Giovanni Anselmo at Castello di Rivoli, Turin

giovanni anselmo

Giovanni Anselmo
Mentre la mano indica, la luce focalizza, nella gravitazione universale si interferisce, la terra si orienta, le stelle si avvicinano di una spanna in più…

April 6–September 25, 2016
Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, Turin

Drafted by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev and Marcella Beccaria

When Giovanni Anselmo enters a room, he looks around quickly and sharply; he ascertains the important elements having to do with weight and position—where he is standing in relation to the places where walls and floor join together, or where and how doors and windows and ceiling create a space through their mutual relation. He calibrates this fundamental awareness of the here and now with what he knows about the world outside that room—where the sun is at that moment, or where north is—thus grounding himself within the universe at large, a universe of which he knows he is just one particular.

The word "particolare" signifies in Italian both detail and something distinctive or special; it derives its root from the Latin "partire," to separate, to divide, also at the root of the term "particle" in physics, the building blocks of the universe. Thus the continuity of matter and immateriality, of a heavy rock and a very light thought, is evoked—both made up, ultimately, of elementary attractions.

Since the late 1960s Giovanni Anselmo's artworks have channeled the energy and liveliness of real-life situations in order to keep the energy of life in circulation and to keep real-life situations in a state of openness and potential change—never crystallized into an inert object or series of things. His practice—like those of his fellow artists of the Post-Minimalist, Conceptual and Arte Povera period—was based on the notion that an artwork is a condensed, essential, emblematic, and perceivable example of what goes on in the world at large.

Anselmo's practice concerns being embodied and oriented according to the planet's magnetic fields and the gravitational forces of the universe, and doing so in a specific place, at a specific moment. It concerns how the elements of the universe orient themselves in relation to each other, as particulars within it. Consequently, it concerns how all that is invisible becomes, under certain conditions, visible. In 1969, Anselmo made the work Interferenza nella gravitazione universale (Interference in universal gravitation) for which he took photographs of the setting sun every 20 footsteps while walking westwards, thus extending ever so slightly the time of viewing the sun before it set, or put another way, slowing down the rotation of the Earth by walking in the opposite direction to the rotation of the Earth. Stemming from this project is a new installation in the Manica Lunga of the Castello.

giovanni anselmo

An epiphany occurs: when walking down the Manica Lunga today, we realize all of a sudden that our procession through the images coincides with the original walk that Anselmo took during his photographic project—it takes about 20 footsteps to move from one image to another. And suddenly we understand the simplicity and the radicality of the artist's gesture as he walked alone in the landscape in 1969 taking a picture with his camera every 20 steps. The relationship between art and reality is reversed once again, and not only do we gain an infinitely small amount of extra time before the sun sets behind the Manica Lunga towards the hills beyond, but time itself curves and then folds, and we find ourselves right there—crossing that landscape still lit by the sun for a little longer. It is the year 1969.

The title of this exhibition is While the hand indicates, the light focuses, in universal gravitation one interferes, the earth finds its bearings, the stars come one hand span closer...


Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art
Piazza Mafalda di Savoia
10098 Rivoli Turin


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