Project team:

Client: Bergische Universität Wuppertal/D
Artist: Mischa Kuball

Design and media consultant: boros/Christian Boros, Wuppertal und Berlin/D

05. Jul 2013

The art of integrating art
The Bergische University in Wuppertal/D

Text: Alison Ritter
Photos: Sebastian Jarych

One issue that is sure to continue to cause discussion and controversy in the foreseeable future is: where does design end and art begin? Finding an answer certainly does not get any easier when you take a closer look at the work of Mischa Kuball.

Mischa Kuball is one of Europe’s most significant light artists. With his clear vision of reality he develops brilliant light art statements which inspire and overwhelm. He demands reactions. His approach is purposefully participatory – some of his pieces only come alive when the audience becomes involved, visually and in other ways. In addition to this, he shares his knowledge with his students at the Academy for Media Arts in Cologne. Light is an integral part of Mischa Kuball’s work. He uses the medium consciously and effectively. It serves him as a mouthpiece as well as providing food for thought. His work causes the observer to marvel and to wonder; it inspires thoughtfulness and may even bring a tear to the eye. He appreciates the value of light on all levels. So is he a lighting designer, a light artist or a light activist? Maybe he is quite simply a glowing example of a man of light.

Using the medium light – both in his installations and in photography – Mischa Kuball explores architectural spaces and contributes to social and political discourse. He is, of course, not the only one to work this way. There have always been artists whose work instigates social change and questions the world as it stands today. Yet everyone has their own approach and point of departure. Mischa Kuball’s work reflects a variety of facets, ranging from cultural and social structures to architectural interventions which accentuate or convert the landmark character or architecturally historical context of a place. All his installations remain very grass roots, however, at the same time contributing to the overall appearance of the public space. What Mischa Kuball aims to achieve is interaction between the observers of the work, the artist, the work itself, and public space. This he achieves through politically motivated, participatory projects, as can be seen in his latest work in the German town of Wuppertal.

The University of Wuppertal is a modern and recently established institution in the heart of the German province of North-Rhine Westphalia. To study in Wuppertal means to benefit from an exciting curriculum, well-organised degree courses, excellent pastoral care from motivated professors, as well as first-rate career opportunities. A wide range of subjects are offered, allowing for a number of different study paths, and preparing students adequately for the demands of modern-day work and career requirements. Amongst these are, for example, subject and degree combinations which are unique in Germany. Course contents are developed based on the newest and most innovative research and cross-curricular links are common. All sounds very promising, but there remains a problem: Wuppertal’s public image is that of an economically weak town and region, having suffered from decades of constant structural change. The quality and potential of the university, however, means Wuppertal is now looking towards the future and is set to leave the past behind forever …

In order to mark the university’s 40th anniversary, Mischa Kuball constructed a permanent light art project on the tower blocks of Grifflenberg campus: „MetaLicht“. […]


The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 88.

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