Image: James Turrell, Aquarius, Medium Circle Glass, 2019, L.E.D. light, etched glass and shallow space, 56” diameter, Runtime: 2.5 hours © James Turrell
Pace Gallery is honoured to present a solo exhibition of new works by Light and Space master James Turrell at 6 Burlington Gardens. On view from 11 February to 27 March 2020, the exhibition marks the artist’s ninth solo presentation with Pace and features four new works from his Constellation series. Influenced by the notion of phenomenology in pictorial art, Turrell’s early work focused on the dialectic between constructing light and painting with it, building on the sensorial experience of space, colour, and perception. These interactions became the foundation for Turrell’s later developed oeuvre, which evolved to an investigation of the immateriality of light itself.
With these new pieces, Turrell continues his exploration of technological possibilities combined with sensory practices and gradient colours. Presented in site-specific chambers, the works feature elliptical and circular shapes with a frosted glass surface animated by an array of technically advanced LED lights, which are mounted to a wall and generated by computer programming. The light changes are subtle and hypnotic, one colour morphing into the next. The programme runs on a loop that is imperceptible to the viewer, prompting a transcendental experience.
“To some degree, to control light I have to have a way to form it, so I use form almost like the stretcher bar of a canvas,” Turrell states. “When I prepare walls, I make them so perfect that you actually don’t pay attention to them. This is true of the architecture of form I use: I am interested in the form of the space and the form of territory, of how we consciously inhabit space.”
Since his earliest Projection Pieces (1966–69), Turrell’s exploration has expanded through various series, including Skyspaces (1974–), Ganzfelds (1976–), and perhaps most notably, his Roden Crater Project—an unprecedented large-scale artwork created within a volcanic cinder cone near Flagstaff, Arizona. Representing the culmination of the artist’s lifelong research in the field of human visual and psychological perception, Roden Crater (1977-) is a controlled environment for the experience and contemplation of how we see light in varying contexts. With fundraising and construction already underway, the project, once completed, will contain 21 viewing spaces and six tunnels, offering a gateway to the contemplation of light, time and landscape.