E LUCE FU. Giacomo Balla, Lucio Fontana, Olafur Eliasson, Renato Leotta

Giacomo Balla (Torino, 1871 – Roma, 1958)
Feu d’artifice (Fireworks), 1917

Abstract action of light and colors to the music of Igor Stravinsky for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, Teatro Costanzi, Rome, 1917
Reconstruction to scale by Elio Marchegiani, 1997, from Balla’s signed plans; technical execution by Mariano Boggia and Luisa Mensi; electronic circuit, lights and sound by Massimo Iovine; coordinator, Maurizio Fagiolo dell’Arco 550 x 500 x 550 cm
Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino

Feu d’artifice (Fireworks) is a performance composed of solid colorful geometric forms animated by plays of light and paying homage to the eponymous music by Igor Stravinsky. The artist explained that the elements represented “the moods of fireworks” that music had suggested to him.

This animated theater exemplified the aim to free art to participate in life and it is presented for three minutes, according to the principles of a theater condensing multiple situations into a few moments, as proclaimed by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the theoretician of the Futurist movement, in the manifesto Il Teatro Futurista Sintetico (Futurist Synthetic Theater), 1915. Feu d’artifice was premiered at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome, set to music by Igor Stravinsky himself and directed by Sergei Diaghilev, the well-known impresario of the Ballets Russes.

The elements making up the set for Feu d’artifice were reconstructed at Castello di Rivoli on the occasion of the exhibition Sipario / Staged Art, 1997

Lucio Fontana (Rosario Di Santa Fe, Argentina, 1899 – Varese, 1968)
Ambiente spaziale (Spatial environment), 1967 (first version destroyed, reconstructed 1981)

Wooden structure, canvas, fluorescent paint and Wood lights
300 x 500 x 300 cm
Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino
Gift Teresita Rasini Fontana

With his Ambienti spaziali (Spatial environments), Lucio Fontana wanted to immerse the audience in a sensory and mental experience. Fontana installed his first Ambiente spaziale a luce nera (Spatial environment with black light), called “Black environment,” at the Galleria del Naviglio in Milan in 1949. The darkened gallery was illuminated only with Wood lights, the “black light” that brought out the phosphorescent colors of the abstract forms hanging from the ceiling. This same principle is at the base of Ambiente spaziale (Spatial environment), 1967 (1981). Here, ultraviolet light reveals the sinuous double trajectory of circles, which are painted in phosphorescent colors. Following the artist’s intentions, viewers are brought face-to-face with themselves: all the senses come together to make perception of a complete experience, both psychological and physical, integrating with the viewer’s personal immagination. The Ambiente is thus not an object to be seen, but a sensation to be experienced.

Ambiente spaziale, here installed, was initially made for the exhibition Lo spazio dell’immagine (The Space of the Image), organized in Foligno, Italy, in 1967. After Fontana’s death, the environment was reconstructed by Gino Marotta in 1981 on the occasion of a major exhibition of the artist’s work held in Rimini the following year.

Olafur Eliasson (Copenaghen, 1967)
The sun has no money (Il sole non ha soldi), 2008

Color effect filter glass, mirror, steel cable, electric motors, spotlights, tripods, wall mounts
Dimensions variable: 2 mirror rings: Ø 94 cm; 4 color effect filter rings: Ø 30 cm Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino
on loan from Fondazione per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea CRT

Utopian and subtly revolutionary, the work of Olafur Eliasson unites the memory of the encounter with nature and the realms of science and philosophical, political, and sociological thought. The artist often refers to his works as “machines,” becoming works of art when seen by the viewers.

The act of perceiving light is a constant theme in Eliasson’s artistic exploration. The sun has no money (2008) is an installation comprising two theater spotlights and glass rings, hanging from above and activated by electric motors. The rings rotate, and their surfaces produce shadows and reflections that at times reveal the spectral nature of light. The resulting projections extend to the surrounding space, touching the walls, floor, ad ceiling and producing sinuous shapes that sometimes recall orbits or planetary rings. The sun has no money can be traced to the artist’s research conducted in 2008, a period marked by global financial crises. Stimulated by theories for developing financial infrastructures no longer dependent on the gold economy, Eliasson questioned the possibility of developing a new form of currency, founding it in the solar energy. The meaning of The sun has no money lies in the possibility of a plan for “re-establishing a kind of justice,” where the countries geographically receiving the largest quantities of sun, which are also the ones most weighed down by the consequences of colonialism, would have greater access to wealth, having massive quantities of this new currency at their disposal.

Renato Leotta (Torino, 1982)
Sole (Sun), 2019-2020

Lighting system composed of used car headlights
Dimensions determined by the space Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino

Deeply involved with the act of contemplation, Renato Leotta develops an ethereal aesthetics, while investigating the real world like an archaeologist. Leotta draws references from the industrial urban landscape, in a constant negotiation between the north, where he was born, and the south, to which he belongs. This confrontation is never fully resolved, but deliberately left open in works endowed with the atmosphere of a metaphysical apparition.

Sole (Sun, 2019–20) is an environmental installation that explores the link between the historical industrial tradition and social territory of Piedmont, and the Baroque, understood as both a historical moment and a style. Consisting of an exhibition lighting system made up of FIAT automobile headlights, the installation leads us to think of the social change undergone by the Piedmontese territory with the shift of focus from industry to the ephemeral production of the contemporary entertainment culture. What was the “sun” of Piedmont is now a jeering, obsolete object. With its remnants of contemporary industrial archaeology, the work presents the coexistence of light and darkness: representations of an infinite dimension of space and time.

Now presented in the prestigious venue of San Francesco, Sole creates an imaginary pathway through the architectural elements and space of the monumental complex, establishing a dialog with works such as the delicate Madonna and Child fresco by Guglielmo Caccia, known as Il Moncalvo (Montabone, Asti, 1568 – Moncalvo, Asti, 1625), and hailed as the Raphael of Monferrato; with details of Dottori della Chiesa by Pietro Pocapaglia da Saluzzo (late fifteenth century); and with decorations of Cappella del Comune (1738-1739) by Niccolò Dallamano.

Legend Sun:

1. Madonna and Child (early 17 century) by Guglielmo Caccia – Fiat Alfetta 1600
2. STOP! – Fiat 850
3. Turin – Fiat Croma
4. Accounts of the Passion: the Hanged Man (15 century) by Pietro da Saluzzo – Fiat Lancia Tema
5. Capital trompe-l’oeil – Fiat 127
6. Baroque Creach – Fiat Panda
7. Window trompe-l’oeil – Fiat Alfetta 1600
8. Rose decoration– Fiat 850
9. Romanesque Column  – Fiat Lancia Tema
10. Greetings to Lucio Fontana – Fiat 500
11. Saint Jerome – Fiat 131
12. Saint Augustine Civitas Dei – Fiat 500
13. Gasparre Malopera’s Gravestone– Lancia Prisma
14. Greetings to Lucio Fontana  – Fiat Ritmo Abarth
15. Archeological site – Lancia Tema
16. Colonnade –  Fiat 131
17. Column base (15 century)  – Fiat Tipo
18. Saint Francis – Alfetta 1600

Texts from the catalog E luce fu. Giacomo Balla, Lucio Fontana, Olafur Eliasson, Renato Leotta, Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino, 2020