11.8 x 16.2 cm
30 x 40 cm (Passepartout)
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by the artist
The Roden Crater (view from the southwest)
Annual members’ gift, Stiftung für konstruktive und konkrete Kunst, 2001/2002
Photograph by Florian Holzherr, Munich
James Turrell (born 1943 in Los Angeles, USA) is a master of light. He continues to fascinate audiences all over the world with his unique, magical, and mystical light rooms, including his “Dark Spaces,” which are rooms in which time is needed to perceive a dim light source, and his “Ganzfeld Pieces,” in which visitors lose all sense of orientation in an atmosphere charged with colored light. Turrell grew up in a deeply religious Quaker family, and he became familiar with the metaphysical significance of light already in childhood. He studied psychology and mathematics from 1961 to 1965 before turning to art. This transdisciplinary background forms a basis for his ongoing exploration of light, space, and time that he has pursued since 1966. From 1966 to 1974, Turrell rented the former “Mendota Hotel” in Ocean Park, California, as a studio. During this time, he worked intensely with light projections (“Cross Corner Projections,” “Wedgework Series”) and designed light rooms that were only realized many decades later with the development of new technologies (like LED lights).
After giving up this studio in 1974, Turrell flew around in his airplane in search of the ideal site for his vision of a gesamtkunstwerk devoted to the phenomena of light, space, and time. He found it in Roden Crater, an extinct volcano on the outskirts of the Painted Desert, near Flagstaff in northern Arizona. Construction began in 1998, and the first stage was completed two years later. This magnum opus of light rooms he designs himself is being completed bit by bit. Visitors enter the Roden Crater through a long, dark tunnel called the Alpha (East) Tunnel. Upon entering, visitors wander through different light rooms (like the “Sun | Moon Chamber”), connected by hallways, until finally reaching the caldera, the crater itself, which is open to the sky – the “Crater’s Eye.” Science, metaphysics, and art are tightly interwoven in this gesamtkunstwerk with a highly spiritual vibe. Its visionary combination of art and cosmology makes the Roden Crater site unique in all the world.
His artist’s edition, published on occasion of the Turrell retrospective at the Museum Haus Konstruktiv in 2001/02, also refers to this work. However, instead of providing a conventional picture of this artistic intervention, he presents a distant view of the volcano, seen towering above the plain, keeping the secret of its magnificent interior close.