Roberto Cuoghi M I R A C O L A

Miracola San Carlo

L’alluminata intesa

Co insania de cervello

Saetta fora’l fiato

De’ lumi letigiosi

Priva de’ razzi al vampo

Rasciuga la popilla

Poi sottoposta al cielo

Spiraculo del vero

Contempra for di sensi

Refressa al negro smalto

La biscia per la coda


New luminous installation for Luci d’Artista

Drafted by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev

Light designer: Andrea Berselli – Programming: Eva Bruno

Network: Fabrizio Ganzerli – Technical material: TEMA S.r.l. Modena

Installation: CIEM S.a.s. Turin

Turin, Piazza San Carlo

From November 24, 2019 until January 12, 2020.

M I R A C O L A  timetable

9,18 pm ; 9,38 pm ; 10,03 pm; 10,28 pm; 10,53 pm; 11,28 pm; 12,08 pm; 12,33 pm, 00, 12 am


Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea has commissioned for the City of Turin an unprecedented public lighting installation designed by the Italian artist Roberto Cuoghi(Modena, 1973) for Luci d’Artista.

The Turin-based Luci d’Artista festival, established in 1998 and unique in the world, represents a veritable open-air contemporary art exhibition that every year from the end of October to the beginning of January illuminates the squares and streets of Turin from the center to the outskirts.

This new Luce d’Artista, donated by Roberto Cuoghi to the City of Turin, renews the vocation of the City to commission new public works of art and to expand its collection of Luci d’Artista. Created to coincide with the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci (1519), the work required the active collaboration of all public and private premises in Piazza San Carlo in a new form of citizen participation. The work, realized by IREN, is co-produced by the City of Turin and Castello di Rivoli in collaboration with Fondazione per la Cultura Torino and Fondazione Contrada Onlus, with the main sponsorship of FPT Industrial. This work was made possible also with the generous support of Hauser & Wirth.

Roberto Cuoghi’s work M I R A C O L A is an unprecedented and synaesthetic experience in one of Turin’s main squares, Piazza San Carlo, where public and private lights will periodically fade, creating a luminous choreography that immerses passers-by in moments of absolute darkness, to then illuminate the square. The passage from light to darkness generates tension and expectation.

M I R A C O L A(from mirari – admire), suggests a visual phenomenon out of the ordinary, attributed to supernatural causes. The experience of darkness that appears as a result of the synchronization of the lights of the square appears as the miraculous experience of disappearance, of not appearing.

Roberto Cuoghi states, “I have symphonized the lights of the ‘living room’ of Turin, to force them to consider the cognitive constraints that separate light from darkness; for the characteristics that I wanted it to have and that it has, M I R A C O L A is an anti-rhetorical work, not vandalizable, replicable and non-invasive.”

The work is a re-thinking of darkness not only as an absence of perception but also as a device generating individual and collective experience, a bit like living the square at night as it was lived in the eighteenth century, before artificial lighting. This is the light installation by Cuoghi with which the City of Turin pays tribute to the theories on the relationship between light and shadow by Leonardo da Vinci, precisely in the year of the celebrations for the 500th anniversary of his death. Leonardo, in his Treatise on Painting (circa 1540) writes: “Shadow is the privation of light, and only opposition of dense bodies opposed to light rays; shadow is of the nature of darkness, light is by nature light, one ascends and the other demonstrates; I am always in company with bodies; and the shadow is of greater power than the light, which prevents it from prohibiting and entirely deprives the bodies of light, and light can never hunt throughout the shadow of bodies, that is, dense bodies.” According to Christov-Bakargiev, “This reflection of Leonardo could be read in relation to the principle of obscuration. There is light, and it is right that there is. Darkness is always an exceptional event due exclusively to the absence of light, be it natural or artificial. The dark instead no! The darkness is always and only natural! Even if, in the present time, to produce darkness we have to turn off artificial light, the same that illuminates our city spaces prolonging life at night. In the final analysis, being in the dark would be the most natural thing in the world and instead to us contemporaries it appears as a completely artificial experience. Today I think that Leonardo would not have added more light and other energy consumption to the already hyper-illuminated city. He would have taken it away. And he would have dreamed.”

Once again in Cuoghi’s work, who represented Italy at the Venice Biennale in 2017, experimenting, doing, learning, inventing are fundamental and everything comes together to create and recreate situations in which the centrality of the viewer and his ability to interaction with the artwork is fundamental.

The artist thanks Jacopo Galavotti, Italianist and teacher of metrics and stylistics.

Thanks to Marcella Beccaria, Chief Curator and Curator of the Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Collections.

The Castello di Rivoli and the City of Turin thank the stores, offices, entreprises and the inhabitants of Piazza San Carlo for their cooperation, including Algozzini Gioielli, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena S.p.A., Benetton, Biraghi, Brooksfield Torino 1971, Bruschi-Pavin Boutiques, Caffè Mokita, Caffè San Carlo, Caffè Torino, Crédit Agricole, Deutsche Bank, Garaffo Gioielleria, Gelati Cecchi 1936, Gioielleria Monticone, Giorgio Cavalitto, Goethe-Institut Torino, Hermès, Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A., Francesca Lavazza, Alessandro Marcato, Mediolanum, Ordine degli Architetti di Torino and Fondazione per l’Architettura/Torino, Ordine degli Ingegneri della Provincia di Torino, Posh Torino, Gianluigi Ricuperati, Sinatra Profumerie, Giorgina Siviero, Stone Island, Stratta, Y Piazza San Carlo, as well as all those who wish to remain anonymous.

The work has been realized with the generous support of Hauser & Wirth 


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Biographical notes


Roberto Cuoghi (b. Modena, Italy, 1973) lives and works in Milan. The artist creates works that act as devices or psycho-sensorial machines capable of de-locating (even only from the point of view of suggestion), in other spaces and other times, the visitor, the ultimate recipient of the created situation. A new, poetic and alienating approach, which uses the eyes and the conceptual and emotional apparatus of the other to expand the potential of the work to infinity. Cuoghi experiments with sculpture, installation, sound, painting, drawing, photography, performance and conceptual actions. Slight physical alterations, complete metamorphoses, temporary disappearances, journeys in the immediate future or in the more remote past are some of the elements that characterize his everyday life. Comparing his own obsessions, the artist reinvents himself and his own practice, making metamorphosis his modus operandi. Cuoghi has participated in three editions of the Venice Biennale: Il mondo magico, Italian Pavilion, 57. Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte, Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2017; Il Palazzo Enciclopedico, 55. Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte, Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2013; Fare Mondi/Making Worlds, 53. Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte, Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2009. His solo shows include: Perla Pollina 1996-2016, Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Genève / Museo MADRE, Naples, 2017; Putiferio, DESTE Foundation Project Space, Slaughterhouse, Idra, 2016; da iā e pigalā a iā e iā o pigalā e pigalā, Le Consortium, Dijon /Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO, 2014-2015; Šuillakku – corral version, New Museum, New York, 2014; ZOLOTO, Galleria Massimo De Carlo, Milan, 2012; Roberto Cuoghi, Hammer Museum, UCLA, Los Angeles, 2011; Šuillakku, Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli / ICA, London, 2008. His works has been displayed in several group exhibitions including: Dall’argilla all’algoritmo, Arte e tecnologia, Gallerie d’Italia, Milan, 2019; Sanguine. Luc Tuymans on Baroque, Fondazione Prada, Milan, 2018; 3D Double Vision, Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, 2018; The Residue of Memory, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO, 2012; 10000 Lives, Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, 2010; Skin Fruit, New Museum, New York, 2010; Fractured Figure, Deste Foundation Centre for Contemporary Art, Athens, 2007; Sequence 1, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2007; Of Mice and Men, 4. Berlin Bienniale for Contemporary Art, Berlin, 2006.

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