James Turrell: Afrum (Pale Pink), 1967
In Afrum (Pale Pink) (1967), a single projector casts a basic geometric form of a pyramid or tetrahedron onto the opposing corner in a darkened room. An optical illusion creates a volume and mass floating untethered in space. A pure and mesmerizing effect overcomes the viewer alone in the room. The installation activates a heightened sensory awareness that promotes discovery: what seems to be a lustrous, suspended cube is actually the conjunction of two flat panels of projected light.
James Turrell (b.1943). Beginning his art career in the 1960s, James Turrell’s work is primarily an exploration of light and space. By making light the subject of the revelation, Turrell’s work challenges the very nature of how and what is perceived and, in particular, how what is perceived affects and forms the reality lived. One part meditative and another confounding, Turrell’s works heighten the viewer’s very sense of seeing and place the viewer in a realm of experience.
Residing in Flagstaff, Turrell is working on Roden Crater, an artwork of unprecedented scale within a volcanic cinder cone in the Painted Desert region of Northern Arizona. Representing the culmination of the artist’s lifelong research in the field of human visual and psychological perception, Roden Crater is Turrell’s magnum opus. It is a work that, in addition to being a monument to land art, functions as a naked-eye observatory of celestial and planetary events. Turrell’s work has been exhibited in art institutions across the world, including the Guggenheim Museum in New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; the Israel Museum in Jerusalem; the Kunstmuseum in Wolfsburg; the National Gallery of Art in Canberra; and the Long Museum in Shanghai. Turrell is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (1984) and the National Medal of Arts (2013).
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