As to us through a pictorial illusion. The architecture

As discussed in Mantegna’s Camera degli Sposi, the perception of infinite and immeasurable
space is often presented to us through a pictorial illusion. The architecture
of the work and its ability to provide shelter and privacy to a newlywed couple
is the room’s priority, while reducing any spatial limitations or sense of
claustrophobia through the imagery of exterior space within the interior. Krischanitz
states that ‘space is existential, yet relative. It is specific to different
cultures and closely related to the habitat of its members’ (1992, p. 7). In
relation to the Camera degli Sposi, the
space and atmosphere of the room has been altered through painting and
architectural surface in relation to its intended occupiers. The renowned
artist and theorist Theo van Doesburg (1883-1931) explains the significance of
this technique when he states that ‘Ultimately
only the surface is crucial for architecture, man does not exist in the
construction, but in the atmosphere
that is evoked by the surface’ (Doesburg
in Neumeyer, 1999, p. 252). In the Camera
degli Sposi, the narrative figures portrayed throughout the room are
essential to the desired environment of its original function. The most obvious
examples of this are the multiple depictions of Cupid: God of love, affection, attraction and desire. In this sense, the
imagery Mantegna has used is site-specific. Similarly, when Turrell is asked to
produce a Skyspace for an art gallery
or museum, he takes ‘special consideration for the architectural features of
the actual exhibition room. He demonstrates this by inserting partitions
and making various architectural cuts that are always in harmony with the
existing architecture’ (Svestka, 1992, p. 34). Turrell’s permanent Skyspace at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park
is a clear example. Consisting of a square-shaped aperture placed in the centre
of 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 Yorkshire
Sculpture Park in 1993 with a proposal for this particular Skyspace (Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2017). When looking at the Skyspace from an indirect angle, the
square aperture merges into a trapezium shape, which perfectly matches the
shape of the concrete seats surrounding the room below. It almost creates the
illusion that the seats are reflecting the Skyspace.
This gives us the impression that Turrell would have chosen to use a
square-shaped aperture in order to harmonize the original structures found
within the space. The site-specificity here, in relation to the appearance of
the work, is similar to the way Mantegna has used particular imagery to
symbolise the proposed function of the room.