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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

"The eye listens": light music and visual perceptions by James Turrell

P. 235-240.
Сахно И. М., Staruseva-Persheeva A.

Authors of the paper are focusing on American artist James Turrell's investigation of the
nature of light in his conceptual projects. By the means of creating a specific immersive
environment where a spectator is plunging into a unique optical space set up by light installations,
the artist reconstructs a sensory synesthesia experience: a synthesis of light, color, music, and
meditation. This being the case light becomes the main character of a story told by him. The artist
analyses a phenomenon of perception and his specific tentative of creating optical effects which
allow spectators to become participants of light performance. Turrell takes the light as his paint
and the architecture and the viewers — as his canvas. A colour-light vision of the artist
accumulates the grounds of optical physics, astronomy, mathematics, perception psychology,
preceding issues of light art and land art. In the series “Space”, “Tall Glass” and “Skyspace” he
renders incorporeal and immaterial fields, a certain “presentation of absence” (Merleau-Ponty)
when the invisible is being marked by the visible. Viewer's inner sensation, diving into music and
meditation become key factors of an art piece. Thus, appears a new landscape with no horizon, top
or bottom — a space without borders. In his latest significant project “Roden Crater” Turrell
demonstrates the new practices of creating sensory connections and delving into the nature of
vision. He constructs a unique illuminating system for an extinct volcano crater in Roden, Arizona.
New “architecture of light into space” is establishing specific sensory connections in the
perception of natural landscape and illumination.


















In book

Vol. 6: 6th SWS International Scientific Conference on Arts and Humanities 2019. Conference proceedings.. Iss. 1. STEF92 Technology Ltd., 2019.