Review /

Lothar Baumgarten Franco Noero / Turin

A spacious 18th century apartment in the heart of Turin’s historic center, overlooking the baroque Piazza Carignano, hosts the newly inaugurated second branch of Galleria Franco Noero, which in this way adds a new location to its industrial headquarters located on the outskirts of the city.

To the stuccos, wood floors, mirrors and frescoes, Lothar Baumgarten brings his discourse about the earth as an environment that is being depleted, as an organism under siege, exploited for centuries.

Baumgarten’s journey began in 1968, and continues with commitment. No didacticism, but works that are signs, conceptual projects that reveal themselves, endowed with an enigmatic and yet sensory beauty that often works on perception, as well as on vision.

From room to room, runs a series of symbolic works, which mixes styles from different artistic idioms. The word and image are first and foremost. Each element lives for itself but also articulates a dialogue with others, in mobile installations, depending on the end from which you look at the perspective of this enfilade of rooms. For the artist, the Amazon, with its environment, its native tribes whose oral languages and cultures are often already lost, is the ideal and metaphorical space of mother nature, the energy reservoir and the primitive force to be preserved. The names of the Amazonian rivers, for example, become wall designs, abstract configurations in River Pieces (1977-85), just as their initials are carved on marble slabs in the work America.

The film Origin of the Night [Amazon Cosmos] (1973-77) and the series of photographs Culture – Nature (1968-72) document installations and interventions carried out by the artist in the suburbs and then abandoned, left to the wear and tear of time, exposed to inevitable disintegration. It is precisely the same transient nature that the resources in the natural environment have, cannibalized by a devastating human culture. Humankind too shares this ephemeral condition, even if it often seems to forget about it.

by Olga Gambari