James Turrell

Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Los Angeles / United States

May 24–August 25, 2018
May 21, 2018

Opening: May 24, 7–9pm

Kayne Griffin Corcoran
1201 S. La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90019
United States

T +1 310 586 6886
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Kayne Griffin Corcoran is pleased to announce an exhibition of new and historic work by James Turrell, his seventh with the gallery over the last 15 years. The exhibition will debut four unique "Glass" works along with his Autonomous Structures, models and prototypes for architectural spaces made between 1989 and 1991. While Turrell believes human perception to be his true medium—in his words, “my art is about your seeing”—the works in this exhibition also  exemplify Turrell’s pioneering use of light over the last 50 years.

Since his earliest experiments with light beginning in 1966, Turrell’s practice has been shaped by the ongoing manipulation of architecture, framing and altering the way viewers engage with the environment. Since then, he has undoubtedly become one of the most influential artists working today. In his work, light and space become experiential processes, reflecting the basic conditions of perception.  

In the exhibition, four newly created "Glass" works will be installed each with their own scale, shape and experience of color. This series is developed from Turrell’s larger group of "Glass" works begun in 2006, which were significant in their introduction of a deliberately temporal element. Each "Glass" is a unique composition, in which hundreds of vivid combinations of colors seep into and against each other as they slowly shift over time. In implicating the viewer in the temporal experience of color within the physical and perceptual experience, Turrell turns light to a powerful substance.

The Autonomous Structures evolved from Turrell’s interest in creating unique architectural spaces designed for shaping perception. In his words, these spaces “are just containers for the light; the art is in the experience of the viewer.” This exhibition will present several of the artist’s models for these chambers, cast in smooth, undecorated plaster. Stylistically, these works draw on a wealth of exotic and imaginary architecture of the past that Turrell translates into a connective whole. The late 18th century visionary projects of Boullée and Ledoux are clearly evident in the forms of such works as Spread and Boule Boola, the latter whose title seems to refer to Boullée as a double pun. There is also a strong affinity to the pioneering cubist architecture of the Californian Irving Gill in the smooth, undecorated white plaster of these maquettes, in particular to Third Day whose dome references Islamic architecture that Gill himself occasionally cited. Turrell also pays homage to Pre-Columbian temples in works such as Outside In.  Even the desert myths of UFO’s come to play in the maquette forms and titles of Abduction, Jump Start, and Missed Approach

The Autonomous Structures are directly related to Roden Crater, Turrell’s magnum opus and one of the great American earthworks, located in the Painted Desert northeast of Flagstaff, Arizona. Like the naked eye observatories of civilizations past, Roden Crater is built to reveal and enhance celestial phenomena. The completed and planned construction includes a linked complex of interior and exterior spaces that hold the direct and reflected light of the sun, moon, and stars in such a way as to heighten perception and increase attentiveness to the connection between interior and exterior worlds; the individual and the infinite.

Turrell was born in 1943 in Los Angeles. Since his first solo exhibitions at the Pasadena Art Museum in 1967, the Stedelijk in 1976, and the Whitney Museum in 1980, Turrell has been the subject of over 150 solo exhibitions worldwide. In 2013, a jointly planned trio of large-scale exhibitions of Turrell’s work opened at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. 2017 marked the opening of an 8-year long exhibition at MASS MOCA featuring major works from each decade of the artist’s career. In addition to permanent installations at institutions such as MoMA PS1, Long Island City, New York; De Young Museum, San Francisco, California; National Gallery of Art, Canberra, Australia; and Bennesse, Honmura, Naoshima Island, Japan, Turrell’s work can be seen in most international collections. He has received numerous awards in the arts, including The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1984.