Skyspace Lech. Fotograf: Florian Holzherr

© Skyspace Lech. Fotograf: Florian Holzherr

Germana Nagler Stellvertretende Direktorin & Leitung Marketing

19. September 2018 | All

Opening Skyspace Lech

We are not aware that we ourselves give the sky its colour. We think that everything is given, but we have an active part in creating the reality in which we live.

James Turrell in Lech
James Turrell US-american artist James Turrell

Oh, I was looking forward to this day: the Skyspace-Lech will finally open today! At the Arlberg we now have a work of art by the US-American light artist James Turrell.


11:30 am: with the Oberlech train to Oberlech and then with the Petersboden train on! A warm autumn day to ride the lift and already enjoy the beginnings of the colors in the landscape.12:00 o’clock: small hike to the Kriegeralpe where we take our lunch comfortably. The last “Horizon-Field Figure” looks at us from above.12:50 o’clock: Start to the hike over Waibermahd and Grubenalpe to the Skyspace-Lech.


13:20 o’clock: Approach to the Skyspace. There are already some visitors who admire the Skypace-Lech. We also approach the oval-shaped building and admire it from close up: The Skyspace-Lech is a few minutes walk from Oberlech on the alp “Tannegg”. The oval and vaulted building was largely erected underground in a hill: “In doing so, it meets the artist’s desire for as minimal an intervention in nature as possible,” explains Otto Huber, chairman of Horizon Field – Kunstverein Vorarlberg. A magnificent panorama opens up in front of the work of art, with a view axis stretching from the old hamlet of Bürstegg to the imposing summit of Biberkopf. In summer and winter a hiking trail passes by and the Skyspace-Lech is also easily accessible from the ski run to Oberlech.

Skyspace Lech von James Turrell. Fotograf: Florian Holzherr
Skyspace Lech
13:30: Mr. Otto Huber welcomes all visitors and gives the floor to Father Jodok Müller, who points out two points in his speech: on the one hand that heaven has two meanings. In the German language this is not as easily recognizable as in the English language: here one distinguishes between “heaven” and “sky” and the installation by James Turrell is clearly about the “sky”. The second aspect he mentions is the gift he has of observing the change of colours in nature. How a picture in nature can change every minute, every second: whether it is due to the play of clouds, the sun’s rays, or the change of seasons. James Turrell probably does something similar with us and shows us in the change of the lights new, different perspectives than the ones we already know.


14:45 Uhr: Mrs. Andrea Fink takes the first group to the inside of the Skyspace-Lech. Access to the artwork is via a 15-meter tunnel, “which can be seen as a quotation from the entrance area of the Roden Crater in Arizona, the main work of James Turrell,” as Prof. Wulf Herzogenrath, Akademie der Künste Berlin and profound Turrell expert, explains. It leads into the elliptical 9m long and 6m wide “Sensing Room”, which is equipped with a bench that is typical for Turrell. The bench is full and all visitors in the first belt can let 15 minutes of light installation work on us. Even if the room is full, there is complete silence during the short demonstration. I look around: the faces radiate enthusiasm! The building is equipped with a special dome that can be opened and thus opens the view to the sky – a special feature that no other Skyspace in the world has, says Ms. Fink.

Skyspace Lech. Fotograf: Florian Holzherr
Skyspace Lech. Photographer: Florian Holzherr

Then the group goes outside, where Mr. Otto Huber, the chairman of the Horizon Field association, takes the floor. Mr. Huber explains the creation of the artwork. When Turrell visited Lech in September 2014, he was fascinated by the mountain landscape and found the place with its rough weather conditions “perfect”. The planning and construction took four years. Due to the compatibility of the explicit requirements of the artist and the explicit high alpine location, the realization of the work of art was a difficult task, but one that was perfectly accomplished. For example, the dome must be able to withstand enormous amounts of snow in winter.

Mr. Huber talks about the artist James Turrell, who cannot be there for health reasons. James Turrell is one of the most important contemporary artists. His work on the Skyspace series began in the 1970s and now comprises over 75 works of art around the world. In the Roden Crater, an extinct volcano in the Arizona desert, James Turrell works on the largest man-made work of art ever. According to astronomical calculations, he builds a network of skyspaces inside the crater in which natural and artificial light combine to create a unique sensual experience. The Skyspace-Lech also follows this artistic concept.

James Turrell in Lech. Fotografin: Florian Holzherr
James Turrell

James Turrell was the first artist to be exhibited at the Kunsthaus Bregenz in 1997 and now returns to Vorarlberg after more than two decades.

Her Huber points out that the Skyspace Lech was only possible thanks to numerous donors and sponsors. In cooperation with Wolfgang Häusler and his gallery Häusler Contemporary, which also has Vorarlberg roots, the association succeeded in winning James Turrell over to the idea of a Skyspace in Lech. By selling 250 building blocks at a price of 1,000 Euro each, not only could a substantial part of the project budget be raised, but also a large community be won. In total, around 90% of the project budget was financed privately, and around 10% came from public funds. Special thanks go to BE Baumschlager Eberle, the community of Lech, Lech Zürs Tourismus, I+R Schertler, Gebrüder Rüf, Land Vorarlberg, Zumtobel Group, Doppelmayr Seilbahnen, EHG – Stahlzentrum, Generali Versicherung and all other supporters who can be found at
I absolutely want to look at Skyspace-Lech again and enjoy the light installation in full peace. 18:00 hours: 18:00 hours: 18:00 hours.

18:00: in the new Leche church. A live – interview of James Turrell is on the program and actually he talks to us about canvas. He conducts an interview with Mr. Wulf Herzogenrath. He says, as he has often stressed: “We are not aware that we ourselves give the sky its colour”. He also promises that if he feels fit again, he will go to Lech again.

Mr. Huber then introduces the board of the association and thanks all those involved: he names many companies that have worked with him, as well as the Berger Alpe, which is the landowner at this location, and all sponsors who believed in the project and worked or financed it.

Mayor Ludwig Muxel is delighted with the new work of art in Lech and Governor Markus Wallner calls it a point of fascination: “Those who go into the mountains come a little closer to heaven and this closeness brings about something in people. Such places make us reflect about what we do and what we do, and that also does us good. The artist changes our perception with space and light. He thanks all those involved for their initiative, which he calls a calling card of architectural art.

Then the Lech Zürs Tourismus GmbH invites you to a cosy drink where I can only collect enthusiastic opinions.

20:00 hours Enthusiastic about the day, about the encounters, about the words and about what I have experienced, I go home happy and full of new energy.

Skyspace Lech von James Turrell. Fotograf: Florian Holzherr
Skyspace Lech

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