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James Turrell: The Wolfsburg Project
Text by Markus Brüderlin, Richard Andrews, Annelie Lütgens.
James Turrell (born 1943) has been working with light in all its manifestations since the 1960s. Moving beyond the purely scientific investigation of optical phenomena, his works are designed to induce extraordinary experiences for the viewer, through the manipulation of light and color. The artist has been pursing this aim since 1974, when he began transforming the Roden Crater—an extinct volcano in the Arizona desert—into an observatory, inside of which visitors can immerse themselves in the embrace of an unusually pure experience of light. Turrell is currently realizing his largest installation to date in the 18-by-30-meter hall at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg. This work resembles the Roden Crater project, inverted and rotated 90 degrees; it thus provides a foretaste of Turrell's still incomplete epic masterpiece. This richly illustrated publication documents and contextualizes the genesis of this extraordinary and ambitious work of art.
FROM THE BOOK
“I emerge in the crater.
In a reddish bowl, smaller and more familiar than expected.
Intimate: the silence. A bird flies across the sky on the shadowed west side; I think I can hear the wings flapping, sense how it lands with a shuffle. Again silence. Clear light as if just shy of the summit. The sun plays planetarium here; it begets two celestial bodies while setting: a receding, mild Mars on the illuminated eastern side of the bowl--it appears as a crescent on the rim. And a waxing moon becomes apparent on the other, the dark west side. Growing satellite gray. Extinguished colors wander over little stones and small plants.
I stand on a circular site. In the middle, there is a head-high rounding with an opening: the eye of the crater
. On the southeastern side, still just lit by the sun, a second smaller rounding with an opening. Button. Eyelet. Every streak, every surface in the basin seems touched, consciously formed. Stroked. I stand in a tuned instrument. Perfect outward conditions are often encountered close to orchestras, in concert shells for example. Tuning follows higher laws, does not allow for imponderabilities, and spherical music is being played here.” –James Turrell, quoted from James Turrell: The Wolfsburg Project
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