skyspace, james turrell

Friday 9 May 2014

If you follow me on Instagram you might know that I've been in Canberra working on a set design for a dance piece. It's happening all again in Melbourne in five weeks, so I'll share a bit more about this later.

While in the neighbourhood, I visited James Turrell's Skyspace at the National Gallery. A circular pavilion within a square pavillion, the whole structure is partly submerged under water. Descending down a ramp through the moat, the textured ochre walls, sandwiched between the open sky and bright blue pool, draw immediate attention to the quality of light, colour and form within the room.

Upon entering the central round pavilion, attention immediately shifted to the sky through the oculus in the domed ceiling. I visited at dusk which coincides with the light show. The domed ceiling shifted from one colour to another; white, grey, orange, pink then purple. With each shift the sky transformed in colour and depth, at times looking infinite and other times looking like a flat coloured disk. When the dome turned a pale lavender, turning the sky a sea green, I gently slipped away.

It may not have knocked my socks off in the same way as his work at Naoshima (after that there's no coming back) but it was yet another example of Turrell's mastery in light, colour and perception. Well worth the visit!


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