james turrell extends 'passages of light' through mexico city's museo jumex

james turrell extends 'passages of light' through mexico city's museo jumex

from now through march 29, 2020, museo jumex in mexico city presents a monumental survey of work by light and space artist james turrell. ‘passages of light’ spans two floors of the institution’s galleries, and features new works from the artists most important series. each installation is a carefully-controlled environment, in which light is formed and experienced, and saturated fields of color take on a physical presence. ‘my work is more about your seeing than it is about my seeing, although it is a product of my seeing,’ turrell says. ‘I’m also interested in the sense of presence of space; that is space where you feel a presence, almost an entity—that physical feeling and power that space can give.’

amesha spentas from the ganzfeld series, 2019 museo jumex, 2019 © james turrell
image by florian holzherr



turrell’s ongoing and significant scientific understanding of light informs his entire body of work, which often extends beyond the physical boundaries of a gallery or museum. as part of the exhibition at museo jumex, quotations sourced from diverse fields juxtapose the installation, offering poetic insight into the artist’s own influences.


visitors enter the first floor gallery to find ‘amesha spentas’ — one of turrell’s ganzfeld installations. after ascending a flight of stairs and entering an all-white void, visitors are soon absorbed in a field of color. as this light shifts through a sequence of changing colors, the space is transformed and completely dissolves around the viewer, eliminating the perception of depth and provoking new ways of seeing.

squat blue from the projection piece series, 1968 museo jumex, 2019
la colección jumex, méxico © james turrell
image by florian holzherr



the exhibition continues on the second floor with installations, prints, photographs, models and holograms that survey turrell’s broad-ranging oeuvre. included are the ‘first light’ prints, which capture various forms made from light from turrell’s ‘projection pieces’ series. a turrell ‘projection’ is created by projecting a single, controlled beam of light from the opposing corner of the room. the exhibition at museo jumex also features a ‘projection piece’ installation — one of the artists’ earliest experiments with using pure light as a medium to transform space.

gathas from the curved elliptical glass series, 2019 museo jumex, 2019 © james turrell
image by florian holzherr



further works include pieces that display the artist’s use of emerging technologies, including holograms. the installation ‘curved elliptical glass (gathas)’ is among turrell’s most recent investigations, with its slow transformation of color likened by the artist to musical scores.


finally, the exhibit concludes with a selection of photographs and models that document turrell’s ongoing ‘roden crater‘ project. located in the desert region of northern arizona, ‘roden crater’ is an unprecedented large-scale artwork created within a volcanic cinder cone. models of the work allow visitors to imagine the point of view of looking out from the installations chambers and up towards the sky.

amesha spentas from the ganzfeld series, 2019 museo jumex, 2019 © james turrell
image by florian holzherr



exhibition information:


title: james turrell: passages of light
james turrell
museo jumex, mexico city
november 22, 2019 – march 29, 2020
chief curator:
kit hammonds
curatorial assistant:
adriana kuri alamillo

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