As discussed in Mantegna’s Camera degli Sposi, the perception of infinite and immeasurablespace is often presented to us through a pictorial illusion. The architectureof the work and its ability to provide shelter and privacy to a newlywed coupleis the room’s priority, while reducing any spatial limitations or sense ofclaustrophobia through the imagery of exterior space within the interior.
Krischanitzstates that ‘space is existential, yet relative. It is specific to differentcultures and closely related to the habitat of its members’ (1992, p. 7). Inrelation to the Camera degli Sposi, thespace and atmosphere of the room has been altered through painting andarchitectural surface in relation to its intended occupiers. The renownedartist and theorist Theo van Doesburg (1883-1931) explains the significance ofthis technique when he states that ‘Ultimatelyonly the surface is crucial for architecture, man does not exist in theconstruction, but in the atmospherethat is evoked by the surface’ (Doesburgin Neumeyer, 1999, p.
252). In the Cameradegli Sposi, the narrative figures portrayed throughout the room areessential to the desired environment of its original function. The most obviousexamples of this are the multiple depictions of Cupid: God of love, affection, attraction and desire. In this sense, theimagery Mantegna has used is site-specific. Similarly, when Turrell is asked toproduce a Skyspace for an art galleryor museum, he takes ‘special consideration for the architectural features ofthe actual exhibition room.
He demonstrates this by inserting partitionsand making various architectural cuts that are always in harmony with theexisting architecture’ (Svestka, 1992, p. 34). Turrell’s permanent Skyspace at the Yorkshire Sculpture Parkis a clear example. Consisting of a square-shaped aperture placed in the centreof a small, also square-shaped, chamber-like room, the Skyspace can be found within the Park’s Deer Shelter. This is an 18th-century,Grade II-listed building, and it was Turrell who approached the YorkshireSculpture Park in 1993 with a proposal for this particular Skyspace (Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2017).
When looking at the Skyspace from an indirect angle, thesquare aperture merges into a trapezium shape, which perfectly matches theshape of the concrete seats surrounding the room below. It almost creates theillusion that the seats are reflecting the Skyspace.This gives us the impression that Turrell would have chosen to use asquare-shaped aperture in order to harmonize the original structures foundwithin the space. The site-specificity here, in relation to the appearance ofthe work, is similar to the way Mantegna has used particular imagery tosymbolise the proposed function of the room.