Galleria Franco Noero

10154, TORINO

Lothar Baumgarten
Specchio del mare

08 June — 15 October 2016

Specchio del Mare combines a parcours of several works and work-series from 1968 until today.

Their subject matter circulates around the consciousness of limited resources and the disappearance of species, which become manifest in the destruction, the period of the anthroprocean, which had its beginning in 1492.


Chromogenic prints from the series ‘Culture – Nature’ [1968-72] are present in each of the gallery spaces. This photographic essay contains several ephemeral sculptures which became important also for the storyboard of the film ’Origin of the Night’ [Amazon Cosmos] 1973-77. Those three-dimensional interventions took place mostly outdoor in the streets, parks or at the periphery of the city. Often left behind they were relinquished to themselves. The ephemeral characteristics of their materials made the progress of time and the decaying process visible and detracted them therefore from the market.


The images accompany the canon of wall drawings [river pieces, 1977-85]. Abstract configurations, composed out of South American native river names that figure as veins in the landscape body. A reflection about mapping time and the perished tongue of nonwriting cultures. Their deceasing languages survive only as place names in our maps. We see mirroring images and witness the encounter of varied systems of thought, which make the boundaries between animism and linear scientific western thought visible. The vast wilderness of the Guayana-shield (gelatin silver prints from the ’Montaigne series’ 1977) provide an inside to the aroma of geography.


The marble floor piece ’America’ names Amazonian rivers: - Amazon - Orinoco - Tapajos - Purus - Xingu – Tocantins - Vaupes. It was shown at the 41. Biennale di Venezia in 1984 dominates the central space of the gallery.

Mirror pieces from 2004/05 correspond with the mirroring walls at the center room of the piano nobile. Five large renderings of medieval ship models signify the technology at the time of the discovery of the New World and the beginning of a drastic climate change.


The parcours continues with the slide projection, ’A Voyage with the MS Remscheid on the Amazon ...’ [1968-72], which was first shown at documenta 5 in 1972. It combines in a ’story board’ many layers of the artistic discourse and content which is present throughout the works. ’Nachtflug’ (Nightflight) is another floor piece about bird migration from 1968/69. The materials are maps, camouflage nets, molehills and goose quills. The ethnographic film ’kanawa’ yãnomãmi, (16mm, 24:46 min.) 1979, closes the circle of the parcours. An exhibition for the senses and the mind, embedded in the given architectural context, it speaks about the melody of its materialization.


Lothar Baumgarten lives and works between Berlin and New York. Baumgarten is known for his sculptures with ecological themes, drawn primarily from his travels among Native South and North Americans. His anthropological investigations have also found expression in films, books, photographs and writings. His reflections on the historical problems associated with colonialism arguably found better expression in site-specific works using words, such as wall paintings. Since the early 70’s Lothar Baumgarten has been invited to participate to the most important international art exhibitions, among which: Documenta (1972, 1982, 1992 e 1997), Biennale di Venezia (1978 and 1984); Skulptur Projekte Münster (1987). Solo shows of his have been held at, among others: Van Abbe Museum (1982), Stedelijk Museum (1985), Museo de Bellas Artes, Jardin Botanico de Caracas, Parque de Los Caobos, Caracas (1986), Carnegie International (1988 and 1991), MoCA Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1990), IVAM Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, Valencia (1992), The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1993), Museu Serralves/Museu de Arte Contemporanea, Porto (2001), Whitney Museum of American Art (2003), MACBA - Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (2008), Museum Folkwang (2012), Fondacion Botin, Santander (2012/2013), Kunsthalle Mainz, Mainz (2015). In 1984 he has had the German Pavilion at the XLI Biennale di Venezia and has been awarded of the Golden Lion.

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