Space, Light, Aquarius, Varda
Photograph by Florian Holzherr, 2005
Propelled by astronomy, physics and theology in the midst as points of departure, seminal artist James Turell has since over 50 years now been making art informed by matters of light/space, colour and perception, materializing notably in sensory interventions in the intersection of architecture and installation. “This is not Minimalism and it is not conceptual work; it’s perceptual work.”, Turrell has previously said of his body of work (1). Turrell's legacy was recently brought to "new light", when transcending into a popular cultural realm by way of the now infamous and visually paraphrasing 'Hotline Bling' video by Drake, and he humorously stated at the time, being truly flattered by having Drake "f*ucking with him" and his work. Fast-forward a few years and Turrell is soon unveiling new unseen works in what will be his ninth solo exhibition with Pace Gallery (Pace London, Burlington Gardens). Continuing his long-standing investigation on the material/immaterial dichotomy concerning light, and looking further into the technological possibilities tied with sensory experiences, the exhibition is centered around four new works from the Constellation series staged in site-designed chambers. The works will feature elliptical and circular shapes with a frosted and curved glass surface animated by an array of technically advanced LED lights, which are mounted to a wall and generated by a computer programme. The light changes will appear subtle, with colours morphing into each other. The programme runs on a loop that is imperceptible to the viewer, which is said to prompt a transcendental experience of sorts. “My interest in the perception of light is in giving it thingness. It exists just as a physical object has presence. I make thingness of perception by putting limits on it in a formal manner. There is no object there, only objectified perception. By putting into question physicality and objectness, the work may reveal more about physicality than any physical object.” says Turrell (2).
(Above) James Turrell, 'VARDA', 2017, Installation, LED light, etched glass, shallow space, © James Turrell, courtesy Pace Gallery
(Above and below) James Turrell, Aquarius, Medium Circle Glass, 2019, L.E.D. light, etched glass and shallow space © James Turrell, Courtesy Pace Gallery
(Below) James Turrell, 'VARDA', 2017, Installation, LED light, etched glass, shallow space, © James Turrell, courtesy Pace Gallery
1) James Turrell, interview by Kim Bradley, Artspace 13, no. 1 (Winter 1988-89), p. 50. (Guggenheim book, p.31).
2) James Turrell “Early Flight” in Air Mass: James Turrell, ed. Mark Holborn, exh. cat (London: South Bank Centre, 1993), p.26. (Guggenheim, p 50).
11 February – 27 March 2020 PACE London
6 Burlington Gardens, W1S 3ET
Monday 10 February 2020
James Turrell, Aquarius, Medium Circle Glass, 2019, L.E.D. light, etched glass and shallow space © James Turrell, Courtesy Pace Gallery
Note: The exhibition at Pace in London coincides with the gallery's solo-presentation of works by Turrell at the upcomong Frieze L.A. (February 14 – 16, 2020). The exhibition 'James Turrell: Passages of Light' is moreover currently on view until 29 March 2020 at Fundación Jumex, Mexico City.