James Turrell // Dhātu

Just a few days ago I was wondering how I might replicate on paper or otherwise the sensation of pressing on closed eyes: those flashes and blends of colour experienced by all human beings. Then I saw Dhātu, and I realised I probably didn’t need to.

James Turrell has been one of my favourite visual artists ever since I saw a large collection of his pieces in a certain White City warehouse space. Since then I have made several trips to various beautiful locations to experience his work in their original context.

Now, the current London exhibition of his work at Gagosian which ended today was in no way one of these original contexts. Obvioulsy he was influenced by someone or something, but I cannot imagine Turrell would have really wanted his work to be exhibited in the oddly-proportioned King’s Cross exhibition space originally acquired for Larry to exhibit his favourite Richard Serra piece. Not only must location fit Turrell’s work for the piece to be successful, but the space must also be kept immaculate. This was unforunately not the case here, with marks and footprints all over poor Dhātu.

In any case, the piece did remain mind-blowing, and was quite unlike many other Turrell pieces I have previously experienced. I opened my eyes, and realised they were already open.


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