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James Turrell Lights Up GOMA

It'll light up the gallery from dusk till midnight every evening.
By Sarah Ward
June 25, 2018
By Sarah Ward
June 25, 2018

It has been 11 art-filled years since Brisbane's Gallery of Modern Art first opened its doors, and the creative riverside hub just keeps going from strength to strength. Over the past year, Yayoi Kusama, Gerhard Richter and Patricia Piccinini exhibitions have all taken on the space, and now GOMA is preparing to unveil its illuminating new permanent work: a brand new light installation by artist James Turrell.

You might be familiar with the Arizona-based artist's work if you've been to Mona or the National Gallery of Australia (NGA). He's the one behind the sky-centred installations at both galleries — at Mona, the gazebo-like Armana lights up at sunrise and sunset each day, and at the NGA in Canberra, Within without acts as an outdoor viewing chamber to enhance your view of the sky. All up, Turrell has created 80 'skyspaces' like these around the world.

Brisbane's Turrell piece isn't a standalone structure like these other two Australian works. Instead, the work will light up GOMA's eastern and southern white façades from within the building with a pattern developed by Turrell especially for the location. It's been described as "an ever-evolving pattern of intensifying and diffusing coloured light" by GOMA director Chris Saines, and when lit, it will make the gallery visible from across the river and around South Bank's cultural precinct.

The plan is to light up the gallery from dusk until midnight each evening — and while the tunnel was originally set to be installed by late last year, it'll officially start glowing from 6pm on Friday, July 13, with Turrell in attendance. There'll be drinks and food available to buy, turning the whole thing into a party. And if you're keen on hearing more about the artwork, head back at 11am on Saturday, July 14 for a talk with Turrell himself.

And while it's a new addition to GOMA, it's also a feature that ties into the gallery's history. As Saines explains, "during the development of GOMA, lead architects Kerry Clare, Lindsay Clare and James Jones envisaged an artist-illuminated 'white box' on the gallery's main pedestrian approaches. More than a decade on, Turrell's architectural light installation realises the potential of GOMA's white box façade, and completes a major aspect of the architects' original design intention."

By Lauren Vadnjal and Sarah Ward.


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