Saturday, 3 April 2010

in light

there is (no) matter.

this one - like bethan huws - was in my diary since december. and with attempt number three, i not only saw the matter that light makes, but so did my parents.

before we arrived, we laughed at the arrogant marketing that the City of Wolfsburg - Hitler's car city where the Beetle was first mass-produced - was of course with the Turrell's Wolfsburg Project the site of Turrell's largest installation in an exhibition space:


the main installation, Bridget's Bardo is a ganzfeld piece of two spaces that merge from one into the other: the viewing and the sensing space, separated by a sensor, you must not step into the viewing space. light changes and all the while you sense the view and wonder what that space is in front of you, a wall, a cube or simply nothing in colours that change as the light changes.

and you wonder and wonder. the separating between viewing and sensing space are sharp corners in space. but behind or in front of the planes become depths and you see nothing but colour. all around you and in so doing colour becomes you.

at the back of the installations are two rectangles, one at the top where the bridge lead down, one at the bottom where steps lead down to the floor below. of distinct and separate colour they appear as planes again, not as openings.

small groups of people spend ten minutes as light and are encouraged to go again, as many do. second time round i begin to see some shadows, not on the walls nor ceiling, but on the floor, looking back into the piece.

how crucial shadows are in helping you orientate yourself and to grasp dimensions, forward and backward and upright.

how do you mark light in the absence of shadows and spatial demarcations with any thing other than that pure light?

what form has fog and nothing than the absence of form?

the exhibition continues with some smaller installations, one (milk run iii, a spectral wedgework, 2002) operating in darkness with dark orange light and your perception as it plays a myriad of tricks on you; and plenty of illustrations of the roden crater project and some large scale aquatints Turrell made with experiments of light deprivation and selective openings of panels in the mendota hotel in california. here, the light modelled geometric objects which he captures on the aquatints. i found a link with images of this aquatint series, First Light (1989-90) at this site here.

and i thought i'd add this video here too: about another skyspace and roden crater. enjoy!


3 comments:

SamArtDog said...

Once again, you've produced some outstanding videos here. James Turrell is no stranger to Boulder, periodically blowing through and stirring up the town with his exhibitions and/or intstallations. Thanks for posting about the Wolfsburg Project; it's remarkable!

SamArtDog said...

And then I watched the piece about his Skyspace and Roden Crater. O my. Then I had to sit down.

Gesa Helms said...

grin... :) - i saw a programme about roden a couple years back and then almost made it nearby for a conference (but in the end ended up in latin america to spend the rest of my research budget). i think there is definitely something when scale gets combined with the simplicity of 'incomprehensible' that makes for something fabulous. i am surely checking out other pieces of his work nearby... and am hoping that i will make it to the northamerican desert some time sooner rather than later...