Robert Irwin  - James Turrell - Villa Panza - AISTHESIS. All'orignine delle sensazioni - 27.11.2012 / 02.11.2014
Sight Unseen, 2013 Ganzfeld di James Turrell


The German term Ganzfeld (which translates as 'complete field') indicates the psychological phenomenon of the total loss of depth perception as in the experience of a white-out. Turrell artificially creates a similar experience through the controlled used of light, coved corners and an inclined floor. The effect of a Ganzfeld can be compared to that of a snow storm, when it becomes impossible to distinguish clearly what you are seeing before you. Ganzfelds are described by Turrell as 'sensing spaces': homogenous perceptual spaces and visual fields that provide the viewer with a disorienting experience of the "fullness of the void".

"You are not really sure which way is up or down," says the artist. "I am interested in this new landscape without horizon".

From the end of 1968, together with his colleague Robert Irwin (1928) and psychologist Dr Edward Wortz, James Turrell has been conducting experiments on total perceptive fields (Ganzfelds) and on sensory deprivation, as part of the Art and Technology programme set up by the Los Angeles County Museum in partnership with the scientists and engineers of Lockheed Aircraft, IBM and the Garrett Aerospace Corporation. In this context, James Turrell has conducted research into the modes of human perception in controlled environments or under conditions of altered perception, which has gone on to influence his later work to a considerable extent.


In collaboration with
  • The Getty Research Institute
  • Archivio Collezione Panza a Mendrisio
Thanks to
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
  • PACE gallery
Under the  patronage of
  • Regione Lombardia
  • Comune di Varese
Under the patronage
and with the support of
Provincia di Varese
Partner of Villa
e Collezione Panza
JT International SA (JTI)
Eni cultura dell'energia
Museo Regione Lombardia