Giovanni Anselmo, born in Borgofranco d’Ivrea in 1934, is an Italian artist, one of the most important figures of the Arte Povera movement.
After completing classical studies, Anselmo started to work as a graphic in an advertising agency. In the meantime, he dedicated himself autonomously to art, searching for his own expressive form through the pictorial techniques, practice that he will abandon in a few years to concentrate on his first sculptural works.
In 1967, he became a member of Arte Povera movement and participated to his first exhibition at the Sperone Gallery in Turin, presenting two polymaterial artworks without a title. The following year, Sperone will host his first solo show. At the same time, he started to participate to International exhibitions, one of the most important is When Attitudes Become Form
at the Kunsthalle in Bern in 1969.
Since the end of the 1960s the artist introduced in his poetics the desire to be “real”, in the sense of being in harmony with nature, whose energy “is inherent in the most varied aspects and situations”¹. Every single work arises from the manifestation of the forces that the elements, arranged by the artist, produce in the space. The descriptions of the works become indispensable for the understanding of the concepts and are deliberately kept inseparable from the works themselves.
Anselmo participated in the Venice Biennale of 1978, 1980 and 1990, the year he received the Leone d’Oro
for Painting. He exhibited at Documenta V in 1972 and at Documenta VII in 1982 displaying the work entitled Il paesaggio con mano che indica
. Various national and international exhibitions followed, such as Affinités Sélectives I
at Palais des Beaux-Arts in Bruxelles (1990) in which he presented a Particolare
(projector and e diapositive with the word “particular”) and Lungo il sentiero verso oltremare
at the Renaissance Society of Chicago (1997).
With the three works presented in the personal show Dove le stelle si avvicinano di una spanna in più nel panorama verso oltremare con mano che lo indica, mentre il colore solleva la pietra, la pietra solleva la tela, la terra e la pietra si orientano, i grigi si alleggeriscono, i sentieri
… at the Museum Kurhaus in Kleve in 2004, the artist correlates the painting, that has an intangible colour, with sculpture, associated with the tangibility of the stone. In this way, he created installations that connected the material reality of life to the infinite vastness of the universe.
Other exhibitions worthy of mention: Giovanni Anselmo – collectie uitdieping II at the
Stedelijk Museum, Gent (2005); Giovanni Anselmo
al Kunstmuseum Winterthur (2013); Mentre la mano indica, la luce focalizza, nella gravitazione universale di interferisce, la terra si orienta, le stelle si avvicinano di una spanna in più…
at Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2016); Senza titolo, invisibile, dove le stelle si avvicinano di una spanna in più, mentre oltremare appare verso Sud-Est, e la luce focalizza…
at the Foundation Querini Stampalia, Venice, Italy (2017); Entrare nell’opera
at theNational Academy of San Luca, Rome, Italy (2019).
iovanni Anselmo continues to live and work between Turin and Stromboli, pursuing his extraordinary research which has produced an impressive body of work throughout his career.
- Anselmo in R. Flood and F. Morris, Zero to Infinity: Arte Povera 1962-1972, exh. cat., Tate Modern, London and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis 2001, pp. 178.