James Turrell "The Elliptical Glass"

Exhibition, Häusler Contemporary Zurich

Häusler Contemporary Zurich presents James Turrell’s new light work "Elliptical Glass" for the first time. Along with historical projections from 1968 the exhibition embraces over fifty years of the artist’s lifework. It visualizes how Turrell succeeds in revealing something ordinary – the light – as a breathtaking phenomenon that provides insights into one's own perception.

Light art "Sloan Red" James Turrell
The light installation "Sloan Red" by James Turrell from 1968. © Florian Holzherr/James Turrell/Häusler Contemporary

James Turrell (*1943, Los Angeles) is considered one of the most important international artists of our time. His entire lifework is dedicated to dealing with natural and artificial light and its spatial manifestations. Like no other artist, he moves people with very different cultural backgrounds.

Light art "Elliptical Glass" by James Turrell
"Elliptical Glass" by James Turrell in 2017. © James Turrell/Häusler Contemporary

Häusler Contemporary is showcasing James Turrell’s newest and historical spatial light works and projections at their gallery in Zurich. The main focus of the exhibition is his latest theme "Elliptical Glass". This atmospheric architectural installation appears as an oval, colored luminous plane in the wall – at once seemingly impermeable and permeable.

In a process precisely programmed by the artist, the colorfulness of the lighting slowly changes from the center. This subtle dynamic creates a captivating effect on the viewer’s eye, which soon loses itself between a seemingly infinite depth and the unfathomable planarity.

As in James Turrell's highly acclaimed, expansive installations, the usual understanding of light and space is put to test and the observer is led to the borderlines of perception.

Light art "Raethro Green" by James Turrell
Light installation "Raethro Green" by James Turrell from 1968. © Florian Holzherr/James Turrell/Häusler Contemporary

Parallel to the new light work "Elliptical Glass" the exhibition shows selected historical projections which James Turrell developed in the mid-1960s. Thus, spanning over fifty years of Turrell’s work, from beginning to the present.

Since 1997, Zumtobel has been a partner in many of Turrell’s explorations of light and space. Turrell even curated the company's 2014/2015 artistic annual report. More collaboration followed, such as Turrell’s Ganzfeld "Bridget’s Bardo" in 2009 and Ganzfeld "Apani" in 2011.

Other projects, in which Turrell and Zumtobel were partners in light, were "Tall Glass Shonto" and "The Geometry of Light". The newest joint project is the Skyspace in Lech, Austria, due to open this year.

James Turrell "The Elliptical Glass"
Exhibition: January 26 – March 24, 2018
with generous support from Zumtobel


(Guest author: Deborah Keller, Häusler Contemporary)