James Turrell’s “Twilight Epiphany” at Rice University is the 73rd Skyspace the artist created, but the pavilion has a little-known predecessor that would have been the very first of Turrell’s signature series.
Turrell does not draw, paint or sculpt, at least, not in the traditional senses of the terms; he creates with light. As he has put it, “I make spaces that apprehend light for our perception, and in some ways gather it, or seem to hold it…my work is more about your seeing than it is about my seeing, although it is a product of my seeing.” Using light, color theory, and the manipulation of space, Turrell often creates areas that inspire quiet meditation (rooted in his Quaker upbringing) and play tricks on our eyes.
Architecture is frozen music, and music is liquid architecture, or so said the poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. It’s hard not to see the truth in those analogies at artist James Turrell’s “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace.
Its 72-foot-square white roof seems to float above a grassy hill that calls to mind a low-slung Mayan temple. Inside the berm, a cozy room lined with pink granite benches invites visitors to ponder the heavens through an opening, or aperture, in the ceiling. The whole effect is best experienced in the morning or evening twilight. That’s when an LED-light sequence created by Turrell projects colorful hues onto the ceiling, dragging the sky to earth. The goal, in Turrell’s own words, is “to create an experience of wordless thought.”
Art Los Angeles Contemporary
Santa Monica Airport
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organizations & affiliations
University of Texas
New York University
Institute of Fine Arts
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
American Academy in Rome
Centre Pompidou Foundation
University of Chicago