press release


HE NMAC Foundation presents a new site specific project by the artists James Turrell. Second Wind is an underground architectural skyspace piece, in which viewers enter an inner pyramid, via a tunnel. Inside is a stone stupa, surrounded by a pool. Stupas are circular domes used in Buddhist architecture, and whose shape and position have the effect of making the cosmos appear closer. The passageway into the stupa leads to a room with a circular hole in the ceiling, open to the sky. Here, visitors can sit down and watch the changes of light "sculpted" by the artist. Turrell particularly recommends enjoying it in twilight, when light is at its most intense and the colours of the sky are enhanced, altering the viewer's perception of the sky as a space, a shape and an object.

In this project, curated by Jimena Blázquez Abascal, Turrell has managed to create the illusion that the sky is just within our reach, blurring the dividing line between matter and emptiness. To enter the skyspace is to come closer to the immensity of the cosmos, making one question the difference between vision and perception. Its importance also lies in the fact that it is Turrell's first permanent site-specific work produced in Spain, and his largest in Europe.

Following his initial visit to NMAC in October 20006, the US artist expressed his interest in producing a project for the natural surroundings in which the Foundation stands. It was during this visit that he chose the site, and stated that "I am going to enhance something that is out there – natural light – but which we barely appreciate because, in theses, latitudes, there is no lack of it".

The historical and artistic relevance of the work of James Turrell (Los Angeles, California, 1943) lies in his ability to examine the way, in which we perceive light, and to isolate those features and present them to the viewer in each of his works. Instead of showing us the results of his research into the psychological perception of light, Turrell wants viewers to discover them for themselves, through their own experience. With his artworks, he offers us the chance to understand the various features of light and solar energy, and how the retina responds when faced with the changes in brightness and colour that take place throughout the day and in our planet's two different hemispheres.

His fascination with the phenomena of light is related to his personal, inward search for mankind's place in the universe. Influenced by his Quaker upbringing, which he characterizes as having a 'straightforward, strict presentation of the sublime', Turrell's art prompts greater self-awareness though a similar discipline of silent contemplation, patience, and meditation.

To coincide with this project, NMAC Foundation will be issuing a catalogue, published by CHARTA. The book contains a text by Michael Govan Director of LACMA and curator of his next coming show at the Guggenheim Museum, a critique on psychological perception by Sharon Goto and William Banks, two leading US professors of psychology, an interview between Jimena Blázquez and the artists and photographs by Florian Holzherr.

The NMAC Foundation is a non-profit organization opened to the public in 2001. It was created as a point of interaction between its social, cultural and territorial context. Since the very beginning it was committed to support contemporary artists on site -specific projects, which promote social dialogue and understanding through art. It has already worked with over 40 international artists on site specific commissions and where most of the projects form part of NMAC collection.

James Turrell