M Life Summer 2013 : Page 76

CULTURE & LIGHT B Y P j P erez V For an in-depth look at what inspires visionary James Turrell tune into M life TV, MGM Resorts’ exclusive in-room TV channel, or visit YouTube.com/mlifetv. isionary James Turrell has been creating spaces in which a viewer’s perception of dimension and color is challenged to the point they experience what he calls a “pleasurable disorientation.” In addition to creating mind-bending, light-shaping installations at galleries, museums and private residences all over the world, the Flagstaff, AZ-based artist has created what is perhaps his most publicly accessible work to date at The Shops at Crystals. 76 | M life Bottom Left: Courtesy of Louis Vuitton, Photography by Iconic Event Studios Comprising several installations centered around the CityCenter tram entrance at Crystals, Turrell has designed an immersive, multi-tiered viewing experience. Saturated light bathes one of the tram platforms, synced with the arrival and departure of each train. Guests then move down an escalator, where they face versions of two of Turrell’s signature light creations – a “Wide Glass” on the wall in front, and a “Shallow Space Construction” on the ceiling above. Once inside Crystals, the installation can be viewed from afar as subtly changing planes of color, similar to his “Space Division” works that trick the eye into seeing three-dimensional spaces as solid, two-dimensional color shapes. “This is a challenge for me because I don’t normally work in a space that’s so public with all kinds of other distractions,” Turrell said. “Las Vegas is about distraction. In a way, that’s kind of interesting, because it can take you off your regular game. So this is something that tries to take advantage of that kind of situation.” Unlike Turrell’s previous works that have been installed within purpose-built spaces and intended for a specific set of viewers, this installation is a purely populist work, something any visitor to Crystals can encounter – whether or not they realize what it is they’re witnessing. “People coming upon situations that are accidental are the most interesting,” Turrell said. “We’re not really looking for something, so when something is there to be seen, it can be a little bit surprising. The ‘drive-by’ art is something that’s interesting to me. It’s completely wide open.” The installation surrounding the tram station, however, is not Turrell’s only work on display inside Crystals. Another large-scale work is hidden away inside – or more accurately, above – the two-story Louis Vuitton flagship store. Available by appointment only, “Akhob” is an immersive and expansive – yet intimate – installation, showcasing the world’s largest ganzfeld effect, that resides within the space located above and behind Louis Vuitton, an unexpected opportunity afforded by Daniel Libeskind’s unique architectural design. “A lot of the design was inspired by the original architecture, so dividing it up on the inside became quite interesting and you get spaces that are surprising,” Turrell said. “That’s true both in the spaces that I’ve been lighting from the tram walkway to the spaces at Louis Vuitton. Some areas as high as 58 feet were previously unused.” Turrell took advantage of that expanse of space to create “Akhob,” which first prepares viewers by having them spend several minutes in a darkened entryway to allow their pupils to dilate, making them more sensitive to color. From there, guests begin their experience in a reflection space before ascending stairs to the installation proper. Comprising several chambers bathed in continuously morphing sequences of light,

Culture

Pj Perez

Space & LIGHT

Visionary James Turrell has been creating spaces in which a viewer’s perception of dimension and color is challenged to the point they experience what he calls a “pleasurable disorientation.” In addition to creating mind-bending, light-shaping installations at galleries, museums and private residences all over the world, the Flagstaff, AZ-based artist has created what is perhaps his most publicly accessible work to date at The Shops at Crystals.

Comprising several installations centered around the CityCenter tram entrance at Crystals, Turrell has designed an immersive, multi-tiered viewing experience. Saturated light bathes one of the tram platforms, synced with the arrival and departure of each train. Guests then move down an escalator, where they face versions of two of Turrell’s signature light creations – a “Wide Glass” on the wall in front, and a “Shallow Space Construction” on the ceiling above. Once inside Crystals, the installation can be viewed from afar as subtly changing planes of color, similar to his “Space Division” works that trick the eye into seeing three-dimensional spaces as solid, two-dimensional color shapes.

“This is a challenge for me because I don’t normally work in a space that’s so public with all kinds of other distractions,” Turrell said. “Las Vegas is about distraction. In a way, that’s kind of interesting, because it can take you off your regular game. So this is something that tries to take advantage of that kind of situation.”

Unlike Turrell’s previous works that have been installed within purpose-built spaces and intended for a specific set of viewers, this installation is a purely populist work, something any visitor to Crystals can encounter – whether or not they realize what it is they’re witnessing.

“People coming upon situations that are accidental are the most interesting,” Turrell said. “We’re not really looking for something, so when something is there to be seen, it can be a little bit surprising. The ‘drive-by’ art is something that’s interesting to me. It’s completely wide open.”

The installation surrounding the tram station, however, is not Turrell’s only work on display inside Crystals. Another large-scale work is hidden away inside – or more accurately, above – the two-story Louis Vuitton flagship store. Available by appointment only, “Akhob” is an immersive and expansive – yet intimate – installation, showcasing the world’s largest ganzfeld effect, that resides within the space located above and behind Louis Vuitton, an unexpected opportunity afforded by Daniel Libeskind’s unique architectural design.

“A lot of the design was inspired by the original architecture, so dividing it up on the inside became quite interesting and you get spaces that are surprising,” Turrell said. “That’s true both in the spaces that I’ve been lighting from the tram walkway to the spaces at Louis Vuitton. Some areas as high as 58 feet were previously unused.”

Turrell took advantage of that expanse of space to create “Akhob,” which first prepares viewers by having them spend several minutes in a darkened entryway to allow their pupils to dilate, making them more sensitive to color. From there, guests begin their experience in a reflection space before ascending stairs to the installation proper. Comprising several chambers bathed in continuously morphing sequences of light, a full viewing of “Akhob” takes nearly a half hour, and the reality-altering experience can be quite moving.

“With most artwork, people spend about 3.5 seconds looking at it in a museum,” said Bill Griffin of Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Turrell’s Los Angeles gallery. “With James’ work you have to stop, you have to slow down. I think that it’s archetypal of the human condition – walking into the light or being bathed in light – in a way that he has embraced for many decades.”

That interest in the act of actively seeing light for its own qualities began almost accidentally for Turrell, who, in the late 1960s, was working in his Venice, CA studio when he noticed the shapes being projected onto the walls by the natural light coming through the windows.

“He began manipulating the shades to create various shapes on the opposite wall, that was the beginning of him working with light in that manner,” Griffin said. “And where he is with it today is really an incredible journey of being a master of creating and shaping experience and perception in a way that is meaningful in our lives.”

Turrell’s work has earned him prestigious accolades within the art and intellectual communities, including a MacArthur Fellowship (known as the “Genius Grant”), Guggenheim Fellowship and France’s highest honor for the arts by being named a Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. The installations at Crystals were timed to coincide with exhibitions of his work opening concurrently at four locations across the United States: a retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, a site-specific installation at New York City’s Guggenheim Museum, a collection of his works at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and an exhibition in Los Angeles documenting progress at Roden Crater – an extinct volcano in the middle of Arizona’s desert. Turrell has been working to reshape it into an exhibition of optimal viewing spaces for celestial phenomena.

All of the much-deserved praise aside, Turrell remains focused in his approach to both life and art. At age 70, he shows no sign of slowing his exploration of “light that inhabits space,” whether working toward the completion of Roden Crater, taking on the role of “boutique architect” in spaces such as Louis Vuitton, or transforming a large public space such as the tram entrance at Crystals.

“We are moving into a new landscape that has no horizon,” Turrell said. “We do that in flight when passing through a cloud or fog, we do that in skiing during a whiteout. That sensation is very interesting because we feel a lot of these things in the body. It’s not just about seeing.

For an appointment to James Turrell’s “Akhob” at Louis Vuitton at The Shops at Crystals, call 702-730-3150.

Read the full article at http://trendmag2.trendoffset.com/article/Culture/1436363/164313/article.html.

Previous Page  Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here