Fondazione Antonio Ratti

Giulio Paolini

In Extremis: corse introduction

6 July 2002
Spazio Culturale Antonio Ratti

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The transcription is only available in italian.

Introducing himself as a Visiting Professor for the CSAV, Giulio Paolini shows some of his works without any comment, but using them as a background to a wider talk that investigates the status of the author, the nature of the artwork, the place of exhibition, the role of the spectator and education. Pivotal for the whole exposition is the autonomy of the work of art, which “hides a rule of its own that the author doesn’t know, but recognizes when that artwork manifests it”, because “the work of art doesn’t give voice to the world nor to the subject: it gives form to itself”. Coming from that, the essential non-authoriality of the author, which lives in the continuous illusion of having found a truth that doesn’t belong to him, in the illusion of creating artworks when it was not him to lead the game. However, the author has an exclusive relationship with the work that does not concern the spectator: he is called to approach it without “the instructions for use”, unleashing a dynamic which demonstrates how the artwork “is the only one to combine revolution and discretion”. The museum, instead, has to be a hosting subject that has to protect it from the external world. To have proper space, the artwork has to be out of place, far from the world and even from the author, distant from the “present” and, for that, it is the only living thing.

Giulio Paolini (b. 1940, Genoa, Italy) lives and works in Turin. He is often associated with the Arte Povera movement, although his work is more closely linked to pure conceptualism. Paolini is principally concerned with the relationship between the artist, object and viewer, examining the act of seeing and experiencing a work. Trained as a graphic designer he has always had a special interest in writing and editing. His artistic research has long been coupled with written statements and reflections collected in artist's books such as Idem (with a foreword by Italo Calvino) published in 1975 by Einaudi, Quattro passi. Nel museo senza muse (2006) by the same publisher, and L'autore che credeva di esistere, published by Johan & Levi in 2012.

Since the early 1960s Paolini has held numerous exhibitions in Italian and international institutions among which Palazzo della Pilotta in Parma (1976), the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (1980), the Nouveau Musée in Villeurbanne (1984), the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart (1986), the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna in Rome (1988), the Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum in Graz (1998), the Fondazione Prada in Milan (2003), the Kunstmuseum in Winterthur (2005) and the Whitechapel Gallery in London (2014). He has participated at various editions of Documenta, Kassel (1972, 1977, 1982, 1992), and at the Venice Biennale (1970, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1984, 1986, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2013). His work features in some of the most important museum collections across the world.

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