James Turrell provides a mind-bending experience for Team Nulty!

Not even extreme weather conditions could stop the curious Nulty team from embarking on a journey all the way to Norfolk county to experience James Turrell’s lighting spectacle, LightScape, at Houghton Hall. After all, who could say no to seeing both countless little deer and masterfully concealed light sources in one afternoon?

The exhibition offers an insight into a very broad spectrum of Turrell’s work, as some of the installations, holograms and prints on show date back to the 1960s, while others have been created more recently. What makes the exhibition so rich and inspiring is an interesting combination of immersing lighting experiences embracing the observer and two- dimensional surfaces challenging their perception.

Early works, such as Raethro, Red and Enzu, Green [1968] are light “Projection Pieces” forming geometrical shapes that appear as if they are free standing bright saturated objects, floating in mid-air. This interesting effect is created by projecting a controlled sharp beam of light from the opposite corner of the room. A similar impression of floating is achieved in his ‘Shallow Space Constructions’ by backlighting a false wall and making its edges glow brightly, while the surface itself is uniformly lit. Raemar, Magenta [1970] is challenging our depth perception while being submerged in a pool of violet.

LightScape Houghton Hall Light Art Team Trip Nulty

St. Elmo’s Breath [1992] falls under Turrell’s “Space Division” series and plays with eyes’ adjustability to low-level lighting conditions. After several moments of perceiving the space as pitch-black, eyes slowly detect a large rectangular shape on the wall, which, as time passes, grows brighter and more uniformly lit. Light slowly seems to spread out from the corners and fill in the middle, as we form an impression of staring into an infinite void.

More recent pieces on show include Tortiose Beats Hare [2015] from Magnatron Series and Shirim [2015] from the Tall Glass series. Both are displayed as rectangular internally lit wall apertures. While the first one is based on a quick-changing range of colour hues which appear to grow, fade, pulsate and even disappear entirely, the second one is more slow-paced but impressive in its display of soft pastel gradients. Tall Glass series are somewhat unique in Turrell’s work, as they include a perfectly backlit frosted glass panel rather than a floodlit void.

James Turrell LightScape Norfolk Light Art Blog Nulty

Finally, Houghton Hall offers a wide range of holograms, prints and models, as well as a full scale Skyspace, hiding in the gardens for more than a decade. The exhibition is concluded at dusk by a magnificent light show, covering the whole west façade of Houghton in dynamic saturated shades.

Such a wide and diverse collection of Mr. Turrell’s work is rarely presented together, and we at Nulty truly believe that it is worth a visit whether you are a lighting professional, an art enthusiast or a curious passer-by. All you really need to research is the weather forecast.

Blog post by Bojana Nikolic