“My Works Are Not About Light, They Are Light”


The world-famous light artist James Turrell has created an almost mystical light-space on the mountain in Lech Zürs, Vorarlberg, Austria. The piece, called Skyspace Lech, is a perfect example of the successful integration of public art into its surrounding landscape. The Lightroom, located high up in the alpine mountains, is where the convergence of sky and earth can be experienced in a new dimension.

“We seem not to be aware that we ourselves consign the sky its color. We think that everything is predetermined; however, we do play an active part in creating the reality in which we live.” James Turrell.

James Turrell is considered by many to be the most important contemporary light artist. For more than half a century he has been preoccupied with the phenomena of light and space. He studied mathematics and psychology and can be described as a pioneer in the field of light art. Since the 1960s he has been creating works of art that give viewers a better understanding of the limits and wonders of human perception.

“His work is not about light or the capture of light, it is light – the physical presence of light that is manifested in sensory form,” wrote Calvin Tomkins, the New York writer and art critic.
The planning of the piece began back in 2014 with Turrell’s detailed sketches and plans. In early 2015 they were then transformed into blueprints by the renowned architects, Baumschlager-Eberle. The oval light space measures 9 x 6 metres, with a height of 5.2 metres. The oval opening in the ceiling, which gives a clear view of the sky, measures 3.5 x 2.6 metres. The inside of the Skyspace is lined with black granite and features an all-round bench which is designed to direct the visitor’s gaze to the sky.

Access is via a 15-metre long tunnel which is a separate light space. A magnificent panorama opens up in front of the building, providing a line of sight over the old village of Bürstegg to the imposing peak of the Biberkopf.

James Turrell drew on his experience of the location in Lech and his preoccupation with the art of light to create this composition, which provides visitors with an exceptional visual perception and a profound experience of light, time and space.

The project was supported and realized by Horizon Field – Kunstverein Vorarlberg.

All photography by Florian Holzherr



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