The intensities of colour found in some of James Turrell’s light works might warrant the description “psychedelic” at times, although “transcendental” is probably more apt when it comes to his immersive environments. Dhatu is one of the latter, a new installation at the Gagosian Gallery, London, where a room filled with changing shades of light has been named after a bodily element from Buddhism. The gallery says of the work:
Light like this is seen rarely with the eyes open, yet it is familiar to that which can be apprehended with the eyes closed in lucid dream, deep meditation, and near-death experiences.
Bindu Shards (2010).
As for Bindu Shards, also at the Gagosian, the name refers to a kind of cosmic singularity in Hinduism and for this Turrell has created a bathysphere-like chamber which visitors are required to enter one at a time in order to experience its light show. This one really does sound psychedelic if Jonathan Jones’ frothing description is anything to go by:
Then I see a cityscape of vertiginous skyscrapers, with no earth below. All these forms and volumes that pulse and metamorphosise are defined by colours that change convulsively – the most intensely saturated greens and reds you can imagine, colours that seem solid, then burst into microscopic patterns of oranges, blacks, gold and misty white; all these colours bubble and whir at breakneck speed, as if you were in a particle accelerator. (More)
And a frothing description is all that’s available unfortunately, now that visiting sessions are fully-booked, but the other Turrell works will be on view until December 10, 2010.