Of late the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra has been under some pretty serious renovations, but finally the end is in sight and more excitingly there is now a permanent James Turrell installation at the NGA. Ever since I have had the opportunity to view a number of his larger installations throughout America I am a huge fan of his work and was really looking forward to experiencing it for all is quaker like simplicity.
the NGA describes the work as follows:
‘Within without is a major new Skyspace by American artist James Turrell, one of his largest and most complex to date. Light is Turrell’s medium, and his Skyspace is a viewing chamber that affects the way we perceive the sky…
We enter the work via a long sloping walkway. Inside is a large square-based pyramid with soft red ochre interior walls. A stupa made of Victorian basalt rises at the centre, highlighted by turquoise water. The stupa contains the viewing chamber—a simple domed space, open to the sky. A moonstone, set into the centre of the floor, echoes the oculus above.
Within the Skyspace, light seems more painterly. Movement and sound are intensified, the sky shimmers and pulsates. Within without is at its most dramatic and complex at dawn and dusk, marking the transition between night and day.
In asking us to take the time to notice these subtleties, Turrell reveals the immensity of the natural world and the beauty of celestial architecture. Within without offers artlessness, simplicity, unhurried perception.
The day we were there was overcast so the transient effects of the light were not all it could be but I am already looking forward to my next trip to Canberra which will certainly include a sunrise or sunset inside the sculpture to see it at its best.
images via National Gallery of Australia