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James Turrell \ Skyspace

Skyspace is a specifically proportioned chamber with an aperture in the ceiling open to the sky. Skyspaces can be autonomous structures or integrated into existing architecture. The aperture can be round, ovular or square.


Installation artist, James Turrell, manipulates light to create immersive experiences that amplify the level of perception in the spectator. Each of his installations activate a heightened sense awareness and appeals to the human senses. In the 70's, Turrell began his series of Skyspaces which are essentially contained spaces with an aperture in the roof giving a view to open to the sky. Once inside, the spectator can view this chosen piece of sky through the opening in the roof; what seems to be a incandescent cube suspended in the air or a rectangle of dream-like colours hovering below the gallery ceiling, is actually an illuminated void in space; a lucent square on the ceiling is, in reality, a portal to the sky.


This seems like simple act of taking a significant space and cutting a hole in one wall, however this simple hole turns into a space of thought and contemplation. This single window view heightens the awareness of the spectator, they begin to really notice everything; the weather, and the colour, or non-colour, of sky. The installations play on the border of making the spectator feel somewhere between being trapped like a prisoner with a single window onto the outside world, and feeling very exposed, because anything could come in.


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