press release

In the year in which it is set to move to new premises in the ex Forno del Pane and to be renamed as the MAMbo - Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna - the Galleria d’Arte Moderna presents an exhibition of Giovanni Anselmo (Borgofranco d’Ivrea, 1934), one of the leading exponents of the Arte Povera movement. Realized as a unitary project and conceived as a total work, this exhibition provides a rare opportunity to admire in Italy the works of the Turin-based artist.

Starting with a compass positioned on a pile of earth in the middle of the museum, the show brings together a substantial number of works dating to the 60s and 70s, which are deliberately presented together with more recent installations. These make up a unitary environment that involves the entire museum in a slow, almost imperceptible bradyseism, a peaceful scattering of signs in the physical space and institutional framework of the building itself. Landscapes and panoramas arise out of each other, suggesting a multiplicity of possible spaces and times towards oltremare, where the invisible can manifest itself and where, climbing onto a block of stone, the stars are closer to the Earth, even if only by a few inches. The exhibition poetically evokes and accompanies the gallery’s imminent move to its new premises.

Made from organic and inorganic materials such as stone, earth, metal, water and cotton, Anselmo’s works are installed and dotted around in the main exhibition spaces of the gallery. Rather than acting as separate metaphors or simulacra, they embody basic but generally unnoticed phenomena of knowledge translating them into perceptible experience: gravity, energy, the relation between general and particular, finite and infinite, culture and nature, the flow of historic time and the hypothesis of the eternity of universal physical laws, the realist, almost scientific method of experiencing and the abstraction of philosophical principles.

It is in this sense that Anselmo will put a second compass into place before the exhibition is officially opened, this time in the as-yet empty and locked premises of the ex Forno del Pane, an industrial building restored in the course of more than a decade inside the Manifattura delle Arti, Bologna’s new arts complex. The compass will be set into the floor of the entrance hall of the museum, and will only go on public view after its official inauguration. In this way the work will effectively mark the move from one site to another and unite the clearly defined and limited duration of the exhibition with a temporality that unfolds towards a dimension of unimaginable breadth. The work (Direction, 2006) is the first artistic project conceived for MAMbo’s new home. It represents an act of faith in the present and future function of the museum and can also be viewed as a ‘prehistoric’ event with regard to its future activities, a minimal and modest gesture that performs th e primordial function of simply indicating the existence of the place, its position in the universe, a genuine bridge between microcosm and macrocosm.

The exhibition catalogue, published by Hopefulmonster, Turin, will appear after the end of the show, and will include exhibition views at the Galleria d’Arte Moderna as well as a documentation of the artist’s intervention at the MAMbo. The catalogue will also contain a comprehensive bio-bibliography and, amongst other contributions, new critical essays by the artist and writer Tacita Dean, the critic Rosalind Krauss and the curators Gianfranco Maraniello and Andrea Viliani.


only in german

Giovanni Anselmo
Kuratoren: Gianfranco Maraniello, Andrea Viliani