James Turrell’s newest Skyspace rises in the mountains of Austria

by Andrew Manns | 11 Oct 2018

American artist James Turrell has recently unveiled Skyspace: Lech – the latest iteration of his Skyspace series, which was first developed in the 1970s.

Located 1,780m (5,800ft) above sea level in the Arlsberg mountains of Austria, the tumulus-like structure–dubbed the lightroom on the mountain – was produced in collaboration with German architectural firm, Baumshlager-Eberle.

Turrell, who draws artistic and spiritual inspiration from religious sites like the Egyptian pyramids, Machu Picchu, and the temples of Yucatan, designed the space to be both a sky observatory and a place to explore the hidden layers and chambers of human perception.

Accessible from nearby hiking trails, it mainly provides views of the surrounding valley but also features a numinous subterranean "Ganzfeldraum" lit by LEDs supplied by light technology company Zumtobel.

Commenting on the experiential aspect of the alpine Skyspace, Turrell explained: "My desire is to set up a situation to which I take you and let you see. It becomes your experience."

First envisioned in 2014, Turrell’s installation took three years to realise and was finally completed this September with the financial assistance of the Horizon Field Association and Lech residents.

James Turrell  Skyspace  Baumshlager-Eberle  Austria  Skyspace Lech 
American artist James Turrell has recently unveiled Skyspace: Lech – the latest iteration of his Skyspace series, which was first developed in the 1970s. Located 1,780m (5,800ft) above sea level in the Arlsberg mountains of Austria, the tumulus-like structure–dubbed the lightroom on the mountain – was produced in collaboration with German architectural firm, Baumshlager-Eberle. Turrell, who draws artistic and spiritual inspiration from religious sites like the Egyptian pyramids, Machu Picchu,
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Visitors can access the exhibition room via a 15-metres-long passageway / Photo by Florian Holzherr, courtesy of James Turrell
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James Turrell’s newest Skyspace rises in the mountains of Austria
American artist James Turrell has recently unveiled Skyspace: Lech – the latest iteration of his Skyspace series, which was first developed in the 1970s.