Extraordinary Ideas – Realized

James Turrell designs the current Zumtobel Group annual report

In the International Year of Light proclaimed by the United Nations, the Zumtobel Group’s artistic annual report has been designed by the U.S. light artist James Turrell. Every year since 1992, the Zumtobel Group has commissioned prominent designers from the fields of architecture, graphic design and art to design its annual report in the context of the broader topic of light and of the Group’s business.

Impressions from the Zumtobel Group annual report 2014/2015 © Zumtobel Group
Impressions from the Zumtobel Group annual report 2014/2015 © Zumtobel Group

Under the heading of "Extraordinary Ideas – Realized", the report features important installations by the artist from the various periods of his oeuvre. An extensive photographic documentation of Turrell’s installations is accompanied by essays and dialogues by and with some of his prominent contemporaries and companions, including experts from the fields of astronomy, physics, art history and medicine. As well as evidencing the diversity and depth of James Turrell’s work, the Zumtobel Group annual report is the first to feature images of his Skyspaces in Japan and Tasmania, and includes previously unpublished material on his earlier works.

Commenting on his own approach to light art, James Turrell says: "Light is a powerful substance. We have a primal connection to it. But, for something so powerful, situations for its felt presence are fragile. I form it as much as the material allows. I like to work with it so that you feel it physically, so you feel the presence of light inhabiting a space."

Impressions from the Zumtobel Group annual report 2014/2015 © Zumtobel Group
Impressions from the Zumtobel Group annual report 2014/2015 © Zumtobel Group

Turrell's fascination with light emerged during childhood in California

Turrell grew up in a Quaker family in California and his fascination with light emerged in childhood. After studying Art, Astronomy, Mathematics, and Perceptional Psychology at Pomona College where, he says, he was encouraged to pursue "extraordinary ideas", he went on to create spatial installations using light to realize these extraordinary ideas. "Extraordinary Ideas – Realized" is also the title of the Zumtobel Group annual report which documents both Turrell’s early work and the most important examples of his art. These include his various Skyspaces located around the world, the famous Skylight installation Aten Reign at the Guggenheim Museum in New York (2013) and his Ganzfeld installation Akhob for Louis Vuitton in Las Vegas (2013), along with other works that he realized with support from Zumtobel, such as the Ganzfeld Bridget’s Bardo at Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (2009) or the Tall Glass The Geometry of Light from 2007. Pride of place in the book and in Turrell’s oeuvre, however, goes to Roden Crater in Flagstaff, Arizona, an extinct volcano crater near the Grand Canyon, which Turrell, a keen amateur pilot, discovered from the air and which, since the 1970s, he has been transforming into a monumental work of art and observatory.

Annual Report first to feature images of Skyspaces in Japan and Tasmania

With few exceptions the photographs of the lighting installations in the annual report are by Munich-based photographer Florian Holzherr, who for the past 18 years and more has been documenting Turrell’s works, suffused with light and of intense colour. In his images, Holzherr succeeds in capturing the experience of looking at or walking through Turrell’s installations and the unique perception of light, colour, time and space that they enable. Specifically for the annual report, for the first time Holzherr photographed the two Skyspaces House of Light (1998–2000) – a Japanese bathhouse in Niigata Prefecture – and Amarna2 (2015) in Tasmania, Turrell’s largest Skyspace to date, in a whole spectrum of lighting moods.

The graphic concept behind the annual report is the work of Lorraine Wild of Green Dragon Office in Los Angeles. The report comprises two books in a slipcase. Wild specified the finest coated paper for the report with Japanese folding. The insides of the Japanese-folded pages are coloured along the visible colour spectrum, so that leafing through the report creates a rainbow-like impression. Photographs of James Turrell in and around his plane play an important part in the overall design, reflecting the significance of flying and the resultant personal experience of light in the atmosphere between earth and sky that is so central to Turrell’s work. The corporate section of the report, which fills the second book, takes up in terms of colour where the art book leaves off. Lorraine Wild has chosen a delicate shade of violet, the final colour in the spectrum, with blue printing. The corporate section comprises the letter from the CEO, reports on the three brands – Zumtobel, Thorn and Tridonic – and excerpts from the management report and consolidated financial statements.

For more information on the current annual report by James Turrell as well as a PDF with page-turning facility, see here.