Giovanni Anselmo


Painting, sculpture

Giovanni Anselmo

Past: October 23 → December 17, 2014

The exhibition comprise one of the artists key sculptural installation works, Il panorama verso oltremare intorno dove le stelle si avvicinano di una spanna in più (The Panorama Towards « Oltremare » Around Which the Stars are Coming One Span Nearer). The installation comprises 22 granite stones (each 25 × 58 × 78 cm) juxtaposed with several minimal columns of ultramarine paint applied directly to the walls of the gallery. This important work encompasses the founding principles and the aesthetic language the artist has developed through his practice.

As in each of his exhibitions, Anselmo employs a compass to precisely choreograph and orientate each of the fragments of granite in the direction of the energy of the North Magnetic Pole. Positioned on the gallery floor, each of the granite blocks correlate with the astronomical siting of stars within the sky.

Key to Anselmo’s practice is the employment of ultramarine pigment within his work, something he has done since 1979. Here, three large vertical columns of ultramarine have been placed at specific locations on the gallery walls according to the same astronomical orientation. Ultramarine was originally obtained from the grinding down of the semi-precious mineral element, Lapis Lazuli and imported to Europe from Afghanistan. Its inclusion here mediating the solid mass of the granite and allowing the viewers to project themselves out of the gallery space.

In Il panorama verso oltremare intorno dove le stelle si avvicinano di una spanna in più Anselmo explores the possibilities of «humanizing making the vertiginous distance» that separates us from the stars and our positioning within the universe. The viewer is invited to walk around and within the installation to discover its panorama. Concerned with the fallibility of measurement, each granite block presented is one hand span high — an ancient way measuring without apparatus using only ones hand.The arrangement of the concrete forms in the centre of the gallery space allows for a visual experience of a landscape observed from multiple bird-eye perspectives.

Giovanni Anselmo situates the origin of his work to a founding experience that occurred to him at the summit of the volcano in Stromboli. On the 16th August 1965, at dawn, he saw his shadow stretching towards the infinite and from that moment became aware of the connection between himself and the universe. Following this revelation, he chose to orientate his practice in relation to the natural forces; gravity, electromagnetism, the forces of the materials and the energies that rule our cosmos.

Presented in the ground floor gallery will be a selection of smaller, more intimate works, such as La Mia Ombra Verso L’Infinito Della Cima Dello Stromboli Durante L’Alba Del 16 Agosto 1965 which relates to his transformative experience at Stromboli. The piece entitled Particolare (Detail) consists of two projections of the word “particolare”.

If the projection of one word is visible on the wall, it appears for the second time under the condition that an object or a body blocks the luminous beam of the projector.

Considered as one of the key protagonists of the Arte Povera movement at the end of the 1960s, Anselmo has continued to pursue and explore his practice in relation to nature, the finite and the indefinite, the visible and the invisible. For him the work is a body, it seems still but it breathes, it transforms itself and it is not rare that he makes new versions of older pieces.

Born in 1934 in Borgofranco d’Ivrea in Italy, Anselmo lives and works in Turin. He received the prestigious Golden Lion Award at the Venice Biennale in 1990. His work has been and continues to be widely exhibited in Europe and the United States at museums such as la Galeria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna (Italy); le SMAK, Ghent, (Belgium); Museum Kurhaus, Kleve, (Germany); Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles, (Belgium); le Museu d’Art Contemporani, Barcelona, (Spain), l’ ARC, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (France) or the Renaissance Society, Chicago (United States). In 2013 Kunstmuseum Winterthur (Switzerland) organized a major retrospective of his work.

  • Opening Thursday, October 23, 2014 6 PM → 10 PM
03 Le Marais Zoom in 03 Le Marais Zoom out

79, rue du Temple

75003 Paris

T. 01 48 01 70 52 — F. 01 40 27 81 37


Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 7 PM

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Venue schedule

The artist

  • Giovanni Anselmo