Projection mapping artists combine light, space and technology to create otherworldly scenes on seemingly ordinary spaces. Often, these are large installations crafted by teams of professionals for outdoor venues. Sometimes, however, artists use these tools to create surprisingly intimate pieces for museums and other smaller spaces.
We look at 20 of the best modern projection mapping artists creating installations all across the globe.
Daniel Canogar places memory and loss at the center of his work. He incorporates examples of aging technology, such as VHS tapes, 35mm film and hard drives, with projection mapping playing a key role. “I like to break away from the confines of the flat screen and create three-dimensional installations that conceptualize media as sculpture,” he writes.
The artist known as CHiKA was born in Japan and is based in New York. She’s an educator, and founded an LED pixel mapping workshop for students. She’s also an accomplished projection-mapping artist and her works often include Japanese homophones that encourage viewers to examine and identify hidden meanings within seemingly simple geometric shapes. CHIKA is a 2020 participant of the Designers-in-Resident program at New York Hall of Science.
Transmedia artist Jacques-André Dupont investigates the intersection of movement and art through projection mapping. He specializes in paintmapping, in which he collaborates with visual artists to add movement to static designs. Once artists create static paintings, Dupont uses projection mapping to make elements in the piece move forward, change color or pulse with light. Dupont is currently part of a year-long art residency program at Taverne Gutenberg.
Philipp Frank started his career as a graffiti artist, and sometimes incorporates illustrations in his projection mapping work. He’s also known for using geometric patterns, which he moves and shifts with projection mapping. In one of his best-known installations, Trinity, paintings and geometry from Ludwig’s Church in Munich are projected onto canvas positioned on the altar. The original installation was accompanied by live organ music, making it a fully immersive experience for viewers.
Experiential artist Pablo Gnecco is based in New York City, and he’s the creative director of the design agency Studio Studio. He also works full-time as a creative technologist. Projection mapping often appears in his work. In one of his most innovative projects, Array, viewers were drawn into an empty alleyway in Atlanta, hoping to be rewarded by appearing in the projection mapping display highlighting screens above.
Dev Harlan is a self-educated artist, and he’s held solo exhibitions at the Christopher Henry Gallery, the Vasquez Gallery in Brooklyn and the Northern-Southern in Austin. His installations are often small, and surprisingly intricate. For example, in his Found Rock series, plain stones come alive with color, handwritten messages and photography. Each piece is different, due to the unique shapes of the rocks he uses.
Brooklyn-based Cody Healey-Conelly considers video and projection his primary tools, and in his work, he explores the intersection of people, technology and the environment. In his Planet Triage projection mapping installation at Wageningen University, he explored radical solutions for climate change through sculpture, projection mapping and custom audio.
Artist, art director and lecturer Julian Höelscher is based in Germany and strives to create immersive art that draws viewers into another world. In his 2019 exhibit called Finsterwald, viewers were drawn into the world of a Grimm’s fairy tale, and once there, encouraged to begin their own journeys. The projection mapping included letters, plants, water and illustration.
Bart Kresa, who often attributes his work to BARTKRESA Studio or BKS, has over 25 years of experience in art, and specializes in projection mapping. His clients include Universal Studios, Disney, HBO and Warner Brothers. In a current touring installation, Sviatovid, a 15-foot tall projection-mapped skull lights up the sky with color, images and illustrations. The piece looks different from every angle, and viewers are encouraged to walk around it and peer at it from all sides.
Joanie Lemercier is a French visual artist, and he’s worked with projected light since 2006. His work has appeared in the China Museum of Digital Art, and he’s created projections for music festivals and individual touring musicians. A recent project, Motif Wallpaper, contains geometric patterns augmented by beams of light. Visitors can alter the projection and shift the composition with a gentle touch.
Davy and Kristin McGuire
Husband-and-wife team Davy and Kristin McGuire created the world’s first projection mapped animated pop-up book, The Icebook, in 2009. A miniature stage of pages set the scene for intricate projections that made the pages come alive. In later installations, they’ve used projection on marble statues, blank walls, jars and more.
Geert Mul has produced over 20 art installations in hospitals, schools and other public buildings. His works have also appeared in museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New Delhi, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto. He uses natural shapes, such as leaves and clouds, in his work. He also incorporates faces, illustrations, and geometric shapes.
Animator, projection artist and lecturer Motomichi Nakamura was born and raised in Japan, and is currently based in Brooklyn. In addition to projection mapping, he’s also worked in painting, sculpture and animation. He considers himself new to projection mapping, but his work has already gotten him noticed. For the Magic City exhibition at the Munich Olympic Center, tiny white human forms moved across furniture purchased at IKEA. The result is both eerie and playful.
British artist and designer Chris O’Shea is also an author, event co-founder, blogger and business leader. “I use technology to make the unimaginable come to life,” he writes. Many of his installations are made for children, and they incorporate an element of play into traditional museum spaces. His works and collaborations have been commissioned by the BBC, Barbican, FACT, Design Museum London and Science Gallery Dublin, and shown by the British Council Japan, MoMA and Kinetica Art Fair.
Florian and Michael Quistrebert
Brothers Florian and Michael Quistrebert collaborate on paintings, videos and projection mapping projects. In a recent piece, appearing at the EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam, their projections appeared on tiny droplets of water before moving to the roof of the building itself. These are large installations, made for many people to watch together in communal wonder.
Filip Roca is a visual and new media artist based in Barcelona. He’s worked with projection mapping since 2014, and his work has appeared all over the world. In his Mother projection, which appeared during the Sharjah Light Festival of 2019, seashells, human lungs and galaxies illuminated the night sky and showcased the beauty found in nature.
Rebecca Smith considers herself a “creative engineer,” and she seeks to surprise and engage her audience. Her works have appeared in spaces both small (including stages) and large (including eight-story tower blocks). She is never satisfied with the limits of her medium, and she’s always looking for ways to tell a story in a new way, fusing hand-crafted art forms with digital technologies.
Installation artist Jennifer Steinkamp is best known for her work that features organic elements moving and shifting incrementally. In her Primordial installation, for example, eels and jellyfish swim in a deep soup that pulsates with light. In her Judy Crook series, trees lose their leaves and change color as they move in a gentle breeze.
Romain Tardy lives and works in Brussels, and is known for his large-form digital installations. But he dislikes the way in which his art is often described. “My primary focus is to create tangible, offline art installations. I don’t consider my work as digital art,” he writes. His art often includes storytelling elements, including detailed backstories, and encourages viewers to re-examine their own biases.
Kit Webster combines projection mapping, LED light, and musical composition. His work has appeared in museums, festivals, concerts and commercial projects. In his Supernova project, reflective spheres gather and bounce the light in time with the music. “The work conjures a sense of the infinite and the precision and intricacies of vibrating frequencies that combine to fuse our environment, whether on a quantum or cosmic level,” he explains.