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How does geography shape us? Is it a simple coincidence that people are generally happier on sunny islands, or gloomier when living with less light? Why do we think of California as a happy place, and the bare though of Moscow can make us shudder, suddenly feeling cold?
I started thinking about all of this after reading a book about islands: the author argued that living on one shaped him in more ways he could even perceive. Two days later, I stumbled upon the work of Peter Alexander: I couldn’t believe his sculptures were made more than 50 years ago, they look so contemporary.
Made from raisin and beautifully crafted to catch the light and the fleeting sensation of its plays, his sculptures made me suddenly wonder where the artist was born. I opened a Wikipedia article and instantly clicked my fingers. California made so much sense; when I look at his light boxes, it’s as if he’s capturing my idea – or even our collective idea – of the place.
A part of the artistic movement Light & Space, his work examines the effects of light in its many variations. I followed link after link and not after long I was researching the movement itself: art of the 60s and 70s, dubbed California Minimalism because of the common themes and aesthetics with the city. “It has been argued that Light and Space art emerged in no small part because of Los Angeles’ radiant light and tempered atmosphere”, a website informed me. So my thoughts were not islands, after all – funny how this completely random search suddenly made sense with my thoughts from the previous days. I wonder if this has anything to do with the place I’m in right now…
- James Turrell
- Robert Irwin
- Larry Bell