To build an inhabitable luminaire you need little more than colored plastic sheeting and an air compressor and the ability to expose said construction to natural light. The finished products are far greater than the sum of the parts, producing results that seem to suggest a series of more elaborately ornamented James Turrell installations. They are the brainchildren of Architects of Air (AoA), a British company that has erected temporary luminaires throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States. On their website, AoA cites Islamic architecture and Gothic cathedrals as inspirations behind their structures. While at times they wear these influences on their sleeves (or most often on their walls), at other times they appear capable of producing wholly alien experiences. Outside light filters through custom-made semi-translucent PVC. Each structure's walls are rendered in four colors which are used to produce the variety of hues that bath the interiors. The process is akin to creating a stained glass, a similarity occasionally made quite explicit through confetti-filled design flourishes that evoke cathedral windows. The exteriors of the blob-like structures are generally sheathed in silver and bear a closer resemblance to the traditional bouncy castle. AoA CEO Alan Parkinson first began experimenting with pneumatic sculptures in the 1980s, his first steps in the creation of what would eventually become luminaria. Since 1992, over 2 million visitors in 40 countries have stepped through the inflated doors of AoA's creations. In 2014, 6 different models will be touring in North America, Europe, and Australia.
Posts tagged with "James Turrell":
Tomorrow, June 21, is the summer solstice. On the occasion, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum will open the doors on a major solo show of the work of James Turrell, called simply James Turrell. It's a fitting day to open an exhibition on the American artist. Since the 1960s, Turrell has developed a diverse body of work that uses light as material and medium. The centerpiece of the show is Aten Reign, a site-specific installation that fills Frank Lloyd Wright's famous rotunda. Made from a series of interlocking fabric cones that relate to the Guggenheim's interior ramps, Aten Reign interlaces the prevailing daylight with subtly changing color fields produced by concealed LED fixtures. Viewed from below, on reclining benches or lying flat on the floor, with the gentle bubbling of the Guggenheim's fountain providing aural accompaniment, the installation provides a meditative, perception altering experience. In addition to Aten Reign, the exhibition features several of Turrell's older works that focus on light and perception. Afrum I (White) (1967) presents viewers with a glowing white cube that, upon closer inspection, reveals itself to be simply two intersecting planes. The Single Wall Projection Pado (White) (1967) turns a section of wall into what appears to be a luminous opening to another realm. Litar, one of Turrell's Space Division Constructions, troubles the viewer with a rectangle of uncertain description. Is it a flat panel of color? A foggy void? Or an opening into another chamber? James Turrell runs from June 21, 2013 until September 25, 2013.
For many, work by American artist James Turrell is instantly recognizable. Using light and basic geometric forms as the material of his compositions, Turrell subtly alters space and perception for visitors, creating weight and depth through visual experience that evokes meditation and contemplation. Turrell's work is at its height when gazing skyward. Multiple iterations of his Skyspace series have appeared around the world framing a dramatic slice of the heavens in his pristine geometry. The work is, essentially, a skylight: an opening above a room or pavilion for viewing the sky above, but to reduce the work to its function would disregard the transformative power of a simple yet moving experience. In each installation, a confined aperture begins to decontextualize the sky, featuring the color and texture of what is seen as an element of the art. A few weeks ago, a new Turrell Skyspace was completed at Rice University in Houston, Texas. The work, entitled Twilight Epiphany, features Turrel's unique understanding of perception while building dramatically upon prior installations. A gently-sloped pyramidal mound carpeted in turf rises from the surrounding courtyard. A knife-edged white square floats above the hill, appearing as a horizontal plane without vertical dimension, into which a square aperture has been cut. From the top edge of the pyramid, LED lights wash the underside of the ceiling plane in color. To receive the full experience of the light compositions, visitors enter the structure from the two opposite sides, either decending down a ramp into an interior void or ascending staircases to sit in a ring around the outside rim of the pyramid. "If you take a photo of the sky in this skyspace, the color you see in the opening is not actually going to show up in your camera because in fact it is not there," Turrell said in a statement. "This is a gentle reminder that because we give the sky its color and then change the color of the sky, we create the reality in which we live." Besides the surreal light shows, Twilight Epiphany has been designed as an acoustics-conscious performance space. Twelve speakers are embedded in the pyramid's interior walls, offering musicians a chance to compose for the unique space, fitting since the pavilion is located alongside the Shepherd School of Music.