Kayne Griffin Corcoran Los Angeles is currently exhibiting a selection of new and historic works by James Turrell, including four unique glass works, together with his Autonomous Structures series, a as well as models and prototypes of architectural spaces made between 1989 and 1991. The works on view epitomize his ongoing conversation with light in a retrospective that looks back on the last fifty years through a focused group of pieces. Light and space become a mode of understanding space and time, echoing the circumstances of perception, and building an architecture in its own right. The viewer perceives his sites only through consciousness, with light functioning as an interior mirror reflecting the spatial and temporal depths of one’s seeing, and the presence within space. “I’ve always wanted to make a light that looks like the light you see in your dream,” Turrell says. “Because the way that light infuses the dream, the way the atmosphere is colored, the way light rains off people…we don’t normally see light like that. But we all know it.” Turrell does not aim at bringing the viewer to a dazed, exotic zone; he wants to recall this other dimension we know innately. The exhibition introduces four new glass works, each installed with its own scale, shape and experience of color and space. Here, light is taken and materialized into a glass-like volume that brings together analogous entities from opposite poles. The immaterial nature of the work causes pure light to inhabit a physical location within the emptiness of air. The room brims with the homogeneity of light that carries the viewer through a temporal experience of color within the physical and perceptual experience of light transforming into substance. The Autonomous structures in the show have the purpose of creating unique architectural spaces that are destined to shape perception. These spaces contain light, yet the contents within the structures must be approached and navigated with knowledge that the separation between darkness and light that can be profoundly disorienting. Turrell creates models of these structures cast in pure plaster drawing on a wealth of exotic imaginary architecture of the past.
These structures are a direct reference to Roden Crater, Turrell’s monumental earthwork in the deep desert northeast of Flagstaff, Arizona. Designed as a series of spatial interventions and interpretations of the natural landscape, Turrell’s structures on the land are designed as massive experiential spaces for viewing and perceiving light. Like the naked eye observatories of civilizations past, Roden Crater is created to reveal celestial phenomena. The linked complex of interior and exterior spaces hold the direct and reflected light of the sun, the moon and the stars, enhancing perception and the connection between interior and exterior worlds, the individual and the infinite. The aesthetic focus of the work is related to astronomy, the quintessential science of light and places the viewer within the context of the universe.
The light or darkness experienced within Turrell’s installations. The desired silent sensations that are hunted and composed in the light of Turrell’s work cannot be held in the faultless and ethereal matter. The transcendental announces a matter which can only be perceived when submitting fully to the light.
The show closes tomorrow, August 25th.
— D. Fenicia
James Turrell at Kayne Griffin Corcoran [Exhibition Site]