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 Lightscape, James Turrell, Houghton Hall
Artlyst Photo Special: Lightscape, James Turrell At Houghton Hall - ArtLyst Article image

Artlyst Photo Special: Lightscape, James Turrell At Houghton Hall

05-06-2015
 
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American light artist James Turrell will present a site-specific light piece at Houghton Hall, Norfolk, as the culmination to the exhibition “LightScape: James Turrell”. Artlyst visited the stunning grounds of one of England’s finest Palladian houses to see a preview of the acclaimed American artist's latest project. The spectacular 45-minute light display, which will begin at dusk and can only be seen on Friday and Saturday evenings, will illuminate the entire west façade of Houghton with a slowly evolving light show specifically created by Turrell.

Houghton Hall, Norfolk P A Black © Artlyst 2015

David, Marquess of Cholmondeley, the owner of Houghton, said: “Nearly 15 years after the installation of James Turrell's meditative ‘Skyspace’ at Houghton, I look forward to staging an exhibition devoted entirely to his work. It will be the fulfilment of a long-held dream. I am extremely grateful to the artist for his active participation, and especially for creating an exciting new light piece for the front of the house.”

James Turrell, Installation detail, Houghton Hall, Norfolk P A Black © Artlyst 2015

Turrell is widely acknowledged as one of the most important artists working today. From the mid 1960’s onwards his principal concern has been the way we apprehend light and space. His study of mathematics and perceptual psychology, as well as his Quaker upbringing and background as a pilot, inform his practice. His first exhibition in 1967 of ‘projection pieces,’ used high intensity light projectors to give the illusion of a solid geometrical object, often seemingly floating in space. From these investigations of light, Turrell went on to begin his series of ‘Skyspaces’. These are enclosed viewing chambers that affect our perception of the sky.

James Turrell, Enzu Green, 1968, Projection Piece Houghton Hall, Norfolk P A Black © Artlyst 2015

Since then he has continued to create works using light as his medium. Perhaps his most celebrated works are his ‘Ganzfeld’ chambers, whole spaces immersed in light; as well as his more recent ‘Tall Glass’ series, which resemble windows of slowly changing colour. Meanwhile, Turrell continues work on a monumental project at Roden Crater, an extinct volcano in Arizona. Here he has created a series of viewing chambers, tunnels and apertures to heighten our sense of the heavens and earth in one of the most ambitious artistic endeavours of modern times.

James Turrell, Skyspace, 2002 Houghton Hall, Norfolk P A Black © Artlyst 2015

An exhibition devoted to James Turrell’s work has been a long-held ambition of Lord Cholmondeley’s. He first discovered Turrell’s work twenty years ago, and in 2000 invited him to Houghton to install a ‘Skyspace’ amongst the trees on the west side of the house. Soon afterwards, a rusty water tank was removed from an 18th century folly in the park to make way for his atmospheric interior space, ‘St Elmo’s Breath’.

James Turrell, Skyspace, 2002 Houghton Hall, Norfolk P A Black © Artlyst 2015

The show is centred around works from the Houghton collection, which also includes projections, a ‘Tall Glass’, holograms and prints. The exhibition is complemented by further loans to help cover the broad spectrum of Turrell’s work; and a unique, site specific installation has been created especially for Houghton – ‘The Illumination’- lighting the whole west façade of the house to be viewed from dusk (please see below).

James Turrell, Skyspace, the changing light - detail 2002 Houghton Hall, Norfolk P A Black © Artlyst 2015


LightScape follows three highly acclaimed exhibitions in 2013/14 at the Guggenheim, New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The National Museum of Australia, Canberra has also hosted a major retrospective of his work which closes as the Houghton one opens.

James Turrell, Shirim, 2015 Tall Glass, Houghton Hall, Norfolk P A Black © Artlyst 2015


The entire west façade of Houghton will be lit in a slowly evolving light show specifically created by Turrell. This 45 minute spectacle will begin at dusk and can only be seen on Friday and Saturday evenings. Visitors will be able to take advantage of the later closing times for the Hall, grounds and gardens. The restaurant will be open for dinner bookings and a pop-up café on the west front will provide drinks and snacks for those wanting to relax whilst watching the show unfold.

Houghton Hall, Norfolk P A Black © Artlyst 2015

‘Light is a powerful substance. We have a primal connection to it.’ - James Turrell.

James Turrell West Façade Illumination, 2015 P A Black © Artlyst 2015

Lightscape: James Turrell at Houghton Hall - 7 June to 24 October


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