Is one of my favourite artists. When I went to his Minamidera arthouse on Naoshima Island, Japan, it was one of my best art experiences ever. And then again to a skyspace in my home town Canberra, Australia. To be all consumed by his work is a wonderful feeling. (I’ll talk more about Naoshima later).
James Turrell is primarily concerned with light and space. He works with how light changes throughout the day and night and the colour associated with all these different times. But it’s very sophisticated, I feel I will not be able to do him justice in a few short sentences, so I will add some links for further information if you are intrigued. (And well you should be!) He usually builds some kind of structure that encloses the viewer to ‘control’ the changing light. But he has many exhibitions and light rooms in galleries also.
“My work is about space and the light that inhabits it. It is about how you confront that space and plumb it with vision. It is about your seeing, like the wordless thought that comes from looking into fire. “— James Turrell
Pretend you’re sitting on a bench in an outdoor building that has a large hole in the roof and you’re looking up – this is what you would see.
The two images above are from inside Turrell’s newest work “Skyspace” in Sarna, Sweden. He’s made many skyspaces but they are all different. As you can see the two images are vastly different in colour, but the space in which you stand to view the circle of sky is only lit with natural light. No other lights are there. So depending on the time of day you go there, you might experience your own unique combination of colours… This I love.
Doesn’t the mere fact that your experience might be colours that no one else has seen yet, make you feel special? How he plans these spaces and paints and constructs them so specifically is beyond me. But when you stand or sit in there for long enough and the colours change, it is a calm, relaxing, peaceful and happy experience.
I think Turrell is best known for his work in progress, Roden Crater. He acquired the crater in 1979. Located outside Flagstaff, Arizona, Turrell is turning this natural cinder volcanic crater into a massive naked-eye observatory, designed specifically for the viewing of celestial phenomena. Awesome.