Thursday, August 07, 2008

Bruton Family holiday 2008: Northumberland - part 7 - Skyspace

Kielder Skyspace. Described in the leaflets as:
Visitors to Skyspace will find themselves in a circular room where the artist manipulates our normal perceptions of light and space. In daylight hours, this chamber, illuminated only by natural light through the roof opening, is a contemplative space that focuses the visitor’s attention on the sky. During the changing light conditions at dusk and dawn, the lighting system becomes active and visitors can expect to experience a rich and unforgettable display of tone and colour
Described by Molly as "good to look at for a second, and nice to photograph".
Described by Louise as "Okay" & "Not worth the walk"
Of course, since it was one of those destination artworks there was the small matter of at least a mile and a half to walk up to it through the forest. Which was lovely, but it was all uphill on a very loose, rough forest road.
But I loved it. I could easily have sat there all afternoon and just relaxed. And at dusk, when the lighting system turns on it must be even better.

It's one of James Turrell's Skyspace installations. There's another one at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park which Molly and I will try to get to this holiday. According to this piece the Yorkshire one is better as the reviewer just didn't think much of the Kielder Skyspace. Personally I don't agree and actually found the idea of the "pilgrimage" undertaken to the Skyspace made the contemplative and restful nature of the installation work so much better. It was a wonder to just sit and rest and watch the sky.

Of course, doing a little reading on Turrell was as illuminating as always. Particularly this BBC piece and the lines:
After more than 500 hours flying his single engine plane in the search for the perfect volcano, in 1974 Turrell found Roden Crater. In 1977 he bought the volcano and began the long process of raising funds to develop the site.
Without drastically altering the natural site, Turrell’s vision is to create a number of chambers within the volcano where visitors will ‘feel the presence of gathered starlight’. To this end he has engineered a set of dimly lit corridors and rooms that have a perfect view of the craters rim, therefore limiting the horizon and providing a bowl like view of the sky.
Buying an extinct volcano to create a huge viewing area designed to restrict the actual view available to the visitor. Genius.

A little photography session entailed from Molly and myself. She's just so much better with the camera than I am. Not fair. But she seems to instinctively take a good photo whereas I look at something and think it will be a good photo and find the results disappoint me. Molly just looks, points, shoots and ends up with something really good. So all of these are by Molly, except, obviously, the last one.

Northumberland 2008 - start here

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