Poetics of Light – Truth and Reality of Knowledge


  • Cornelia Erdmann





light art, afterimage, optical illusion, seeing, perception, experience


Light makes our surroundings visible to us. Vision plays a substantial role in how we access our environment and make sense of it. Yet, the understanding of light vision suffers from the discrepancy between physical and perceptual facts. This contribution questions the rationale of how knowledge and truth are generated. Language may often not be adequate to activate and guide all of our senses whereas artworks, especially light art, may evoke thoughts and demonstrate experiences (of perceptual processes) that open up reflective attitudes on reality’s subjectiveness. In this essay, the original physical artwork can only be displayed as a representation. Printing light as images is in itself an experiment in knowledge production, a subjective experience. The imagery maps the light and colour effect of the artwork and invites the viewer to trace the installation’s experience as well as to try out the after-image effect and optical illusion, examining knowledge along the way.

How to Cite

Erdmann, C. (2022). Poetics of Light – Truth and Reality of Knowledge. Cubic Journal, 5(5), 62–69.



Author Biography

Cornelia Erdmann

Dr. Cornelia Erdmann is a German researcher and visual artist based in Hong Kong since 2006. With a background in fine art (MFA Public Art and New Artistic Strategies, Bauhaus- University Weimar, Germany) as well as in architecture (Dipl.-Ing. Arch, Bauhaus-University Weimar, Germany) she blurs the boundaries between creative disciplines, exploring modes of narrativity connecting subjective realities and objective spaces. Light is an integral medium of her research and practice. She specialises in site-specific installations and public art works that are found in private and public collections, and at light art festivals around the globe.


Classen, Constance. Worlds of Sense: Exploring the Senses in History and Across Cultures . London: Routledge, 1993. p. 68.

Elíasson, Ólafur, and Tor Nørretranders. Light! On Light in Life and the Life in Light . Klampenborg: Forlaget, 2015. p. 21.

Gibson, James J. The Perception of the Visual World . Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1950. p. 51.

Raizman-Kedar, Yael. “Plotinus’s Conception of Unity and Multiplicity as the Root to the Medieval Distinction between Lux and Lumen”. In Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37, no. 3 (1 September 2006): pp. 379–97.

Ronchi, Vasco. The Nature of Light. An Historical Survey. London: Heinemann Educational Books, 1970. pp. 261–84.

von Goethe, Johann Wolfgang. Goethe’s Theory of Colours . London: John Murray, 1840. §57.