AISTHESIS – All’origine delle sensazioni: Robert Irwin and James Turrell, FAI Villa e Collezione Panza, Varese, Italy

Fondo Ambiente Italiano (FAI) and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) join forces until November 2014 in AISTHESIS, an exhibition supported by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles and the Panza Archive in Mendrisio, to document the work and the research of two leading figures of Environmental Art, Robert Irwin and James Turrell.

The exhibition, curated by Michael Govan, Director of The LACMA and by Anna Bernardini, Director of Villa e Collezione Panza, ranges from site-specific installations, to projections and sculptures using light as a creative medium. A number of the pieces come from international public and private collections such as the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington and The Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego.

New works have been realised for this exhibition, specifically tailored for the spaces of the Villa, including a new Ganzfeld piece by Turrell. Ganzfeld is a German word, derived from psychology that indicates the phenomenon of the total loss of depth perception. Sophisticated lighting forms an overlapping of internally and externally generated visual sensations; “You are not really sure which way is up or down,” says Turrell, “I am interested in this new landscape without horizon.”

Robert Irwin has designed a space that traces a geometric maze, evoking the relentless pursuit of the human personal journey: “The intention of a phenomenal art is simply the gift of seeing a little more today than you did yesterday”.

The exhibition also aims to document the collaboration between Irwin and Turrell within the ‘Art and Technology’ programme, organised by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1968. They started developing a keen interest in the creation of immersive environments and installations. Perception, meditative states and awareness of the physical aspects of vision, became fundamental elements of their work.

To accompany the exhibition there will be a documentary section and new video interviews that investigate the relationship between Giuseppe Panza, Robert Irwin and James Turrell. Letters, texts, projects and photographs from the Getty Research Library (Los Angeles) and the Guggenheim Museum (New York), will provide the viewer with an in-depth look into the artists’ projects and practice.

AISTHESIS – All’origine delle sensazioni, runs until 2 November 2014 at the FAI Villa e Collezione Panza ,Piazza Litta, 1, 21100 Varese, Italy. For more information visit

1. Picadilly (2013) ® Robert Irwin / Philipp Scholz Rittermann. Courtesy of the Pace Gallery.