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Ganzfeld "Aural": An Installation by James Turrell

Press Release – Exhibition dates: 12 April 2018 to 30 September 2019

Press Release, Wed 11 Apr 2018

Starting April 12, 2018, the Jewish Museum Berlin will be showing artist James Turrell’s installation "Aural" in a temporary structure erected in the Museum garden. This walk-through installation covers a total area of more than 200 sqm and belongs to Turrell’s sequence of Ganzfeld Pieces. These represent the artist’s crowning achievement. Our showing of "Aural" represents the first time that this world-renowned "sculptor of light" exhibits a Ganzfeld in Berlin.

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Jewish Museum Berlin Foundation
Lindenstraße 9–14
10969 Berlin


Museum Garden
Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin

Symbolism of light

Light plays a central role in Judaism. "It is the beginning of the divine act of creation," says Peter Schäfer, Director of the Jewish Museum Berlin. "In this sense, the installation 'Aural' can be viewed as an artistic interpretation of the Biblical creation."

A space without contours

Entering the installation "Aural", visitors will be submerged in an atmosphere of indefinite and dematerialized space. They will be hard pressed to detect the light source. Turrell uses a powerful but soft light, which completely washes out contrast. The uniform, monochrome lighting makes the room appear without contours. The viewer’s eye has nothing to grasp onto, so a feeling of disorientation may result. In this dimensionless room, light, color, and space melt together. Our power of sight gets lost in a diffuse fog of color.

"Seeing behind the eye"

The works in James Turrell’s sequence of Ganzfeld Pieces create, with immaculate craftsmanship, completely vacant illusionary spaces. The artist avoids any form of associative, symbolic thinking. In the absence of any object, image, or focal point, our powers of perception themselves become the object of contemplation. "With no object no image and no focus, what are you looking at? You are looking at you looking," James Turrell once said about the effect of his Ganzfeld installations. The gradual color shifts of the installation "Aural" are interrupted by stroboscopic light, which makes the inside of the eye visible. Turrell demands time from his visitors. The eye must adapt – only then can the light achieve its full impact.

James Turrell in the collection of the Jewish Museum Berlin

The Ganzfeld "Aural" represents the second gift of the philanthropically engaged collectors Dieter and Si Rosenkranz, who also donated Menashe Kadishman’s installation Schalechet to the Jewish Museum Berlin. "Aural" has a unique place in the collection of the Museum, as an object that requires no further context. It enables visitors to experience space in a new way. But in so doing it also establishes a connection to the spatial experiences produced by our Libeskind building.

The artist James Turrell

James Turrell (* 1943, Los Angeles) is one of the key figures in contemporary art. For several decades now, he has focused his artistic efforts on exploring how we perceive the medium of light. He has investigated the self-awareness of our various senses, conscious and unconscious modes of seeing, and the emotional quality of our feeling for light, space, and time.

Duration of the exhibition: 12 April 2018 to 30 September 2019
Location: Museum Garden
Opening hours: daily from 10 am to 8 pm
Admission: with time slot ticket only: 8 Euros, reduced 3 Euros (this ticket is valid for the entire Museum; book online or, depending on availability, at the museum ticket office

Media partner: Monopol

Supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.