tate 3 11-02-2010

apropos miroslaw balka’s how it is (see tate 1 below) and other works which seek to mimic external environments inside a gallery... it wasn’t until i was travelling home that i remembered james turrell’s deer shelter at the yorkshire sculpture park, a semi-submerged room of concrete seats tilted backwards so that one looks up at a square opening in the roof, the edges of which are so thin you are looking at a square of suspended sky, constantly moving and changing and pouring light down into the room. it’s one of the most simple and sublime and involving works i have ever seen, and deeply moving.

turrell had an exhibition of indoor installations / light sculptures in the park’s gallery several years ago. most were rooms full of vivid, saturated, brightly coloured light, the walls, shadows and sheets of gauze arranged in such a way that you quickly lost a sense of where you were and what you were looking at (i’m not even sure were any sheets of gauze, it was that disconcerting). in short, it did something similar to what balka’s how it is purports to do, but it did it better and with modest means and in a way that seemed both generous and inclusive.

[photo by lizjones112 @ flickr under creative commons]