From 18 December 1984 to 15 June 1985
The Castello di Rivoli’s first exhibition was conceived as a blueprint for the permanent collection, focusing on pivotal moments in contemporary art. The aim was to provide a broad, inclusive survey of living artists, many of whom were invited by the director Rudi Fuchs to create new works or modify existing ones to reflect the surroundings of the museum’s Baroque rooms. Among the artists represented in “Ouverture” were exponents of Conceptual Art and Minimalism such as Carl Andre, Donald Judd and Bruce Nauman. The general introduction was followed by a large mural work in ink by Sol LeWitt, and Daniel Buren’s brand new Cabane éclatée n. 3 (Exploded Cabin No. 3), a pavilion that opened up dizzying new perspectives on the Chinese room. The exhibition continued with works by leading Arte Povera artists such as Alighiero Boetti, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz, Marisa Merz, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Gilberto Zorio. Giovanni Anselmo’s Verso oltremare suggested a place or places beyond the confines of the Castello interior, and Luciano Fabro united spatial and pictorial concepts by inserting his Foglia (Leaf, 1982) inside a reconstruction of his Aachen Habitat (1983). The Land Artists Hamish Fulton and Richard Long were also represented, along with others who cannot easily be ascribed to any one movement but who have been fundamental to the development of contemporary art, including Alberto Burri, Gino De Dominicis and Rebecca Horn. Joseph Beuys’s installation Olivestone featured old containers used for decanting olive oil, while Lothar Baumgarten’s Yurupari – Stanza di Rheinsberg (Yurupary – Rheinsberg Room), originally conceived in Rheinsberg, recreated a composite scene that evoked the American tropics. A considerable amount of space was dedicated to painting and the work of Anselm Kiefer, Gerhard Richter, the German Neo-Expressionists Georg Baselitz and Jörg Immendorff, and the American artists David Salle and Julian Schnabel. Also on display was work by the Italian Transavanguardia artists Sandro Chia, Francesco Clemente and Nicola De Maria, who created a purpose-designed setting for his own canvas works. Enzo Cucchi’s Vitebsk-Harar, dedicated to Arthur Rimbaud and Kazimir Malevich, was specifically conceived for Rivoli. With “Ouverture”, the Castello was able to explore its potential as an exhibition space for the very first time: the show was laid out over the first two floors of the building, and featured some hundred works and installations by as many artists. The selection provided an international overview that anticipated the Castello’s subsequent exhibition programme and established the core group of works that formed the basis for the Museum’s permanent collection.