Ahh the endless possibilities of neon! Devised to tickle the viewer’s perceptual confidence and to create an experience reaching beyond empirical discernment, James Turrell’s dynamic light installation is a spot on example of the recurring amazement we feel when confronted with neon’s versatility.
Source: Beshara Magazine
The prominent American artist has composed a symphony of light tones for the 20th century chapel of the Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof in Berlin’s Mitte. Starting with soft blue shades the light show accompanies the comparatively uneventful setting of the Berlin sun, gradually turning into a proper orchestra of phosphorescent colour.
The permanent light installation has been ritually accompanying the sunset twice a week, beginning 30 minutes before dusk, since July 2015. For information about the seasonal opening times visit the page dedicated to the installation.
Source: Sleek Magazine
Putting the concept of gothic churches’ coloured stained glass windows on its head, Turrell puts the brightly coloured artificial neon and LED light in opposition to the timid shades of the natural light entering the chapel's milky windows, to trick the viewers’ perception of light and colour; the effect being further enhanced by the lighting of the altar’s candles. We found the effect achieved mind-blowing: by working with indirect light and its interaction with space, the neons acquired unexpected softness and manipulability.
The chapel is still in use for the funerary services of the historical cemetery, which holds the remains of key contributors of Berlin’s cultural and historical heritage like Berthold Brecht, Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel and Karl Friedrich Schinkel. For these religious services Turrell has designed four different arrangements of white light.
Neon is generally instinctively linked to popular art, due to its widespread use in advertising, but Turrell has been among the pioneers introducing it into optical art, minimalism and geometric abstraction.
Though the figurative potential of neon is clearly tempting, so that it is rarely employed in abstract compositions, we find neon just as fascinating in lines and simple geometric shapes, like the edition we created in collaboration with Studio Weissschwarz or the installation pictured above we produced for club Welo in Karlstad.