My work is about space and the light that inhabits it. It is about how you confront that space and plumb it with vision. It is about your seeing, like the wordless thought that comes from looking into fire. — James Turrell
The works of James Turrell straddle the world of art and architecture. Maybe sometimes they inspire architects to think with more clarity about how they engage with space and light.
This piece was built in the garden of the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) in Canberra in 2010. As Turrell states, his work has always been about space and light, where he creates a ‘framework’ for people to be able to experience and contemplate both.
In Canberra, Turrell has created a mound into which the observer can walk. Inside the space is shaped like the inside of a pyramid with the top cut off. At the centre is a Stupa made of Victorian basalt stone, surrounded by water.
The stupa is one of Turrell’s ‘Skyspaces’ – with an oculus in the centre of the ceiling, allowing the sun to shine in, and allowing visitors to see a framed view of the sky.
This is a place for contemplation, for looking up at the sky and observing the light; watching as the sun moves across the space; looking up at the changing colour of the sky; sitting and focusing on something you see every day and perceiving it in a way you might not normally do.
Place: ‘Within without’ NGA
Architect: James Turrell
Photographer: Stephen Varady
Map: Within without, NGA
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