This and That

Random bits of my life

“Light Spaces” at the Israel Museum

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 14, 2014

James Turrell, "Raemar Pink White"

James Turrell’s “Light Spaces” exhibit is in the Modern and Contemporary Art wing of the Israel Museum until the end of this month. His light installations at first seem not too remarkable–even migraine-inducing–but if you take the time to sit and study them, you become aware of changes in your perception. Walls and corners project and recede, colours change, and dimensions shift.

The “Raemar Pink White” installation (above), first shown in 1967, is part of the Shallow Spaces series, which uses light in a partitioned space to manipulate the eye’s perception of depth. By the way, when you leave the room, the world looks green.

“Afrum” (below) appears to be a white cube floating in space. This clever illusion is created by a strong light projected onto a corner of the room.

James Turrell, "Afrum"

“Key Lime” appears to be a translucent wall, suggested by the red borders. It’s created by coloured lights around the corner. You are allowed to walk into this installation.

James Turrell, "Key Lime"

A guard is telling two boys not to go too far. When you stand at the red “boundary” and twirl around, it likes your arm is disappearing into a wall.  These photographs were quite challenging because of the very dim light. Officially, photography is not allowed in this exhibit, but most rooms didn’t have guards (can you imagine having to sit in front of the pink rectangle for an hour?) and the guard in “Key Lime” didn’t object to my photographing the installation with my DSLR. He wasn’t too thrilled when one of the boys pulled out a cellphone and photographed it with a flash.

James Turrell, "Key Lime"

This installation is not part of “Light Spaces.” I photographed it because I’m interested in art that uses recycled objects. Ghanaian artist El Anatsui’s “Many Moons” is created entirely of flattened bottle caps that have been sewn together with copper wire in a pattern reminiscent of African Kente cloth. I don’t think the strips are bottle caps; the shape is different and they appear to be plastic. Perhaps they’re the wrappers that cover the tops of the bottles. The labour involved in creating this enormous sculpture is staggering. This piece drapes like cloth, although it’s entirely metal and plastic.

El Anatsui, "Many Moons"

Detail of circular strips flattened into triangles and sewn together.

El Anatsui, "Many Moons"

Bottle caps flattened into squares and sewn together.

El Anatsui, "Many Moons"

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