James Turrell Berlin Chapel altar illuminate light

James Turrell’s Berlin Chapel is Beautifully Illuminated

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James Turrell’s Berlin Chapel of Dorotheenstadt cemetery has a beautiful and unique lighting concept you should not miss! As part of a publicly funded project the cemetery chapel was extensively renovated and modernized. The interior design is based on a work by the American artist. 

James Turrell’s Berlin Chapel implements biblical ideas about light

God is understood as an overflowing source of light. In Western Europe, these Christian ideas of god and light were first put into architectural form in the Gothic churches of the Middle Ages. In some sense, light became a building material. Comparable to Gothic church architecture, Turrell does not illuminate rooms in a conventional sense. The origin of the light always remains hidden. James Turrell’s artistic lighting concept for the chapel of Dorotheenstadt cemetery provides a deeper understanding of Christian resurrection hope.

A Unique Light Show

Every day, one hour before sunrise, the lights in the chapel begin to change their colors. The chapel’s artificial lights mingle with the glimmer that falls through the windows. The result is an incredible play of colors. Turrell is one of the few who manages to harmonize artificial light with natural phenomena. They complement each other perfectly and their combination creates something completely new.

One main source of light is the altar – A cube of frosted acrylic glass with recessed LEDs. The altar glows in alternating colors like radiant blue, mint green, saffron yellow, or bright red. In addition, illuminted discs on each side of the windows also emit light. Together with the other light sources in the room they create a colorful melange. The technology allows a seamless change of colors and endless variations. The impression is phenomenal. Some visitors wonder whether they should consider this to be great kitsch or a sublime moment. But no matter what, the endlessly changing lights in James Turrell’s Berlin Chapel are a free sight you defenitely should include in your trip to Berlin!

For more information please visit here (in German).

Other amazing sights free of charge in Berlin.

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