The Maestro of Light & Space
Renowned American artist James Turrell’s work is synonymous with the Light and Space movement that originated in 1960s Southern California. His minimalist and ethereal work requires active participation from the viewer. Working with light as his medium, he says, “With no object, no image and no focus, what are you looking at? You are looking at you looking.” Known for his signature Skyspaces — essentially chambers with an open aperture to the sky — James’ work is both site- and moment-specific, as light moves through the spaces in different ways second by second. With 80 Skyspaces installed worldwide, James’ ongoing project-in-development, Roden Crater, will become the ultimate Skyspace experience, set inside a remote, dormant volcanic cinder cone in Arizona’s Painted Desert. His work was also selected, along with fellow XLIST honorees Es Devlin and teamLAB, to open Miami’s Superblue space in 2021.
You can’t mention James Turrell without deep diving into Roden Crater, which — when it opens in the next few years — will represent the culmination of James’s career of exploration into light and landscape and nearly 50 years of development. The project, which will allow participants a unique celestial journey, will function as a “naked eye observatory” as well as a focused land art installation set in the mouth of a dormant volcano in Arizona. For now, you can visit James’s famed Skyspaces, experiential environments that allow the contemplation of light and human perception that have been mounted all over the world. Recent additions include Green Mountain Falls in Colorado, C.A.V.U. at MASS MoCA in Massachusetts, and the Kubuso Art Centre by the Hardangerfjord in Norway. Aside from AKHU, which debuted at Superblue in 2021 — the icon recently celebrated his 80th birthday by collaborating with Lalique and Glenturret to a limited edition, highly designed, highly priced decanter called Eight Decades, selling for $100,000 each.