JOSE IGNACIO, URUGUAY - Posada Ayana, an idyllic 17-room hotel in the vibrant Uruguayan town of Jose Ignacio, announced the unveiling of James Turrell’s first freestanding Skyspace in South America (titled Ta Khut) on its property grounds on November 20, 2021. Located steps from the famous Mansa beach, the hotel briefly opened to local residents in 2020 and will re-open to the world in November 2021.
The idea behind Posada Ayana is to offer its select guests a relaxed hospitality rendered with the glamour of the Cote d'Azur of the 50s and 60s and with the privacy and comfort that only a luxury, adult-only property can guarantee. A feeling of utter serenity can be savored the moment guests step onto the property: concrete and local rocks are juxtaposed to the warmth of the Paraguayan Lapacho wood, creating ample spaces (both public and private) that live harmoniously within the surrounding lush gardens. Each guestroom is at least 500 sq feet with private gardens or ocean views and drenched in natural light with floor-to-ceiling windows on at least two sides. The public spaces are equally stunning with a spacious terrace housing the on-property restaurant overlooking the gardens and the ocean in close distance. The interiors have been crafted to respect the style of the property and its environs: every piece of furniture is sourced locally from Uruguay or Argentina and the majority is restored or unique vintage pieces from the 50s and 60s sourced from the adjacent towns of Montevideo and Punta del Este. Local production and sustainability are also important pillars for the property: from the produce used in the kitchen to the hotel amenities, everything is sourced locally and -- where applicable -- recycled and organic.
Robert and Edda Kofler, owners and creative directors of Posada Ayana, worked with James Turrell and his team for over two years to build and house the first freestanding Skyspace in South America -- titled Ta Khut (The Light in early Egyptian) -- as part of their property’s park. Measuring 9.44 m diameter and 7.62 m high, the structure is made of 42,000 kg of pure white marble from Laas, South Tyrol tracing the heritage of Robert Kofler. Turrell’s signature immersive light installation, carving out a 16-foot piece of the sky and framing it as a canvas with infinite depth, is set atop an 26 m rectangular temple-like structure clad in earth and grass with entrances to the dome opened on both sides. The Lapacho wood doors invite the viewer to come into the structure -paved in an earthy, merlot-colored granite reminiscent of Turrell’s native Arizona- to experience the space of the sky that is no longer far and unattainable but brought close in touch with the viewer according to where they are sitting.
James Turrell says, “This piece presents the merging of two great traditions. You can see the pyramidal structure in the Gobi in China and in the Western Hemisphere in the Mayan culture and in Egypt. Merging with this, you can see the Stupa, which actually comes from Tibet and carries through Sri Lanka, Thailand, China and up to Japan. I love the idea of bringing together the ephemeral and the physical through light as a medium and from the light outside and the light inside”
The Koflers were the ones to introduce the Master of Light to this part of the world for he had never been to Uruguay before this project. Turrell was captivated by the advancing, contemporary art scene in Uruguay and particularly fascinated by the beguiling sky — especially the night sky — of Jose Ignacio.
Robert and Edda Kofler note, “We are humbled and honored to have worked with an artist that we admire and respect so much. The entire process was one of the most creatively fulfilling projects we have been a part of and we cannot wait to share the art with our guests and the world.”