“When you dream, where does the light come from? There is a light that has a clarity as great or greater than daylight vision, and a lucidity of color that’s beyond how we see color now…I’m interested in the point where this imaginative vision meets the seeing that comes from what we want to think of as outside physical reality, because it has a lot to do with how we create reality.” James Turrell
We had a chance to view James Turrell’s mesmerizing exhibition, 67 68 69 at The Pace Gallery, a two-venue exhibition of landmark light projections from the late 1960’s within which the perceptual magic of colour and form through Turrell’s work is traced to its very early roots.
67 68 69 is the first exhibition in more than a decade to focus exclusively on Turrell’s first light works. All the work on display shows Turrell’s determination to transform empty spaces into tangible forms. The exhibition also includes schematic drawings by Turrell, giving in depth insight into the artist’s investigation of colour, light, perception and space.
Upon moving into a vacated hotel in Santa Monica in 1966, James Turrell began experimenting with high-intensity projectors, using them to modulate space and the eyes’ perception of it. The result of these endeavours was his corner projections, the artist’s first significant works using light as a medium to create the appearance of free-floating, three-dimensional objects suspended in the corners of a room.
Turrell created variations on all of his projections, exploring the relationship between form and color. The exhibition features Afrum, Turrell’s first projection. This piece takes shape of a brilliant white cube, centered in the corner of a room, midway between floor and ceiling. At first sight this form appears to be a hovering three-dimensional object with a forward edge that juts into viewer’s space and rotates as one circles from a distance. At close range, however, the cube collapses, revealing itself as two sharp-edged planes of light.
A projection of a cube floating a corner, Afrum synthesizes Turrell’s interest in art history—Suprematism especially—with more psychological and phenomenological pursuits. Variations of the work are included in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
The exhibition will be on view through June 18th, 2016, spanning Pace’s galleries at 32 East 57th Street and 534 West 25th Street. 67 68 69 coincides with an exhibition of recent work by Turrell, which will inaugurate Pace’s new gallery in Palo Alto and be on view from April 27 to July 30.