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The Mattress Factory is an artist-centered museum, international residency program and renowned producer and presenter of installation art. We say “yes” to artists, offering time and space to dream and realize projects in our hometown, Pittsburgh, PA. We invite audiences from around the world and around the corner to step inside, immerse and connect with the artistic process.

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On View

James Turrell

Danaë

This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

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Turrell manipulates light in his installations. He uses no magic tricks, no sleight of hand, just a well-researched understanding of the possibilities of light and the known perceptions of the eye.

James Turrell's Danaë presents light not as an illuminating factor, but as a tangible entity. The piece's enigmatic violet rectangle, which appears as a painted canvas at first, is in reality an ethereal plane of blue light. It beckons visitors to touch and explore its depths, allowing them to indulge in Turrell's study of the tangible essence of light. 

Artist Statement

Danaë is the first time I put light on the other side of the aperture. I have made pieces that took all their light from outside the space, like the one at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In this one, I wanted to balance the light on the outside with the light on the inside.

When

Long-term

1983

Where

500 Sampsonia, 2nd Floor

ACCEssibility

This work is on an intentionally dark floor

About The Artist

James Turrell is one of the most celebrated American artists working today. Born in California in 1943, he grew up with an enduring love of aviation and the sky, as well as a fascination with light. His Quaker background also substantially formed his approach to life and art, with its emphasis on silent access to the “light within.” From age six, Turrell was urged by his grandmother to “go inside and greet the light” at Quaker meetings. In the early 1960’s, Turrell studied perceptual psychology at Pomona College, taking additional classes in other scientific disciplines, such as mathematics, geology and astronomy.

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