Home > Exhibitions > Permanent Exhibitions > JAMES TURRELL

James Turrell
Catso, Red (1967), 1994
Drywall, paint, xenon projector
500 Sampsonia Way, 2nd floor

Light is a material with a three-dimensional quality in this cross corner projection, from the first series of light works Turrell made as a student.

Turrell has learned to carefully shape (sculpt) light so that it takes on an almost solid form. In Catso, a red cube appears to be suspended in the corner of a room.

 

 

James Turrell
Pleiades
, 1983
Drywall, paint, incandescent light
500 Sampsonia Way, 2nd floor

You approach the gallery through an inclined corridor so dark that you are virtually without sight. At the top of the ramp, you sit in a chair and face blackness. After your eyes adjust, an amorphous sphere of grey-white, or perhaps red, begins to appear, more a presence than an object. As you look harder, the form becomes smaller. You turn away for a moment and back again. It grows and glimmers. But the source of light itself is constant and still.

Pleiades is a Dark Piece where the realm of night vision touches the realm of eyes-closed vision, where the space generated is substantially different than the physical confines and is not dependent upon it, where the seeing that comes from 'out there' merges with the seeing that comes from 'in here,' where the seeing develops over and through dark adaptation but continues beyond it. It is the first piece in a series of works. While it relates to the last piece of the Mendota Stoppages, 1969-70, in that it develops over time, it is definitely a departure in that after the seeing develops, it is no longer static. The thing that gave me the idea to do this was the fact that I needed to work with very low levels of light for the night seeing in the crater piece. The last time that I had really worked in that arena was with the Mendota Stoppages where I had some very dark pieces that took a long time of dark adaptation, sometimes as much as fifteen minutes. When you actually had that seeing, though, the space that was generated was a static space – you saw it and could walk in it, but it didn't change. In this work, what is generated in you and what is actually out there become a little more equal. - James Turrell

 


James Turrell
Danaë, 1983
Drywall, paint, ultraviolet & incandescent light
500 Sampsonia Way, 2nd floor

From a darkened entryway, you walk into a long, white-walled room. On the far wall stretches a rectangle in lavender grey. As you move toward it, you slowly realize that instead of a painting, or a solid plane of any kind, it is an opening into a smaller room saturated with ultraviolet light.

Danaë is the first time I put light on the other side of the aperture. I have made pieces that took all their light from outside the space, like the one at the Whitney. - James Turrell

 


James Turrell, b. 1943, American

 


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