Opened at the end of May 2001 in the former Linden Brewery in Unna the Centre for International Light Art Unna is the first and only museum worldwide dedicated exclusively to Light Art. The exhibition area is fascinating in its own right and a highly effective setting for the works of art. The outward sign of the museum - visible from afar - is a 52 m high chimney; and deep under the earth are 2.400 m2 of exhibition space for this contemporary genre of art. The former brewery, which between 1852 and 1979 produced the famous Linden-Adler Pilsener is today part of the Ruhr District´s "Route of Industrial Heritage". In the labyrinthine corridors, cold storage cellars and fermenting vats of the former brewery the artists created a mysterious world of light and shadow.
Light Art, using mainly artificial light as a medium, emerged in the 1960´s and is thus a relatively recent art form. Its roots, however, go much further back: Since the developement of central perspective at the time of the Renaissance the history of Western Art has been mainly the history of changing conceptions of light and space. While the Impressionists, for instance, left the studio to explore the efect of light on form, the light artists of today use light itself as the form and content of their works.
At the Centre for International Light Art in Unna there is 10 metres underground a mysterious world of light and shadow. Eleven internationally renowned artists are presented in the permanent exhibition. The spectator is thus enabled to form a comprehensive picture of the different manifestations and forms of this relatively young genre of light art. Apart from the presentation of ambitious permanent and temporary exhibitions, the museum forms also a forum for discussions, symposia, conferences and workshops related to the topic of light.
Twelve of the internationally most renowned light artists have designed permanent installations for the cellars of the former Linden Brewery: Mario Merz, Joseph Kosuth, James Turrell, Mischa Kuball, Christina Kubisch, Brigitte Kowanz, Johannes Dinnebier, Keith Sonnier, François Morellet, Christian Boltanski, Jan van Munster und Olafur Eliasson.