awarded conceptual artist
Glistening light from inside a Jewish synagogue in Germany, which was hermetically sealed for eight weeks, flooded the nights and the location became „refraction house“. This fascinating, unmissable, but also difficult to bear monument, is a represantative example of this creative artist’s work. He has been honoured with the light art prize "for his outstanding use of light as a medium of public (inter)action" (quote from the foundation's declaration). "In his installations, the man reveals the political and social dimensions of light as an artistic material." He is one of the few German artists who has been developing his own oeuvre for decades, independent of the fashions of the art market. Nevertheless this conceptualist celebrates his works worldwide in the public space of Jerusalem, Venice, Marfa/US, Toronto, Bern/Switzerland, Katowice/Poland, Christchurch/New Zealand, Rio de Janeiro, Tokushima/Japan or Montevideo/Uruguay. His international presence is even more impressive for someone who holds Germany's only professorship for "public art/art in public space" bearing in mind that he didn’t study art!
awarded conceptual artist
Mischa Kuball (* 20 September 1959 in Duesseldorf) studied philosophy, but became well-known as an artist. With such a solid background it’s no surprise that his output since 1980 has a lot to communicate.
The substance of a deeper meaning is important for him according to his interview with German business-newspaper handelsblatt.com/arts: „The use of light has experienced an inflation. The privilege of bringing light to the people, as in the philosophy of the Enlightenment, has long since been taken over by players who have the technical possibilities but no longer want to provide any impetus in terms of content. In the past, church towers, town halls and meeting places were illuminated. Today, everything can be illuminated, even your own detached house, and charged with a supposed 'meaning' that it ultimately doesn't have. That's why I have to ask myself very carefully where and when I use this medium in order to be able to set this enlightening impulse.“
The fan of Peter Gabriel’s song „Solsbury Hill“ and the electronic music of Hans-Joachim Roedelius as well as Daniel Ansorge quickly follows words with deeds. A represantive example is the „missing link_“ installation in his hometown’s center. At the site only a dark, unobtrusive stone plaque reminds of the Great Synagogue that was a spiritual home for 5.500 people up until the Nazis burnt down the sacral architecture in early November 1938. Mischa Kuball secured „that the section of road in front of the memorial stone is brightly lit. A spotlight shines across the street onto a large banner hanging in front of the façade of the new building. It shows a large image of the old synagogue. "It's a real physical moment of pause that happens here," the maker is quoted in monopol-magazin.de. „The project brings the almost forgotten synagogue back to mind."
For a good reason the enthusiastic marathon runner can claim for himself being a „catalyser for processes in public space“ (deutschlandfunk.de). Despite the fact that German history as well as the Holocaust have always been central topics for him and he considers works as such a sign of peace, they‘re just one part of his artistic creation’s broad spectrum. That is presented in Kuball‘s books „...in progress. Projects 1980-2007“ and „public prepositions. 2009-2015“. In the first one Yukito Shikata, curator and critic of 20th-century art and media art as well as Visiting professor at Tama Art University and Tokyo Zokei University writes: "The phenomenological effects of lights - radiating, making visible, drawing attention to something - are used in such a way that the viewer's consciousness activated by them reaches beyond the symbolic connotations of the light itself."
The famous non-profit German cultural Goethe Institute notes on its website that the member of the Academy of Sciences and Arts NRW in Duesseldorf „explores architectural spaces and their social and political discourses by using the medium of light - in installations and photographs. He reflects on the various facets, from cultural social structures to architectural interventions that emphasise or recode the landmark character and architectural-historical context. Politically motivated and participatory projects interweave public and private space. They enable communication between the participants, the artist, the work and the urban space.“
During his laudation at the ceremony of the light art prize in 2016 Michael Schwarz (1940-2021), a former doctor of art history and professor of modern art history, aptly described Mischa Kuball as a "director of light" and a "gifted communicator and mediator of his work ideas", reported the daily newspaper Cellesche Zeitung. „Schwarz explained with almost rapturous enthusiasm the certain something about the artist that distinguishes his work from other works of light: it is the reference to people, who are "not only allowed to observe, but also to act" and are involved. And using specific examples, he explained how Kuball gears his projects towards the uniqueness of the respective location, building or square and relies on communication, solidarity and identification of those involved on site during realisation.“
Mischa Kuball and his wife Michèle are based in Duesseldorf, Germany.