see! colour! – james turrell

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Yves Klein was fascinated with the optical effect that monochromatic colour had. In his case it was the particular pigment of ‘International Klein Blue’ which he was able to lose himself in. He produced almost 200 identical blue canvases that rejected all representation and allowed for a purity and freedom – a boundlessness and depth that can only be found in pure colour.

The fascination with the ‘immateriality’ of colour and its strong force translates into the work of American contemporary artist James Turrell, who is currently exhibiting at the Kulturhuset in Järna, Sweden (See! Colour! runs through 4 October).

Turrell creates large installations using light, space and colour as his subejcts; Ganzfeld (above) is a room-filled light and colour installation that modulates between the red and blue ends of the colour spectrum. Losing all sense of space and scale, the eyes are easily lost in the infinite depth of colour. Colour has the ability to simultaneously define yet also dissolve into nothingness, to be material yet immaterial, drawing its viewers into a disorienting and captivating state where weightlessness and density coexist.

Turrell takes great care to tailor his pieces to the locations they are viewed in, making them site-specific and unique to that time and place; Skyspace, a walk-in-sculpture set outdoors in a small cylindrical room with a skylight, is best viewed at sunrise and sunset so that the dialogue between natural and artificial light is exaggerated.

‘Light is all around us, it’s what feeds out bodies, while we describe emotions, art and life through the language of light and colour […] My work has always been informed with an exploration of a landscape without horizons, like a whiteout, the rapture of the deep. I try to create a horizon-less, gravity-less space,’ says Turrell.

Here, the Director of the Wolfsburg’s Kunstmuseum discusses Turrell’s installation of Ganzfeld in the German museum:


For information on Turrell’s other works on show in Järna go to Cool Hunting

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Blogging about art, architecture and design that tickle my fancy.

One thought on “see! colour! – james turrell”

  1. Pingback: mist rooms – ann veronica janssens « INTOFORM

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