James Turrell Is An Architect Of Light
No matter how sophisticated our tastes, or how mature our minds become, we’ll always be fascinated by color and light, and James Turrell is a master at manipulating both. He’s an American artist who uses light, color, and space to conjure up entrancing work, creating sensory experiences that take the viewer on psychedelic journeys. These techniques are featured prominently in an exhibition in Sweden called SEE! COLOUR!, along with a selection of Turrell’s other works.
In Bindu Shards, the piece embedded above, which was exhibited at the Gagosian Gallery in London last year, the viewer is placed inside a white painted metal sphere called a “perceptual cell.” Once inside, we witness an optical odyssey. Flashing lights and audio produce a powerful hallucinatory experience, exploiting the “Purkinje effect”—a patterning perceived when transitioning from light to dark. With eyes closed, the participant is taken on a sensory journey as a myriad of colors and forms wash over them, an experience that is sure to bend even the firmest of minds.
Along with this mind-expanding light work, there is also Skyspace, a walk-in sound sculpture, and the two-story Ganzfeld, along with pictures from Turrell’s piece Roden Crater that he’s been working on since the 1970s. He’s transforming the inner cone of the 400,000-year-old volcanic crater into a light observatory, which could possibly be the largest contemporary art piece on earth once it’s finished.
Above is a video showing Turrell’s Ganzfeld on show at Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg in Germany, while below he discusses the Roden Crater.