TitleLightScape: James Turrell at Houghton
Duration07 June 2015 to 24 October 2015
Opening HoursGarden, Grounds and Restaurant:11.30 - 17:00 / Hall and LightScape Exhibition :12.30 -17:00
Telephone+44 (0) 1485 528569
Official WebsiteTurrell Lightscape
Illumination Times - click here
|LightScape: James Turrell at Houghton
|Lighting Design, Art, Installation, Exhibition
|07 June 2015 to 24 October 2015
|Garden, Grounds and Restaurant:11.30 - 17:00 / Hall and LightScape Exhibition :12.30 -17:00
|+44 (0) 1485 528569
Illumination Times - click here
Houghton Hall in Norfolk, England, is hosting a major exhibition of James Turrell, one of the most famous artists in the world working with light. The exhibition contains both site-specific and other works that span the artist’s career from the late 60s to the present. The exhibition, titled 'Lightscape', perfectly exposes the visitor to the artist’s attempts to explore the “experience of light” and different modes of perception.
The centrepiece of the show is undoubtedly the lighting of the Hall’s west façade, simply named ‘The Illumination’. Using light and colour to challenge and shift our perception of space has been one of the hallmarks of Turrell’s aims and this piece, a 45 minute long spectacle running from dusk every Friday and Saturday, encapsulates just that. As the artist explains, “You can take the architecture apart and put it back together with one quality of light or colour. And that is what I am doing with the building.” Other exhibits include 'Projection Pieces', earlier works that use one single source of light to trick our perception into seeing three-dimensional objects, 'Reflection Holograms', the artist's more recent take on the same theme of illusory three-dimensionality, and pieces from the 'Tall Glass' series, rectangular 'canvases' that subtly play with shifting colour and intensity of light to create a perceptual experience equivalent to watching the sky at dusk. Turrell has a very special connection with twilight and the way our eyes see during that time; as the artist has characteristically proclaimed, “I think twilight is what we were made for.”
All of Turrell’s works invite the viewer to a lesser or greater extent to be immersed in them so that they can be fully experienced. This can be seen in two physical spaces created by the artist that perfectly exemplify this dimension of his craft. 'St Elmo’s Breath', a 1992 piece housed in an 18th century water tower, is part of the Space Division Constructions series where you enter a darkened 'viewing space' that, through a wide opening, looks into a second "sensing space" of diffused coloured light, the depth of which you gradually sense. 'Seldom Seen' on the other hand, a “Skyspace” designed for Houghton Hall in 2004, uses natural light as its main feature. In an enclosed space, the viewer watches the sky through a ceiling aperture of precise dimensions; as a sequence of coloured lights illuminates the interior, the viewer's perception of the sky’s palette changes constantly. Both pieces require the visitor to abandon their comfort zone, step into an unfamiliar space and to spend some time there in order to shed their preset modes of perception and experience the physical world in new ways.
Also on display are plaster, bronze and other models of the spaces that Turrell has created as part of his monumental ongoing project 'Roden Crater'. Located in Arizona, the crater’s rocky surface has been “punctured” with spaces precisely aligned with the movements of the sun and moon, allowing the visitor to experience the celestial going-ons in a ceremonial fashion.