“Light is the material I use, perception is the medium, my work has no subject, perception is the subject,” explains James Turrell.
Continuing with their theme of experimentating with light initiated by Susanna Fritscher in 2017, the Nantes’ Fine Arts Museum presents the work of American artist James Turrell and one of his central works, Cherry: an immersive piece from 1998.
James Turrell creates “perceptual environments” in rooms or spaces that open out onto the sky, thus destabilising the spectator’s senses and laying new foundations in art history.
In order to experience Cherry (1998), spectators enter a cube through a dim corridor. The eye grows accustomed to the dark, then gradually sees a red rectangle where the colour asserts itself more and more purely to the point of being hypnotic. Is it a monochrome flat tint, a volume, a precipice, or a screen?
There lies the mystery in Turrell’s works: simultaneously present and impalpable, real and immaterial, they sow the seeds of doubt in our perception and place the spectator at the heart of a work where time appears to be suspended.
© James Turrell