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Afrum Red
1967
Xenon projection
Dimensions: Variable dimensions
Reference: ACF0512
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James Turrell first became interested in the infinite power of light in the 1960s when he was studying at Pomona College, California, and the University of California, Irvine, where he earned a degree in psychology in 1965 and completed an MA in Fine Arts in 1973. In the late 1960s, from the interior of the old Mendota Hotel in Santa Monica, California—a space he converted into a laboratory with almost perfectly white walls, ceiling and floor—he began to experiment with light, creating a type of work based on the artificial light coming from the exterior and interior of his studio. Works of this kind became the core of his subsequent output. The experimentation he engaged in led to ‘Mendota Hotel Stoppages’, a series he produced between 1968 and 1969 by controlling the artificial light from the outside that penetrated his studio through openings in the walls, varying according to the direction of the light source: headlamps of cars driving along the street, traffic lights or flashing advertising signs. Parallel to this series of works, whose life could be as short as a single night, he also made ‘Light Projections’, another series with light for interiors which, as the title suggests, involved projected light rather than a random source. The ‘Light Projections’ series, which he showed for the first time in 1967 at the Pasadena Art Museum of California, included both cross-corner and single-wall projections (projected into the corners of the exhibition space and onto the walls, respectively). Afrum Red is a work from this series that consists of a very intense light projected into the corner of a completely dark room. Although it looks like a three-dimensional cube, the work is in fact a light that gravitates permanently over the space of a room and has absolutely no physical support. Enigmatic and mysterious—since it is capable of conveying a density and weight it does not possess—this cross-corner piece only becomes real when the light source is switched on. A xenon projector emits a very intense red light that passes through a filter cut out in a square shape. The light produces a three-dimensional volume that is projected into the corner of the exhibition space, a volume that exists as a virtual reality and changes according to where the viewer stands.

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  • Rayzor / 1982

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