On Sunday, we woke up very early and made our way to the Chinati Foundation in hopes of experiencing a few of the exhibits during sunrise. And as the sun rose through the fields, I saw more and more people making the same trek, dark figures moving in formation along the gravel pathway towards the hangars, where aluminum blocks awaited us. Donald Judd’s 100 untitled works in mill aluminum is a collection of these rectangular aluminum structures lined up and facing tall windows inside an old hangar. Every structure is the same in dimension externally , but the inside is build slightly differently for the purpose of reflecting and accepting light in various ways. The light coming through, shining on surfaces and creeping into each crevice of these structures created these beautiful tones and ombré that a photograph really does not do any justice.
One of my favorite experience in Marfa was walking down the hallways of Robert Irwin’s dawn to dusk exhibit where I was able to experience the progression of natural light. I felt as if I were inside a camera obscura, watching the light shine through and reflect off the mesh and onto the walls. The existence of light created these golden hues that were really beautiful to see as the sun rose from the horizon and projected itself into these narrow rooms.
Later in the day, we were able to see all of Dan Flavin’s untitled light installations. Each light structure had opposing colors that really strained my eyes. Whereas the existence of light in Donald Judd and Robert Irwin’s pieces created these subtle and beautiful tones of color, the absence of light in Dan Flavin’s rooms only intensified and heightened the effect of color on my eyes to point where I had to step outside and take a break from the abundance of hues. The monochromatic landscape just outside these buildings really helped to prepare me as I went back into the next building to experience it all over again.
There’s an excerpt from The Place We Live by Robert Adams that I’ve read and which has stayed with me for a very long time now. As I was having all these wonderful experiences with light, taking in the idea of West Texas, and driving through its landscapes and desolated towns this weekend I couldn’t help but recall some of Adams’ words.