From the Electronic Eye. Works from the Video Collection of the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art

From 21 September 2005 to 16 October 2005

Curated by Marcella Beccaria

September 21 – October 16, 2005


The exhibition From the Electronic Eye presents a selection of the videos the Castello di Rivoli has collected up to today. Like the collection, the exhibition includes works that have by now become historic, realized by video pioneers, as well as those of the latest generations, presenting a few of the most important artists who from the end of the sixties have worked with this electronic medium. Deliberately non-chronological, the exhibition aims to give an indication of the variety of contents, forms, and languages that, through video, artists have skillfully elaborated, thereby demonstrating the fundamental value of this untiring “electronic eye” within the development of contemporary art.


Established in 2002, the Castello di Rivoli Video Library was born thanks to the sponsorship of the Compagnia di San Paolo. To this day, this generous and far-sighted contribution has allowed the Museum to gather approximately 700 video works and 130 documentaries, thereby developing an important part of its collections and thus giving life to one of the most noteworthy video collections in Italy.


Marcella Beccaria


The exhibition has been made possible thanks to Compagnia di San Paolo


List of exhibited works


Francesco Vezzoli (Brescia, 1971)

Trailer for a Remake of Gore Vidal’s Caligula, 2005

video projection, 5 min.

Gift of the artist

A spectacular kolossal condensed into a handful of minutes, the work on display is inspired by a controversial film on the Emperor Caligola, shot by Tinto Brass, with script written by the American intellectual Gore Vidal. Structured like the trailer for a film that does not exist, Vezzoli’s work ironically presents the liking for scandal. The work is intended for adult audiences.


Manica Lunga, Atrium:

John Bock (Gribbohm, 1965)

Astronaut, 2003

video, 22 min.

Purchased with the contribution of the Compagnia di San Paolo

In Astronaut, Bock seems to embark upon a journey inside a parallel universe, disquieting but also vital; perhaps this universe is the artist’s own mind, constantly attracted by the energy and latent complexity that each and every little thing or insect can contain.


Manica Lunga, Mezzanine:

Sadie Benning (Milwaukee, USA, 1973)

A New Year, 1989, video, 6 min.; Living Inside, 1989, 6 min.; Me and Rubyfruit, 1989-1990, 5 min.; If Every Girl Had a Diary, 1990, 9 min.; Jollies, 1990, 11 min.; A Place Called Lovely, 1991, 14 min.; It Wasn’t Love, 1992, 20 min.; Girl Power, 1992, 15 min.; German Song, 1995, transferred from super-8 film, 5 min.; The Judy Spots, 1995, 15 min.; Flat is Beautiful, 1998, 50 min.

Purchased with the contribution of the Compagnia di San Paolo

Starting from the closest horizon to her camera lens, the videos by Benning are linked to a glorious experimental tradition of tales narrated in the “first person,” thereby offering intense testimonies of her private and sexual experiences.


Castle, Atrium, III floor:

Catherine Sullivan (Los Angeles, 1968)

‘Tis a Pity She’s a Fluxus Whore, 2003

2-channel video installation, 26 min.

Permanent Loan Regione Piemonte

The complex relation among the artist, the audience and the interpretation of texts lies at the basis of Sullivan’s works. The exhibited work refers to a “scandalous” play published in 1633 by the English dramatist John Ford and to Fluxus, the avant-garde movement that in seventies often unsettled both the public and critics.


Candice Breitz (Johannesburg, 1972)

Yes / No (Babel Series, Dyptich), 1999

2-channel video installation, loop

Purchased with the contribution of the Compagnia di San Paolo

Breitz uses mass culture, and especially images that already exist in the commercial sphere (such as pop music, MTV video clips, television serials and films produced by American studios), as material for her work. The artist takes possession of this collective patrimony, and by working from the inside, she takes apart its compactness, transforming herself into a creative critical voice.


Castle, Room 34:

Rebecca Horn (Michelstadt, 1944)

Der Eintänzer, 1978, transferred from 16 mm film, 47 min.; La Ferdinanda – Sonate für eine Medici Villa, 1981, transferred from 35 mm, 85 min.; Buster’s Bedroom, 1990, transferred from 35 mm, 104 min. Purchased with the contribution of the Compagnia di San Paolo

The story Der Eintänzer is set in Horn’s New York studio, a place that was oftentimes rented to strangers due to the artist’s frequent traveling. The protagonist of La Ferdinanda is an opera diva in decline, surrounded by a doctor, a nurse, a dancer, and a musician—characters who also recur in Horn’s other feature films. Buster’s Bedroom describes the journey of a woman in search of Buster Keaton, in contact with a surreal universe. Essential components of Horn’s universe are machines, mechanical, almost anthropomorphic, devices; their movements and interactions re-create an unsettling theater, parallel to human relations.


Castle, Room 35:

Grazia Toderi (Padua, 1963)

Subway Series, 2001

4 looping video projections Fondazione CRT Progetto Arte Moderna e Contemporanea

By investigating the real—although giving us a sublimated version of it—Toderi combines individual historical memory to collective imagination. Stadiums, theaters, arenas recur in her imagery, intended as spaces for representation and aggregation. The geometry of baseball and its relative spaces is rendered as the meeting of triangle and circle forms.


Castle, Room 36 (clockwise, from the left):

Paul McCarthy (Salt Lake City, USA, 1945)

Black and White Tapes, 1970-1975, video, 33 min., purchased with the contribution of the Compagnia di San Paolo; Sailor’s Meat, Sailor’s Delight, 1975, 44 min., Fondazione CRT Progetto Arte Moderna e Contemporanea; Tubbing, 1975-1976, 27 min., Fondazione CRT Progetto Arte Moderna e Contemporanea; Family Tyranny (Modeling and Molding) / Cultural Soup, 1987, with Mike Kelley, 8 min., 7 min., purchased with the contribution of the Compagnia di San Paolo.

In the early seventies, in the performances and videos by McCarthy the body is emphasized in its most organic and physiological dimension. Since the early eighties, McCarthy has developed a series of collaborations with Mike Kelley (Wayne, USA, 1954), an artist, performer, and musician. The two artists share the same fascination with the most disturbing dimension of mass culture.


Monica Bonvicini (Venice, Italy, 1965)

Hammering Out (an old argument), 1998

video projection, 60 min.

Purchased with the contribution of the Compagnia di San Paolo

Bonvicini’s art delineates a space for debate in which relations of power, sexual evocations, reflections on the modernist legacy and the minimalist aesthetic meet. The reflection on the role of architecture and the socio-cultural conditioning factors connected to it are fundamental themes in her work.


Gordon Matta-Clark (New York, 1943-1978)

Program 3: Fire Child, Fresh Kill, Day’s End, 1971-1975

transferred from super-8 and 16 mm film, 46 min.

Program 5: Automation House, Clockshower, City Slivers, 1972-1976

transferred from 16 mm film, 61 min.

Program 6: Splitting, Bingo X Ninths, Substrait (Underground Dailies), 1974-1976

transferred from super-8 and 16 mm film, 51 min.

Purchased with the contribution of the Compagnia di San Paolo

During the course of his brief but intense career, Matta-Clark acted upon desolate buildings by making cuts, holes, or even eliminating walls or other architectural elements. These investigations, which in a few cases take on monumental proportions, are intended as comments concerning the inevitable worldliness of architecture and the upheaval of its fundamental principles.


Frank Gillette (Jersey City, New Jersey, USA, 1941)

The Maui Cycle, 1976

3-channel video installation, 46 min.

Purchased with the contribution of the Compagnia di San Paolo

Gillette’s works elaborate a system of correspondences, echoes, and visual dialogues, in order to connect his Ego with external environmental realities. As early as the beginning of the seventies, Gillette experimented with multi-channel video installations, aiming to touch the observer’s subconscious.


Bruce Nauman (Fort Wayne, USA, 1941)

Bouncing Two Balls Between the Floor and Ceiling with Changing Rhythms, 1967-1968

transferred from 16 mm film, 10 min.; Dance or Excercise on the Perimeter of a Square (Square Dance), 1967-1968, transferred from 16 mm film, 10 min.; Slow Angle Walk (Beckett Walk), 1968, 60 min.; Walk with Contrapposto, 1968, 60 min.; Playing a Note on the Violin While I Walk Around the Studio, 1967-1968, video projection, transferred from 16 mm film, 10 min.; Walking in an Exaggerated Manner Around the Perimeter of a Square, 1967-1968, video projection, transferred from 16 mm film, 10 min.

Purchased with the contribution of the Compagnia di San Paolo

Nauman has been making films and videos since 1965, exploring above all their conceptual potential. Shot with a stationary camera, the works selected for the exhibition are strictly analyses of his activities in the studio, by means of which the artist describes the geometric and mental space of his everyday work.


Lawrence Weiner (San Francisco, 1934)

Beached, 1970, transferred from 16 mm film, 3 min.; Broken Off, 1970, 2 min.; Shifted From The Side, 1972, 1 min.; To and Fro. Fro and To. And To and Fro. And Fro and To, 1972, 1 min.; Green as Well as Blue as Well as Red, 1975-1976, 18 min.; Do You Believe in Water?, 1976, 39 min.

Purchased with the contribution of the Compagnia di San Paolo

Considered one of the founders of Conceptual Art, in his videos and films Weiner analyzes the process and act of “making art,” in relation to the nature of the artistic subject and to the changing contexts in which the most varied materials are used.


Bill Viola (New York, 1951)

Red Tape – Collected Works: Playing Soul Music to my Freckles, A Non-Diary Creamer, The Semi-Circular Canals, A Million Other Things (2), Return, 1975, video, 30 min.; Four Songs: Junkyard Levitation, Songs of Innocence, The Space Between the Teeth, Truth Through Mass Individuation, 1976, 33 min.; Memory Surfaces and Mental Prayers: The Wheel of Becoming, The Morning After the Night of Power, Sweet Light, 1977, 29 min.

Purchased with the contribution of the Compagnia di San Paolo

According to Viola, art is part of a process of transformation, able to offer the possibility of developing a more profound understanding of existence by means of an individual course. Particular visual or acoustic properties of the real world are the subject of the works on display, selected among his earliest works.


Castle, Room 37:

Pipilotti Rist (Rheintal, Switzerland, 1962)

I’m Not The Girl Who Misses Much, 1986, video, 7 min.; (Entlastungen) Pipilottis Fehler (Absolutions – Pipilotti’ s Mistakes),1988, 11 min.; You Called Me Jacky, 1990, 4 min.; Pickelporno (Pimple Porno), 1992, 12 min.; Blutclip (Bloodclip), 1993, 3 min.; Aujourd’hui (Today), 1999, 10 min.

Purchased with the contribution of the Compagnia di San Paolo

Rist is the original inventor of a particular visual and sound universe within which the sensorial and emotional dimensions are the main players. Rist experiments with the entire range of possible visual elaborations, developing a personal aesthetic made of acidic colors and distorted images.


Castle, Room 38:

Vanessa Beecroft (Genoa, 1969)

VB52, 2003

video projection, 129 min.

Gift of the artist

Beecroft identifies in the female image the essential range of her investigations. VB52 is the video filmed on the occasion of the performance produced for the artist’s retrospective at the Castello. The video shows a meal that is underway, marked by food chosen for its color, selected by the artist so as to create a sequence of monochrome paintings.


From 21 September 2005 to 16 October 2005