Luminosity as Material

Hannah Gregory
Sep 15, 2013 9:41PM

As James Turrell's Aten Reign at the Guggenheim draws to a close, I thought I'd share this excerpt from my review for Domus:

"Moon white, dusk pink, magenta; sunset orange, soft lilac, violet then canary yellow; eventually, grey twilight. This is one colour phase of Aten Reign (2013), the installation by James Turrell that fills the Guggenheim in New York, diffusing rich layers of light through concentric ellipses of the museum's rotunda.  Mostly, the transitions between tones appear steady, so that white tentatively becomes pink; sometimes, they are surprising, so that green is suddenly no longer green but blue. The names of the colours do not do justice to the actual hues.

'People sometimes ask me what is my favourite colour', says Turrell at the show’s opening, which coincides, not accidentally, with summer solstice, the day with the most light of the year. 'Well, they are all out there. You need them all, and they all make white.'

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim building is characterised by white and by curve, a space-age funnel that stands apart from the straight rectangles and bricks of its Upper East Side surroundings. Now, Turrell clouds its interior in colours of the entire spectrum, so that visitors enter a prismatic environment within Wright’s pearly shell."

Read more here

Hannah Gregory
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