James Turrell


Installation, 6.5 x 6.5 x 5.5 m.

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. BK6992_M182).

James Turrell’s installations are usually site specific and demand a certain degree of time from the viewer in order to fully experience the ‘illusionistic’ effects of space and light. The relationship between these two elements are essential to the artist’s work. Turrell makes light visible by lending it a spatial, near tangible quality. James Turrell started creating his Skyspaces in the mid-1970s. He has since constructed these at various points around the globe, including France, Italy, Ireland, Israel, the U.S.A. and the Netherlands.

The M HKA rooftop terrace has its own Skyspace: a cube-shaped space with a single door opening and a square hole in the ceiling. Bench seats are provided along the walls. During the day one can peer through the small cutout and admire the sky, seemingly in constant motion. At dusk, the blue light grows progressively deeper, clouds and passing airplanes become invisible and the first stars emerge. Until the opening seems filled with a velvety jet-black cloth, like a dark square that appears to be painted on the ceiling. Depth perception fades away, the black seems impenetrable while the sky outside the cube – visible through the door opening – follows its normal course from day to night. This experience not only brings about a new consciousness of light and space but also evokes a new awareness of time to the viewer.

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