Whether it’s in a museum, resort, or private home, American artist James Turrell has a way of transforming the places he works in, and now, the idyllic mountains of western Austria are no exception.
Since the 1970s, Turrell has created a series of “skyspaces” around the world by designing enclosed buildings that open to the sky thanks to an aperture in the roof. Turrell’s most recent Skyspace installation is nestled into the Arlberg Mountains where it turns the broad, clear sky into a piece of art.
Turrell set the piece inside a domed stone building that sits at the end of a hiking trail, where word has it, the artist was so taken with the surroundings that he decided he had to install a work at the site.
Like his 2005 piece Piz Uter, Turrell’s new installation is designed to take advantage of its mountainous surroundings. To access the Skyspace, visitors walk through a glowing subterranean tunnel whose door was built to perfectly align to Biberkopf peak.
Once inside what Turrell calls the “sensing room,” visitors find themselves in a space swathed in light that cycles through saturated purples, pinks, and blues. At the top of the dome, a window 30 feet in diameter looks out onto sky. Glancing back through the entrance, the precisely positioned doorway creates a frame for the nearby peak.