James Turrell in Garage Center for Contemporary Culture

Written by GUYS². Posted in Moscow Blog, The Moscow News

James Turrell in Garage Center for Contemporary Culture


Garage Center for Contemporary Culture will present the first solo exhibition in Russia by one of the world’s most important contemporary artists – James Turrell. The American artist will be the subject of a retrospective spanning 40 years, including early experiments with light projections from the 1960s, a specially commissioned Ganzfeld installation (Purusa) and Perceptual Cell (Light ReignFall), presented here for the first time.

James Turrell has been creating art from light and space since the 1960s. Over nearly five decades, he has developed an extensive body of work that includes sculptures, holograms, installations, and architecture. His carefully constructed environments are catalysts for viewers to explore the phenomena of perception. By capturing and emphasizing the evanescent and refractory qualities of light, Turrell engineers works of art that must be experienced rather than just viewed.

At Garage, 15 light works, including the horizonless and imageless landscape of Purusa (2011), will be on view. This newly commissioned work invites visitors to enter a completely immersive light landscape, engulfing them in a ‘sublime bath of light’ that produces a sense of perceptual disorientation. Turrell describes this effect as ‘feeling with your eyes’, an experience he regards as not just aesthetic but also spiritual.

The relation of exterior light to interior light is explored further with the intimately-scaled, self-contained chamber Light ReignFall, a fully immersive visual and auditory environment of intense light lasting 8 to 12 minutes. Inside the chamber, a single viewer is bathed in a sequence of lights that triggers the ability to discover the connection between exterior and interior light, between light seen through the eyes and light seen behind the eyes (as in a dream).

The exhibition will also include a Space Division Construction, a Shallow Space Construction and a work from the Wedgework series, together with seven reflective and transmissive Holograms.

Several models for Autonomous Structures, which are freestanding chambers which contain a Ganzfeld or Skyspace interior with a central opening to the sky, will also be on view. As the artist explains, ‘Autonomous Structures are just containers for the light, the art is in the experience of the viewer.’ These spaces evolved from Turrell’s most ambitious project to date and the crux of his artistic endeavors—the transformation of the Roden Crater, a dormant volcano in the Arizona desert. The crater is a monumental celestial observatory, housing a number of site-specific light installations that are often contained within the artist’s Autonomous Structures.

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