movement’s members blazed a trail for European artists like Anish Kapoor, Olafur Eliasson, AVPD, Ann Veronika Janssens, Jeppe Hein, and many others, who are also featured in the exhibition.

Light & Space highlights the connections between art from the American West Coast and contemporary European art across time and place. The exhibition offers fresh perspectives on the often-overlooked affinities between the Light and Space movement and today’s phenomenologically oriented European contemporary art.





Anish Kapoor, Ann Linn Palm Hansen, Ann Veronica Janssens, AVPD, Bruce Nauman, Connie Zehr, Craig Kauffman, De Wain Valentine, Doug Wheeler, Elyn Zimmerman, Eric Orr, Fred Eversley, Helen Pashgian, James Turrell, Jeppe Hein, John McCracken, Judy Chicago, Karin Sander, Laddie John Dill, Larry Bell, Lita Albuquerque, Mary Corse, Olafur Eliasson, Peter Alexander, Robert Irwin, Ron Cooper and Susan Kaiser Vogel

“My ambition is, in a sense, to make you see a little bit more tomorrow than you saw today.”

– Robert Irwin

Aftershock, 2021 © James Turrell, Installation view Light & Space at Copenhagen Contemporary, Photo by Florian Holzherr.

Helen Pashgian, Untitled (2006-2007)
Cast epoxy with formed acrylic elements. 15,2 cm (diameter)
Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London. Photo by Joshua White.

Doug Wheeler, LC 71 NY DZ 13 DW (2013)
Reinforced fiberglass, flat white titanium dioxide latex, LED light, and DMX control
1958,3 ✕ 2060,9 ✕ 556,3 cm
© Doug Wheeler. Courtesy David Zwirner. Photo: Tim Nyswander

Science and Contemporary Art in Hall 4

CC will use this ambitious exhibition to explore new paths in learning by providing new outreach educational formats centered on experimentation and labs for space, light, colour, physics and mathematics.

Do you want to know why the sky is blue, when shadows are long, or how the world would look if it were ‘mirrored’? In Science and Contemporary Art, you can experience new works of art and explore light and space using your senses. You can experience the world through colour filters, draw mirror images, build LEGO models, create your own artwork, and much more.

In addition, every Thursday we invite young people between 6-15 years to join the open Science Art Club from kl. 14-18, where all curious children and participate in colour experiments, theatre with shadow play, optical illusions, perspective drawing and construction competitions in LEGO.

Read about all CC’s events and creative activities here.

Robert Irwin, Untitled (1965-67)
Courtesy of Dia Art Foundation; Gift of Milly and Arne Glimcher. © Robert Irwin
Light & Space, Copenhagen Contemporary, 2021. Photo: David Stjernholm


Installation view Light & Space, Copenhagen Contemporary, 2021. Photo: David Stjernholm

Helen Pashgian, Untitled (2021)
Light & Space, Copenhagen Contemporary, 2021. Photo: David Stjernholm

Lita Albuquerque, Materia Prima (1979/2021)
Courtesy the artist. Installation view Light & Space, Copenhagen Contemporary, 2021. Photo: David Stjernholm

Lita Albuquerque, Materia Prima (1979/2021) [detail]
Courtesy the artist. Installation view Light & Space, Copenhagen Contemporary, 2021. Photo: David Stjernholm

Symposium: Light, Space and Contemporary Art

Copenhagen Contemporary og Institut for Kunst- og Kulturvidenskab ved Københavns Universitet inviterede i juni 2022 til et internationalt symposium med fokus på den amerikanske Light & Space bevægelse og dens indflydelse på europæisk samtidskunst.

If you didn’t have the opportunity to attend, you can see the entire symposium below.

First day of the symposium.

Second day of the symposium.

This exhibition is supported by

Private donation,  A. P. Møller og Hustru Chastine Mc-Kinney Møllers Fond til almene Formaal, Ny Carlsbergfondet, Realdania, Novo Nordisk Fonden, 15. Juni Fonden, Minister Erna Hamiltons Legat for Videnskab og Kunst, Overretssagfører L. Zeuthens Mindelegat, Konsul Georg Jorck og Hustru Emma Jorck’s Fond, Beckett-Fonden, Statens Kunstfond, Solar Fonden af 1978, Dreyers Fond, Terra Foundation for American Art, U.S. Embassy in Denmark, LEGO Foundation, Kvadrat A/S