Monday, April 29, 2013

James Turrell's Afrum Projections

James Turrell is an American artist primarily concerned with light and space. In the mid 1960's Turrell began working on a series of "corner projection" pieces, the first of which was entitled Afrum-Proto. Made by aiming the light from a slide projector through a template, the resulting projection is a floating optical illusion in the corner of a room. In this series Turrell successfully made light sculptural - a truly groundbreaking feat. These seemingly three-dimensional cubes challenge the viewers perceptions of tangibility. The artist once said,
"In working with light, what is really important to me is to create an experience of wordless thought, to make the quality and sensation of light itself really quite tactile."
This quote in a nutshell perfectly describes Turrell's Afrum projections. Informed by his studies in perceptual psychology and optical illusions, Turrell’s work allows viewers to see themselves “seeing.”  Turrell's fascination with the phenomena of light is connected to his own personal, inward search for mankind’s place in the universe. Brought up as a child under the Quaker faith, Turrell has been heavily influenced by his religion's teachings which he describes as having a “straightforward, strict presentation of the sublime." Turrell’s art prompts greater self-awareness through a similar discipline of silent contemplation, patience, and meditation.

Turrell has been the recipient of the Gugenheim and MacArthur fellowships. For more, read excerpts from Turrell's book The Art of Light and Space


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