james turrell: the wolfsburg project kunstmuseum wolfsburg, germany october 24th, 2009 to april 5th, 2010

bridget’s bardo, 2008 begehbare installation © james turrell photo by florian holzherr, 2009in collaboration with the kunstmuseum wolfsburg, american light artist james turrell has created his largest-ever walk-in light installation within a museum context: an 11 metre high structure ‘space within a space’ which covers a floor area of 700 metres and reaches up to the museum’s glass roof being exhibited as part of the wolfsburg project exhibition.

entitled bridget’s bardo, it is one of turrell’s ganzfeld pieces and reflects one of his larger ongoing projects at the roden crater, a high extinct volcano in the arizona desert which turrell has been transforming into an artistic observatory since 1974, where various phenomena of celestial light can be studied. the wolfsburg project has been developed in relation to this ‘light observatory’, bringing the sky down to earth. the wolfsburg project inverts roden crater, opening up to the heavens into a never-ending interior.

at the kunstmuseum wolfsburg, the ganzfeld piece is a hollow construction divided into two interconnecting chambers – the viewing space and the sensing space – both left entirely empty. what is new to this installation is that it is slowly flooded with changing colored light. visitors are invited to enter the work via a steep ramp which leads down from the upper floor into the viewing space, experiencing how architectural elements of the space dissolve into this homogeneous visual field. while the bath of light reveals and refers to nothing beyond itself. surface qualities interact with those of color and space, creating an atmosphere which envelopes the spectator. turrell describes this as ‘feeling with your eyes’, an experience which is not just aesthetic, but also spiritual.

the kunstmuseum is showing the wolfsburg project along with a number of turrell’s other works in the artist’s most extensive exhibition in germany to date.james turrell: the wolfsburg project at the kunstmuseum, germany ganzfeld piece (model), 2008 by james turrell begehbare installation © james turrell photo by zooey braun, stuttgart, 2009

james turrell: the wolfsburg project at the kunstmuseum, germany bridget’s bardo, 2008 begehbare installation © james turrell photo by florian holzherr, 2009

james turrell: the wolfsburg project at the kunstmuseum, germany bridget’s bardo, 2008 begehbare installation © james turrell photo by florian holzherr, 2009

james turrell: the wolfsburg project at the kunstmuseum, germany plan of ganzfeld piece

james turrell: the wolfsburg project at the kunstmuseum, germany roden crater blick von südwesten

james turrell: the wolfsburg project at the kunstmuseum, germany roden crater, east portal james turrell

james turrell: the wolfsburg project at the kunstmuseum, germany roden crater, crater’s eye, skyspace james turrell

james turrell: the wolfsburg project at the kunstmuseum, germany roden crater, east portal, skyspace james turrell

james turrell: the wolfsburg project at the kunstmuseum, germany roden crater, east portal, skyspace james turrell

james turrell: the wolfsburg project at the kunstmuseum, germany roden crater, east portal, skyspace james turrell

james turrell: the wolfsburg project at the kunstmuseum, germanyspinther, 2007 james turrell

james turrell was born in 1943 in los angeles. having studied art, history of art, mathematics and psychology, turrell became known as part of the californian ‘light and space’ movement, along with robert irwin and douglas wheeler. his light art represents the climax of a development which extends from abstraction to the self-revelation of light to the conquest of cosmic space.