A review of James Turrell at Houghton Hall
The role of an artist is to show us the world in a new light. To open our eyes to what we already see.
Turrell is a connoisseur of light and as a pilot is intimate with the sky in all its variance. Here in Norfolk he reveals the subtlety and variety of our maritime sky, the moisture in the air softening the light in a way that would never be seen in Arizona.
Turrell believes our eyes are most suited to seeing at dusk when there is very little light. St Elmo’s Breath is his most ephemeral piece at Houghton and reveals to us that we can see much more than we ever thought possible. The effect is so subtle that at first it is hard to believe you are really seeing anything, but gradually the photons start to accumulate and a silken carpet of red light reveals the space to us.
The poetic rationalism of his work has a strong resonance with the Palladian architecture of Houghton. Models of his work inside a crater in Pasadena reveal platonic volumes hollowed out from the earth which frame the nebulous phenomena of the sky so we might see them afresh.
James Turrell at Houghton Hall until 24th October 2015.
Guest review by Jeremy Walker, HeathWalker Studio, with thanks. Photographs, owl’s house london.
Seldom Seen, 2002, James Turrell. Photograph: Peter Huggins
I can’t wait to visit the James Turrell exhibition in Norfolk next weekend. Jonathan Jones calls it ‘a psychedelic legal high in the English countryside’ (read his review, here)
Houghton hall, a beautiful Palladian house on the North Norfolk coast, already has an impressive art collection, with works by Richard Long, Jeppe Hein and Rachel Whiteread. There is a previously commissioned piece by Turrell, called Skyspace, from 2000 (image above). This current exhibition includes the illumination of the Hall’s facade into a light show, which begins at dusk on Friday and Saturday evenings.
LightScape, James Turrell at Houghton Hall, North Norfolk until 24th October 2015.
More James Turrell, here
James Turrell, Aten Reign, 2013
Daylight and LED light, dimensions variable © James Turrell
Photo: David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York
Site specific, the installation consists of a series of rings suspended from the ceiling of the Guggenheim’s rotunda. Each ring is lit from below by a series of ever-changing LED lights, and from above by the sunlight filtering down from the rotunda’s oculus. The piece cycles between colors, and over the course of the day, varying amounts of sunlight mean that Aten Reign is composed of an almost infinite variety of colors and states.
James Turrell, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, June 21–September 25, 2013
More happenings, here