Installation View at Whitney Museum, New York


Oskar Fischinger

Raumlichtkunst (c. 1926/2012)

Three-projector HD reconstruction by Center for Visual Music


" exhilarating phantasmagoria of abstraction and metaphor" - New York Times, 2012

"a triptych from 1926 by the great Oskar Fischinger, an artisanal wizard" - Roberta Smith, NY Times, 2016

Artforum's Best of 2012, Top 10 Lists

"A hallucinatory mind-blower" - Time Out New York

Installation View at Whitney Museum, New York


Current Exhibition

ACMI, Melbourne, Australia, opened February 11, 2021. Details on ACMI site.
Looped installation, on view during museum opening hours.


Previous Exhibitions

Weinstein Gallery at SOMA Location, San Francisco. Dec 16, 2017 - February 10, 2018.

Len Lye Centre/Govett Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, New Zealand. April - August, 2017.

Whitney Museum, New York - October 28, 2016 - Feb. 5, 2017
in Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905-2016. Press Release (PDF)

QAG/GOMA, Brisbane, Australia - October 2014 - May 24, 2015

Palais de Tokyo, Paris, June to September, 2013
in the exhibition La Fin de la Nuit

Tate Modern, London - June 2012 to March 2013

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York - June 28 to October 28, 2012

eflux from 2012 Whitney exhibition



Installation View at Whitney Museum, New York



New York Times (Ken Johnson), July 26, 2012: The Lines and Shapes of a Mystical Stenography

artforum, Sept. 25, 2012: Three's Company, by Suzanne Buchan

Time Out New York, July: Oskar Fischinger: Space Light Art - A Film Environment

(more press links at bottom of page)



Raum Wh


In 1926, abstract filmmaker Oskar Fischinger (1900-1967) began performing multiple projector cinema shows in Germany with up to five 35mm film projectors, color filters and slides. Fischinger wrote of his concept of Raumlichtmusik (space-light-music), believing all the arts would merge in this new art. The critics called his performances "Raumlichtkunst" and praised Fischinger's  “original art vision which can only be expressed through film.” These shows represent some of the earliest attempts at cinematic immersive environments, and are a precursor to expanded cinema and 1960's light shows.

Under the concept name of "Raumlichtkunst," Fischinger performed several different versions of these multiple projector shows in the late 1920s, some of which were called Fieber and Macht (Power). Biographer William Moritz speculated that another name used may have been R-1 ein Formspiel, though no reviews or documentation exist of this name. Our re-creation does not strive to represent any one specific performance, rather the concept and effect of Fischinger's series of shows.

Working with Fischinger's original 1920s nitrate film, Center for Visual Music restored the 35mm film via traditional photochemical processes, transferred to HD, digitally restored the color, and reconstructed this 3 screen recreation of his c. 1926 - 27 performances.The 3 screen installation is projected in High Definition video. No documentation exists of the original music used, other than reports of "various percussive" accompaniment. For this re-creation we have chosen to use Varese's Ionisation and two versions of Double Music by John Cage and Lou Harrison.

Long before he became an American, Fischinger was part of the international avant-garde of modernism's most radical phase. Oskar's early abstract experiments push aside narrative and reduce cinema to pure plane, scale, motion and color. Because of his highly accessible later work, especially from Radio Dynamics onward, and because of the musical dimension, he is generally regarded as a colorist/lyrical film-maker. But the early experiments including Raumlichtkunst are much more formalist and invested in the specificity of the medium. They are closer to Malevich, the suprematists and the futurists in intent - all in search of the absolute in painting and in cinema.

(text by CVM, 2012)

See below for credits, press, essays, links and further information


Curator/archivist Cindy Keefer has given illustrated talks about Raumlichtkunst and Fischinger in New York, London, Linz, Brisbane, Hamburg, Oberhausen, New Plymouth NZ, Laguna Beach CA, Sonoma CA and other cities.

Contact CVM at cvmaccess (at)


Installation View at Len Lye Centre, NZ


Contact Center for Visual Music - cvmaccess (at) gmail (dot) com



Curator/Archivist: Cindy Keefer

Music Consultant: Richard H. Brown, Ph.D.

Restoration and Reconstruction by Center for Visual Music

Film restoration supported by an Avant-Garde Masters Grant, funded by The Film Foundation,
administered by The National Film Preservation Foundation

Thanks to: Barbara Fischinger, Cinemaculture, William Moritz, Chrissie Iles, Stuart Comer, The Fischinger Trust, and Xarene Eskander. Additional thanks to Goethe Institut Paris (for support during Paris exhibition), Joshua Harrell, and Media City (Ontario).

Film restoration done by CVM at Film Technology Co., Inc., Hollywood. HD post-production and color timing at Technicolor. Thanks to Opticus for L.A. HD projection tests.





Detail from Raumlichtkunst

Images (c) Center for Visual Music, 2012-19
thanks to cinemaculture


RECENT PRESS and Bibliography

2019. Sarah Street and Joshua Yumibe, Chromatic Modernity: Color, Cinema and Media of the 1920s. Columbia University Press.

2017-18. Cindy Keefer. "Raumlichtkunst - Fischinger and Abstract Cinema Immersive Environments." in Weinstein Gallery, San Francisco exhibition brochure for Raumlichtkunst exhibition, PDF here of selected pages, also includes shorter piece by Keefer, "Oskar Fischinger: Raumlichtkunst.".

2018. Glossary Magazine, Feb 6. Review as Dialogue: Cindy Keefer of CVM on Oskar Fischinger at Weinstein Gallery,

2017. Taranaki Daily News. Avant-garde music and cinema installation comes to New Plymouth's Len Lye Centre. May 15.

2016. Nick Pinkerton, Dreamlands.

2016. Roberta Smith, New York Times. Diving into Movie Palaces of the Mind at the Whitney. December 1

2016. Andrew Uroskie, 4Columns. Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art. December 2

2014. The Sublime and Cultural Difference by Kathryn Weir on QAG/Goma blog (Brisbane), 30 September.

2013. Keefer, Cindy. Oskar Fischinger's Raumlichtkunst. In Keefer, Cindy and J Guldemond, eds., Oskar Fischinger (1900-1967): Experiments in Cinematic Abstraction. Amsterdam and Los Angeles: EYE Filmmuseum and Center for Visual Music, 2013.

2013. Vertical Cinema, Kontraste Cahier #3. Edited by Mirna Belina and Sonic Acts. Amsterdam: Sonic Acts Press.

December 2012: Artforum, Best of 2012, Top 10 List by J. Hoberman (NOTE: Incorrect credit)

November, Art in America, Reviews, New York: Oskar Fischinger at Whitney

Sept. 25, 2012: Artforum, Three's Company, by Suzanne Buchan

September: SPIKE Art Quarterly (Austria) - "Oskar Fischinger" by Fionne Meade. On

August 28. Time Out New York Review, by Joseph Wolin

July 26, 2012. New York Times The Lines and Shapes of a Mystical Stenography by Ken Johnson

July 25, Movie Journal, J. Hoberman. Oskar Fischinger's Film of the Future, 1926. Artinfo online.

July 14. Oskar Fischinger's Raumlichtkunst. Michael Sporn, Animation Splog

July, 2012. The New Yorker. Oskar Fischinger: Space Light Art - A Film Environment

May, 2012: Artlog magazine - "A Multimedia Pioneer at The Whitney"

April 26, 2012: Unframed, LACMA Blog

Keefer, Cindy. 'Raumlichtmusik' - Early 20th Century Abstract Cinema Immersive Environments. Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Creative Data Special Issue. Leonardo: The International Society for the Arts, Sciences, and Technology, and MIT Press. October 2009. PDF.

2009 Press about CVM's preservation project, online at Animation World Network

Keefer, Cindy. "Space Light Art" - Early Abstract Cinema and Multimedia, 1900-1959. White Noise. Ernest Edmonds and Mike Stubbs, Eds. Melbourne: Australian Centre for the Moving Image, 2005. Ex. Cat.

Moritz, William. Optical Poetry: The Life and Work of Oskar Fischinger. John Libbey Publishing, 2004, pp. 11-16, 202-204.


Other Links:

CVM's Fischinger Research Pages

Center for Visual Music

Oskar Fischinger DVDs at CVM's shop - also red silk Raumlichtkunst scarf


FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact CVM at cvmaccess (at) gmail dot com

Images and text (c) Center for Visual Music, 2012-2021, all rights reserved. Please seek permission to reproduce or distribute