Fabio Mauri. Experiments in the Existence of Evil

Curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Sara Codutti and Marianna Vecellio

In collaboration with Studio Fabio Mauri

16 December 2023 – 24 March 2024

I still don’t really know if God cares about art, I’ve never understood it, much less my own, which focuses on evil, for which I have a certain eye.

F. Mauri, “Un utile esperimento negativo (A useful negative experiment)”, 2002

The exhibition

To mark the donation to the Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea of the large installation I numeri malefici (The Evil Numbers), 1978, created by Fabio Mauri (Rome, 1926 – 2009) for the XXXVIII Venice Biennale, the Museum presents the exhibition Fabio Mauri. Experiments in the Existence of Evil.

Artist and intellectual, Fabio Mauri was born in Rome in 1926 and began publishing his first drawings and articles when he was only 16 years old in the magazine “Il Setaccio” (The Sieve), which he had founded with Pier Paolo Pasolini in Bologna in 1942. The trauma of the Second World War later led him to create art forms that crossed performance, installation, drawing, and writing, all referring to painting as a symbol of art in general.

“Mauri makes the artist an intellectual or the intellectual an artist,” says Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Director of Castello di Rivoli and curator of the exhibition along with Sara Codutti and Marianna Vecellio. “Many are familiar with Mauri’s famous performances such as Ebrea (Jewish), 1971, or Che cosa è la filosofia. Heidegger e la questione tedesca (What is Philosophy. Heidegger and the German question), 1989, which I presented again at dOCUMENTA in Kassel in 2012,” Christov-Bakargiev continues, “but few will have seen before this exhibition the incredible religious drawings he made in the immediate postwar period, starting in 1947. This exhibition, mainly of works on paper, allows us to delve into the origins of his work, which manifests itself as disbelief at the persistence of evil in the world despite the apparent progress of modernity.”

From the very beginning, Mauri approached artistic practice as a field of experimentation within which to test different thoughts and theories: in his collages using comics, Schermi (“screens” made of protruding screen-like parts), projections and performances, using graphite, pigments, papers, objects, films, bodies and sounds, the artist has constantly sought to understand the encrypted nature of the world by turning it into distillations of meaning in the form of works of art.

Through more than one hundred works on paper and an unpublished collection of diaries and books from the artist’s archive, this exhibition aims to highlight some salient features of his great Esperimento del Mondo (Experiment of the World), as he called his art.

Growing up in an Italy scarred by World War II, Mauri, who was immersed in intellectual circles in dialogue with authors including Umberto Eco, Italo Calvino and Pier Paolo Pasolini, had an intuition: the screen has become the world’s main “symbolic form,” the sign of the new media civilization. In 1957-58 with the series of Schermi (Screens) he then began to analyze the way cinema and television became part of everyday life, changing the experience of memory and the idea of fiction. Through the investigation of the Screen, Mauri explored the theme of Evil that seems to contradict any logic of an ordered cosmos of the universe.
In addition to presenting some of the artist’s historical images including Ebrea (Jewish), 1971, Vomitare sulla Grecia (Vomiting on Greece), 1972, Linguaggio è Guerra (Language is War), 1975, and more recent works such as Convincimi della morte degli altri capisco solo la mia (Convince me of the death of others I understand only my own), 2005, the exhibition focuses on a wide selection of notebooks and works on paper.

The exhibition, on the third floor of the Museum, is dedicated to Fabio Mauri’s brother, Achille Mauri (Rimini, 1939 – Rosario, 2023) former President of Studio Fabio Mauri Associazione per l’Arte L’Esperimento del Mondo, who strongly supported it.

Thanks to Studio Fabio Mauri Associazione per l’Arte L’Esperimento del Mondo

The activities of Castello di Rivoli are primarily made possible thanks to the Regione Piemonte

Thanks to the Friend and Benefactor Santiago Mauri

The focus


Press Release

Fabio Mauri. Esperimenti nella verifica del Male

Fabio Mauri. Esperimenti nella verifica del Male

Fabio Mauri, Senza titolo, 1955Inchiostro su carta, 35 x 24 cmCourtesy Studio Fabio Mauri e Hauser & Wirth  A cura di Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Sara Codutti…

CS_Fabio Mauri_ITA